Granit Xhaka

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Granit Xhaka
Granit Xhaka - Switzerland vs. Argentina, 29th February 2012 (cropped).jpg
Xhaka playing for Switzerland in 2012
Personal information
Full name Granit Xhaka[1]
Date of birth (1992-09-27) 27 September 1992 (age 24)
Place of birth Basel, Switzerland
Height 1.85 m (6 ft 1 in)[2]
Playing position Midfielder
Club information
Current team
Number 29
Youth career
2000–2002 Concordia Basel
2002–2010 Basel
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
2010–2012 Basel 42 (1)
2012–2016 Borussia Mönchengladbach 108 (6)
2016– Arsenal 37 (2)
National team
2008–2009 Switzerland U17 14 (1)
2009–2010 Switzerland U18 14 (0)
2010–2011 Switzerland U19 10 (3)
2010–2011 Switzerland U21 5 (0)
2011– Switzerland 55 (7)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 22:46, 17 September 2017 (UTC).
‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 23:59, 31 August 2017 (UTC)

Granit Xhaka (Albanian pronunciation: [ɡɾaˈnit ˈdʒaka]; born 27 September 1992) is a Swiss professional footballer who plays as a midfielder for English club Arsenal and the Switzerland national team.

Xhaka began his career at hometown club Basel, winning the Swiss Super League in each his first two seasons. He then moved to Bundesliga team Borussia Mönchengladbach in 2012, developing a reputation as a technically gifted player and natural leader alongside criticism for his temperament.[3] He was made captain of Borussia Mönchengladbach in 2015 at the age of 22, leading the team to UEFA Champions' League qualification for a second successive season.[4] He completed a high-profile transfer to Arsenal in May 2016 for a fee in the region of £30 million.[5]

Early life[edit]

Xhaka was born in Basel, Switzerland[6][7][8][9] to Kosovo Albanian parents and is the younger brother of Taulant Xhaka, who is also a professional footballer and plays for FC Basel and the Albania national team. Their family moved from Kosovo Podujeve to Switzerland shortly before their children were born.[10] As of 2017 Xhaka is married to Leonita Lekaj.[citation needed]

Club career[edit]

The brothers started their youth football by Concordia Basel and both moved to Basel in 2002. Xhaka played for various Basel youth teams and since 2008 has been a member of the U-21 squad. Between 2008 and 2010 he played 37 games for the U-21 team, scoring eleven goals.[11]


Former Basel coach Thorsten Fink once said. "Xherdan Shaqiri is the best talent in Switzerland...after Granit Xhaka."[12] Whilst the Swiss National Football Coach, Ottmar Hitzfeld, has dubbed him the 'young Schweinsteiger.'[12]

Since the beginning of the 2010–11 season, Xhaka played for the Basel first team. He made his first team debut in the third qualifying round of the 2010–11 UEFA Champions League in the away match against Debrecen in the Szusza Ferenc Stadium. Towards the end of the match, he scored the second goal in Basel’s 2–0 victory. He scored his first Super League goal in the 5–1 home win against FC Thun on 15 May 2011.[13] At the end of the 2010–11 season, Xhaka won the Super League Championship title with Basel and at the end of the 2011–12 season he won the Double, the League Championship title[14] and the Swiss Cup[15] with the club.

Borussia Mönchengladbach[edit]

Xhaka playing for Mönchengladbach in May 2015

On 18 May 2012, Basel announced on their homepage that Xhaka had agreed terms with Lucien Favre's Borussia Mönchengladbach. After medical checks were completed, Xhaka signed a five-year deal with the club. The transfer fee was not disclosed by Mönchengladbach, but is estimated to be in the region of €8.5 million.[16]

Xhaka made his debut in a DFB-Pokal first round match against Alemannia Aachen on 18 August 2012. Three days later, he made his first appearance in European competition for Borussia in 1–3 home lost to Dynamo Kyiv in qualification for the 2012–13 UEFA Champions League. On 25 August, he made his Bundesliga debut in the team's opening match of the season, a 2–1 home win against 1899 Hoffenheim. He scored his first and only goal of the season in a 3–2 loss at 1. FC Nürnberg.[17]

In his second season at the club, Xhaka started 29 times and made five substitute appearances as Gladbach finished in sixth place in the Bundesliga.[17]

In 2014–15, Xhaka started all 34 Bundesliga matches for Borussia[17] and was named in the league's team of the season.[18] Borussia finished in third place to qualify for the 2015–16 UEFA Champions League.

On 23 September 2015, Xhaka captained Borussia and scored his first goal of the season, heading in from Raffael's free kick in a 4–2 win over FC Augsburg. In the next match, against VfB Stuttgart, Xhaka again captained the side and scored a goal in a 3–1 win. On 30 September, he made his first appearance for Borussia in the Champions League proper in a 1–2 group stage loss at home to Manchester City.[17] Xhaka received his fifth red card for the team in his 95th game on 20 December, for striking his opponent in the first half; he voluntarily gave €20,000 to charity as an apology.[19]


On 25 May 2016, Arsenal signed Xhaka from Borussia Mönchengladbach for a fee of around £30–35 million.[20][21][22] Xhaka made his first appearance for Arsenal (as a half-time substitution) in a 2–1 win against the MLS All-Stars.[23]

Xhaka made his competitive debut for Arsenal in the club's opening match of the 2016–17 Premier League season, a 4–3 defeat to Liverpool, replacing midfielder Mohamed Elneny in the 65th minute while also picking up a yellow card in the process.[24] His first goal for the club came on 17 September 2016, a 25-yard thunderbolt in a 4–1 Premier League victory against Hull City.[25] Four days later, he would score again from distance, this time from 30 yards in a 4–0 EFL Cup defeat of Nottingham Forest.[26] Xhaka's first Arsenal red card – and eighth for club and country since April 2014 – came in a 3–2 win over Swansea City.[27] On 22 January 2017, Xhaka was sent off for the second time in the season, by referee Jon Moss, in Arsenal's 2–1 home win against Burnley.[28] After his first goal for the club in September, he would not score in the Premier League again until doing so in May, scoring the first goal of a 2–0 victory over Manchester United, ending United's run of 25 consecutive games unbeaten.[29]

Xhaka went on to feature throughout Arsenal's triumphant FA Cup campaign. As so he started in the Cup final against Chelsea which the Gunners won by 2 goals to 1.[30] Xhaka also played in the 2017 Community Shield that Arsenal won on penalties over Chelsea.[31]

International career[edit]

Switzerland youth squads[edit]

Xhaka has played for Swiss youth squad at the U-17 level. He participated in the Under-17 World Cup in 2009 in Nigeria. The Swiss team won the World Cup.[32]

He played his first game for the Switzerland national under-19 football team on 25 May 2010, as a substitute, as the team beat Austria national under-19 football team 3–2 in the Schwaz, Austria. He scored his first goal for the U-19 on 7 September 2010 as the team won 3–0 against the Czech Republic.

Switzerland under-21[edit]

Xhaka played his first game for the under-21 side on 3 September 2010, as a substitute, as the team beat the Republic of Ireland 1–0 at the Cornaredo Stadium in Lugano.[33] This was the last game in the qualification Group 2 to the 2011 UEFA European Under-21 Football Championship. Xhaka was member of the Swiss U-21 squad that competed in the final tournament, hosted by Denmark, between 11 and 25 June 2011. The Swiss team reached the final without conceding a goal, but lost to Spain 2–0.

Switzerland senior team[edit]

Xhaka (left) challenging Lionel Messi for the ball during an international friendly between Switzerland and Argentina on 29 February 2012.

Before making his international debut for Switzerland, Xhaka was still undecided whether to play for his birth country or Albania, and he complained to the Albanian sports media that FSHF was ignoring him while the Swiss Football Association was showing much more interest.[34]

Xhaka debuted for Switzerland at Wembley Stadium against England in a 2–2 UEFA Euro 2012 qualification draw on 4 June 2011.[35] On 15 November 2011, during his sixth international appearance, he scored his first international goal in the 1–0 away win against Luxembourg at the Stade Josy Barthel.[36]

Switzerland also tried to select Xhaka to participate in the 2012 Olympic Football tournament, but he opted to stay at his new club for pre-season training.[37] He participated in all ten of Switzerland's 2014 FIFA World Cup qualification campaign matches, scoring both goals in a 2–0 defeat of Slovenia.[38] On 2 June 2014, Xhaka was named in Switzerland's 2014 World Cup squad by national coach Ottmar Hitzfeld.[39] In the team's second match, Xhaka scored in a 5–2 loss to France.[40]

Xhaka was selected for Euro 2016, where Switzerland's campaign opened against Albania in Lens. Xhaka, whose team won 1–0, was playing against his brother Taulant while their mother watched from the crowd in a T-shirt blending the two nations' flags.[41] He was voted the man of the match.[42] Xhaka played every minute of Switzerland's campaign, which ended in the round of 16 with a loss to Poland at the Stade Geoffroy-Guichard; after a 1–1 draw he was the only player to not score in the penalty shootout, shooting wide.[43]

Ahead of the 2018 World Cup qualifiers, there was speculation that Xhaka could switch his allegiance to represent Kosovo, which had been accepted as a full member of FIFA and were allowed to play competitive matches for the first time. Xhaka, however, published an open letter stating that his participation in Euro 2016 had disqualified him from changing his allegiance, and he was thus tied to Switzerland.[44]

Career statistics[edit]


As of 27 May 2017[45]
Appearances and goals by club, season and competition
Club Season League National Cup League Cup Continental Other Total
Division Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Basel 2010–11 Super League 19 1 2 0 5 1 26 2
2011–12 23 0 4 0 8 0 35 0
Total 42 1 6 0 13 1 61 2
Borussia Mönchengladbach 2012–13 Bundesliga 22 1 2 0 9 0 33 1
2013–14 28 0 1 0 29 0
2014–15 30 2 3 0 9 3 42 5
2015–16 28 3 3 0 5 0 36 3
Total 108 6 9 0 23 3 140 9
Arsenal 2016–17 Premier League 32 2 5 0 2 1 7 1 0 0 46 4
2017–18 Premier League 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 1 0
Total 32 2 5 0 2 1 7 1 1 0 47 4
Career totals 182 10 20 0 2 1 43 5 1 0 247 16


As of match played on 31 August 2017.[46]
Year Apps Goals
2011 6 1
2012 9 2
2013 8 1
2014 10 1
2015 6 1
2016 11 0
2017 4 1
Total 54 7

International goals[edit]

Scores and results list Switzerland's goal tally first.[11]
No Date Venue Opponent Score Result Competition
1. 15 November 2011 Stade Josy Barthel, Luxembourg City, Luxembourg  Luxembourg 1–0 1–0 Friendly
2. 15 August 2012 Stadion Poljud, Split, Croatia  Croatia 1–0 4–2 Friendly
3. 7 September 2012 Stožice Stadium, Ljubljana, Slovenia  Slovenia 1–0 2–0 2014 FIFA World Cup qualification
4. 15 October 2013 Stade de Suisse, Bern, Switzerland  Slovenia 1–0 1–0 2014 FIFA World Cup qualification
5. 20 June 2014 Itaipava Arena Fonte Nova, Salvador, Brazil  France 2–5 2–5 2014 FIFA World Cup
6. 27 March 2015 Swissporarena, Lucerne, Switzerland  Estonia 2–0 3–0 UEFA Euro 2016 qualification
7. 9 June 2017 Tórsvøllur, Tórshavn, Faroe Islands  Faroe Islands 1–0 2–0 2018 FIFA World Cup qualification







  • Credit Suisse Youth Player of the Year: 2012[47]
  • Credit Suisse Player of the Year: 2017[48]


  1. ^ "2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil: List of Players" (PDF). FIFA. 11 June 2014. p. 30. Retrieved 24 June 2014. 
  2. ^ "Spielerkader – Borussia Mönchengladbach". Retrieved 2016-09-24. 
  3. ^ "Granit Xhaka: Profile of Arsenal's first summer signing". Sky Sports. 26 May 2016. 
  4. ^  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  5. ^  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  6. ^ "Wir sind Borussia. Herzlich willkommen. – Borussia Mönchengladbach". Retrieved 2016-09-24. 
  7. ^ "Granit Dhaka: Zuhause bin ich sowohl in der Schweiz wie in Kosova". Ich bin der Schweiz dankbar für alles. Ich kam in diesem Land auf die Welt"..."Natürlich fühle ich mich zuhause am wohlsten, und das ist in der Schweiz, da ich da geboren und aufgewachsen bin"..."Im Internet in der Wikipedia steht, dass ich in Gjilan geboren sei, doch das ist ein Fehler, von dem ich nicht weiss, wie er entstand. 
  8. ^ "Shaqiri und Xhaka – heiß auf die WM". Den Ruf des frühreifen Fußballers brachte der gebürtige Basler vor knapp eineinhalb Jahren aus der Alpenrepublik mit ins niederrheinische Flachland. 
  9. ^ "Granit Xhaka: "Es ist ein guter Moment für diesen tollen Schritt"". Ich bin in Basel geboren und aufgewachsen 
  10. ^ Stephan Uersfeld (30 June 2014). "World Cup players to forego Ramadan". ESPN. Retrieved 30 June 2014. 
  11. ^ a b Granit Xhaka at
  12. ^ a b "Better than Shaqiri – the teenage Basel star who Bayern Munich must stop tonight". 22 February 2012. Retrieved 25 June 2012. 
  13. ^ Meister, Remo (15 May 2011). "Der FCB ist zurück an der Spitze" (in German). FC Basel 1893. Retrieved 15 May 2011. 
  14. ^ a b Meister, Remo (29 April 2012). "Der 15. Meistertitel für den FCB – die Bilanz einer grandiosen Saison" (in German). FC Basel 1893. Archived from the original on 16 October 2013. Retrieved 29 April 2012. 
  15. ^ a b "Matchtelegram FC Basel 1893 5:3 FC Luzern" (in German). 2012. Archived from the original on 4 December 2012. Retrieved 16 May 2012. 
  16. ^ "Granit Xhaka wechselt im Sommer vom FCB zu Borussia Mönchengladbach" (in German). FC Basel 1893. 18 May 2012. Retrieved 18 May 2012. 
  17. ^ a b c d "Granit Xhaka". kicker. Retrieved 31 March 2016. 
  18. ^ "Infografik: Die Top-11 der Saison 2014/15". Bundesliga. 25 May 2015. 
  19. ^ "Granit Xhaka pays his dues after Gladbach star racks up red cards". ESPN FC. 22 December 2015. Retrieved 11 June 2016. 
  20. ^ "Granit Xhaka signs for Arsenal in £35m deal as Arsene Wenger admits club have been tracking Swiss midfielder 'for a long time'". Daily Mail. 25 May 2016. 
  21. ^ Benge, James (25 May 2016). "Granit Xhaka signs for Arsenal: Gunners complete deal for Swiss international midfielder". London Evening Standard. Retrieved 25 May 2016. 
  22. ^ "Arsenal will pay around £30m for Granit Xhaka, Sky Sports News HQ understands". Sky Sports. 22 May 2016. Retrieved 25 May 2016. 
  23. ^ "MLS All-Stars 1–2 Arsenal – Report". 29 July 2016. Retrieved 30 July 2016. 
  24. ^ "FT: Arsenal 3–4 Liverpool". Retrieved 2016-09-24. 
  25. ^ "Hull City 1–4 Arsenal". BBC Sport. 17 September 2016. Retrieved 17 September 2016. 
  26. ^ "Nottingham Forest vs Arsenal report: Granit Xhaka and Lucas Perez give Arsene Wenger plenty to smile about". The Independent. 21 September 2016. 
  27. ^ "Arsenal 3–2 Swansea City". Retrieved 2016-09-24. 
  28. ^ Skelton, Jack (22 January 2017). "Arsenal 2–1 Burnley". BBC Sport. Retrieved 22 January 2017. 
  29. ^ "Arsenal 2–0 Manchester United". BBC Sport. 7 May 2017. Retrieved 7 May 2017. 
  30. ^ a b "Arsenal 2–1 Chelsea – Emirates FA Cup Final 2016/17". 
  31. ^ a b "Arsenal 1–1 Chelsea (4–1 Pens) – FA Community Shield". 
  32. ^ a b "Player statistics FIFA U17 World Cup". Retrieved 29 August 2010. 
  33. ^ (2010). "Switzerland see off Ireland for play-off place". Archived from the original on 16 August 2010. Retrieved 3 September 2010. 
  34. ^ Begu, Yll (13 April 2011). "Në fokus / Granit Xhaka: Dua të luaj për Shqipërinë, por mungon interesimi i FSHF-së!". "Mesfushori i Bazelit, Granit Xhaka, së bashku me vëllanë e tij, Taulantin, kanë dëshirë për t’u bërë pjesë e kombëtares shqiptare, mirëpo deri më tash nuk kanë parë kurrfarë interesimi nga Federata Shqiptare e Futbollit që t’i afrojë ata në kombëtaren kuqezi.", further in the article Xhaka says: "“Në javët e fundit është bërë një presion i madh drejt nesh nga mediet lokale për të zgjedhur kombëtaren e Zvicrës dhe e kam të vështirë ta kuptoj përse askush nga FSHF-ja nuk ka reaguar për të shprehur interesim që ne të vishemi kuqezi”, ka theksuar Granit Xhaka. 
  35. ^ Collett, Mike (4 June 2011). "Below-par England salvage draw with Switzerland". Reuters. Retrieved 5 June 2011. 
  36. ^ "Matchtelegram Luxembourg-Schweiz" (in German). 2011. Archived from the original on 15 January 2013. Retrieved 15 November 2011. 
  37. ^ "Olympics-Shaqiri, Xhaka excluded from Swiss soccer squad". 9 July 2012. Retrieved 27 July 2012. 
  38. ^ "Granit XHAKA". FIFA. Retrieved 21 June 2014. 
  39. ^ "Switzerland World Cup 2014 squad". The Telegraph. 2 June 2014. Retrieved 16 June 2014. 
  40. ^ "Switzerland 2–5 France". BBC. 20 June 2014. Retrieved 21 June 2014. 
  41. ^ Gill, Kieran (11 June 2016). "Granit and Taulant Xhaka go head to head at Euro 2016... as their mother wears a half-and-half Switzerland-Albania shirt and older brother throws a tantrum on the touchline". Daily Mail. Retrieved 11 June 2016. 
  42. ^ Atkin, John (11 June 2016). "Switzerland hold on against ten-man Albania". UEFA. Retrieved 25 June 2016. 
  43. ^ Brassell, Andy (25 June 2016). "Poland hold nerve after Switzerland’s Granit Xhaka blazes penalty wide". The Guardian. Retrieved 25 June 2016. 
  44. ^ "Letër e hapur nga Granit XHAKA – TALENTËT". Retrieved 2016-09-06. 
  45. ^ "Switzerland – G. Xhaka – Profile with news, career statistics and history – Soccerway". Retrieved 2016-09-24. 
  46. ^ "Granit Xhaka". European Football. Retrieved 11 June 2016. 
  47. ^ "FCB prägt Nacht des Schweizer Fussballs" (in German). 29 May 2012. Retrieved 28 July 2012. 
  48. ^ "Credit Suisse Player of the Year: Granit Xhaka". 

External links[edit]