Lichtsteiner with Switzerland in 2015
|Full name||Stephan Lichtsteiner|
|Date of birth||16 January 1984|
|Place of birth||Adligenswil, Switzerland|
|Height||1.82 m (5 ft 11 1⁄2 in)|
|Playing position||Right back / Right wingback|
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 14 May 2016.
Stephan Lichtsteiner (born 16 January 1984) is a Swiss professional footballer who plays for Italian club Juventus and the Switzerland national team. An attacking right back, he is known for his energetic runs down the right wing, as well as his stamina and athleticism, which earned him the nicknames "Forrest Gump" and "The Swiss Express".
He began his professional career with Grasshopper Zürich, winning a league title in 2002–03, and moved to Lille in 2005, helping the French club to Champions League qualification in his first season with the team. In 2008 he joined Italian club Lazio, and won both the Coppa Italia and Supercoppa Italiana the following year. Since joining Juventus in 2011, Lichtsteiner has won ten honours, including five consecutive Serie A titles with the club.
A full international since 2006, Lichtsteiner has earned over 80 caps for Switzerland, making him their eighth most capped player of all time. He has represented his country at two UEFA European Championships and as many FIFA World Cups.
Lichtsteiner was born in Adligenswil, Canton of Lucerne. He left home as a teenager to play for Grasshopper Zürich and made his first team debut in 2001–02 in the old Swiss Football League but only made one league appearance. The following season, he began to establish himself as a first team regular and helped the club to the league title. While living in Zürich he completed a banking apprenticeship with Credit Suisse but ultimately chose a career in football.
During the 2004–05 season Lichtsteiner sealed a transfer to Lille OSC as one of five Swiss players to enter Ligue 1 during the summer of 2005. He became a regular in his first season and helped Lille to a third place finish to secure a Champions League spot. His last season ended disappointingly as Lille finished seventh in the league and missed out on European football next season just by a point. However he did end with 4 goals, his highest tally so far.
After some good performances at the Euro 2008, several clubs including Paris Saint-Germain and Everton expressed interest in signing Lichtsteiner. He rejected PSG's bid and, in July, signed a four-year contract with S.S. Lazio for an undisclosed fee believed to be in the region of €1.5 million as a replacement for fellow Swiss international Valon Behrami who went to West Ham United. In the April Derby della Capitale, he scored his first goal to put Lazio 3–1 up in a heated derby encounter which ended 4–2 to Lazio and resulted in numerous bookings. He was also booked for a heated confrontation with Roma defender Christian Panucci after the Italian had fouled him. During the season, he formed an attacking tandem down the flanks with Serbian international Aleksandar Kolarov on the other side. Although Lazio finished tenth, they ended the season on a high by winning Coppa Italia and a place next season's Europa League. He played a part in Lazio's successful campaign, scoring in the penalty shoot-out against Sampdoria in the final, and also claiming the Supercoppa Italiana at the beginning of the next season. After Kolarov's departure, his future at Lazio became increasingly in doubt as several clubs expressed interest in him. At the end of the 2010–11 season, he opted not to see out the final year of his contract despite the Biancocelesti qualifying for the Europa League.
On 27 June 2011, Juventus confirmed that Lichtsteiner had undergone a medical in Turin and reached an agreement with Lazio to pay €10 million in three installments. The transfer was confirmed on 1 July 2011. He marked his debut on 11 September 2011 against Parma by scoring the first goal in the 4–1 home victory, the first league goal to be scored in Juventus' new stadium. Juventus went on to win the Scudetto and he played a vital part in their strong defensive record, only missing a handful of matches through injury and suspensions. Lichtsteiner repeated his opening matchday feat the following season by converting his left-sided counterpart Kwadwo Asamoah's pass in the 2–0 win. He played fewer matches during 2013–14 season due to injuries but contributed three goals in all competitions and won his third consecutive Serie A title. His crossing and ball-playing ability came to the fore in Conte's 3–5–2 formation. As a result, he finished the season as Juve's top assist-maker in the league with eight.
On 6 June 2015, Lichtsteiner started for Juventus in the 2015 UEFA Champions League Final as the team were defeated 3–1 by Barcelona at Berlin's Olympiastadion; he was involved in Álvaro Morata's temporary equalising goal. On 23 September 2015, Lichtsteiner was substituted at half time during a league match against Frosinone due to breathing difficulty. It was later necessary for heart surgery to be performed to correct cardiac arrhythmia, which caused him to be out for a month. On 3 November 2015, Lichtsteiner returned from injury, starting against Borussia Mönchengladbach in the 2015–16 Champions League and scoring the equalizing goal in the 44th minute of a 1–1 away draw; the goal was later voted one of the best goals of the tournament that season.
A former youth international, Lichtsteiner has played in the 1999 U16 and the 2004 U21 European Championships. He was first called up to the senior squad on two occasions in 2005 but was an unused substitute both times. On 11 November 2006, he made his senior debut in a friendly against Brazil which ended in a 2–1 loss.
Although he missed out on the 2006 World Cup, Lichtsteiner was given a chance to prove himself as first choice right back Philipp Degen was out with long-term injury. In May, Köbi Kuhn named him in the squad for the Euro 2008. He played every match at the tournament and eventually replaced Degen as first choice right back. Switzerland ended the tournament with 2 losses and a win but his performances were good enough to attract interest from top clubs and he signed for Lazio. He retained his starting place under new manager Ottmar Hitzfeld and played every minute in 8 of the 10 2010 World Cup qualifiers.
Lichtsteiner acquired the nickname "Forrest Gump" from Lazio-supporting Radio Sei commentator Guido de Angelis after making a run down his flank to score in the 4–2 derby victory over crosstown rivals A.S. Roma. His runs and athleticism has also earned him the nickname "The Swiss Express" since moving to Juventus.
Updated 21 May 2016
- Scores and results list Switzerland's goal tally first
|1.||11 October 2011||St. Jakob Park, Basel||Montenegro||2–0||2–0||UEFA Euro 2012 Qualifying|
|2.||26 May 2012||St. Jakob Park, Basel||Germany||4–2||5–3||Friendly|
|3.||6 September 2013||Stade de Suisse, Bern||Iceland||1–1||4–4||2014 FIFA World Cup qualification|
|5.||3 June 2014||Swissporarena, Lucerne||Peru||1–0||2–0||Friendly|
- Grasshopper Zürich
- Serie A (5): 2011–12, 2012–13, 2013–14, 2014–15, 2015–16
- Supercoppa Italiana (3): 2012, 2013, 2015
- Coppa Italia (2): 2014–15, 2015–16
- "2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil: List of Players" (PDF). FIFA. 11 June 2014. p. 30. Retrieved 25 June 2014.
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- "Juventus’ Stephan Lichtsteiner marks heart surgery return with volleyed goal". The Guardian. 4 November 2015. Retrieved 5 November 2015.
- "Top ten goals of the 2015/16 Champions League". UEFA.com. 18 July 2016. Retrieved 18 July 2016.
- "Liege-Einheit für Stephan Lichtsteiner" (in German). Neue Zürcher Zeitung. 15 October 2007.
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- "Er ist Vater geworden!" (in German). Schweizer Illustrierte. 5 February 2011.
- "Baby Nummer 2: Nati-Star Stephan Lichtsteiner im Papa-Glück" (in German). srf.ch. 29 October 2014.
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- "Stephan Lichtsteiner".
- "S. Lichsteiner". Soccerway. Retrieved 13 December 2015.
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