Taulant Xhaka

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Taulant Xhaka
T.xhaka34.jpg
Personal information
Full name Taulant Ragip Xhaka
Date of birth (1991-03-28) 28 March 1991 (age 26)
Place of birth Basel, Switzerland
Height 1.74 m (5 ft 9 in)
Playing position Midfielder
Club information
Current team
Basel
Number 34
Youth career
2000–2002 Concordia Basel
2002–2009 Basel
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
2008–2010 Basel U21 50 (6)
2010– Basel 104 (3)
2012–2013 Grasshopper (loan) 38 (0)
National team
2008–2009 Switzerland U17 14 (0)
2009–2010 Switzerland U18 6 (0)
2009–2010 Switzerland U19 9 (0)
2010–2011 Switzerland U20 8 (0)
2011–2013 Switzerland U21 4 (0)
2014– Albania 18 (0)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 10 December 2016 (UTC).
‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 19:03, 6 December 2016 (UTC)

Taulant Ragip Xhaka (born 28 March 1991) is an Albanian professional footballer who plays as a midfielder for Swiss club Basel and the Albanian national team.

Early life[edit]

Taulant is the elder brother of Granit Xhaka, who is also a professional footballer and plays for Arsenal and Switzerland. Their family moved from Prishtina to Basel in Switzerland[1][2] before either was born.[3]

Club career[edit]

Xhaka started his youth football at FC Concordia Basel and moved to FC Basel in 2002. He played for various FC Basel youth teams and from 2008 became a regular member of the U-21 team for two years in the Swiss 1. Liga. At the beginning of the 2010–11 season, he and his brother moved up into the first team squad where he begun playing as a defender. He made his first team debut on 19 September 2010 in the 5–0 Swiss Cup win against FC Mendrisio-Stabio.[4] He made his Super League debut on 27 February 2011 in the 1–0 away win against Luzern.[5] At the end of the season, the team won the Super League title, as Xhaka won his first silverware with the club.

In the next season, Xhaka scored his first Basel goal on 10 September during the 4–0 away league win against Servette, where he came on as a substitute.[6] Later on 27th, he made his UEFA Champions League debut as a substitute in the 3–3 away draw against Manchester United at Old Trafford.[7] On 18 January 2012, it was announced that Xhaka was sent on loan to Grasshoppers to gain first team playing experience.[8] He made his debut on 12 February during the 2–0 away defeat to Zürich,[9] and until the end of the season he established himself in the starting lineup, making 13 appearances during the second part of 2011–12 season. After spending the 2012–13 again on loan at Grasshoppers, Basel recalled him into their squad.[10]

During the 2013–14 season, Xhaka established himself in the starting lineup, making 23 league appearances and scoring 2 goals, winning his second league championship with Basel.[11] He also made four cup appearances, as the team reached in the final, but were beaten 2–0 by Zürich after extra time.[12] He was also an important instrument in team's European campaign, playing 10 matches in Champions League and 5 in Europa League.[13]

In the 2014–15 season, Xhaka was able to further cement his place in the lineup, playing 29 matches in league, as Basel were crowned champions for the sixth time in a row.[14] He scored his first goal of the season on 27 September in the 1–1 home draw against Thun.[15] On 13 December, during the cup fixture against Sion, Xhaka suffered an injury which kept him sidlined until the January 2015.[16]

On 9 January 2015, Xhaka extended his contract for a further three years, up until 30 June 2018.[17] In February 2015, Xhaka was included in the 2014 Team of the Year by Swiss Football Association and was placed as right-defender.[18] Xhaka became one of the three Albania international footballers who participated in the knockout stage of the UEFA Champions League for the first time in history, along with his Basel teammates Shkëlzen Gashi and Arlind Ajeti.[19]

Under trainer Urs Fischer Xhaka won the Swiss Super League championship at the end of the 2015–16 Super League season. For the club it was the seventh title in a row and their 19th championship title in total.[20]

International career[edit]

Switzerland youth level national teams[edit]

Xhaka has played for Swiss youth squad at the U-17 level. He was part of the Swiss U-17 squad that played in the 2008 UEFA European Under-17 Football Championship in Antalya, Turkey. During the years 2009 and 2010 he played for the Switzerland U-18 and the Switzerland U-19 teams. He made his Swiss U-20 debut on 6 September 2010 in the Stadion Breite, Schaffhausen, as right back in the 2–3 home defeat against Germany national under-20 football team.

Taulant Xhaka made his Swiss U-21 debut as substitute on 7 October 2011 in the 1–0 away win against Georgia U-21.[21] In the return game on 10 November, a 5–0 home win in the Cornaredo Stadium, he played in the starting team.

Albania[edit]

In May 2013 media reported that Taulant Xhaka would welcome a call-up from Albania.[22] Taulant confirmed later in an interview that his choice of Albania was definitive.[23] In October 2013 his choice was influenced by his younger brother Granit, who didn't want him to repeat his mistake, choosing Switzerland instead of their descence national team, Albania.[24] On 18 December 2013, Xhaka received Albanian citizenship and to be able to play for Albania national football team, he must receive the go ahead from FIFA.[25]

Xhaka received his first call up by Albania's coach Gianni De Biasi for a friendly match against Malta on 5 March 2014,[26] but he was replaced by Renato Arapi because he had been injured on 2 March 2014 during a match between Basel and Thun which finished in a 2–2 draw, where due to this injury he substituted off in the 72nd minute.[27] Xhaka received the second consecutive call-up for a trio of friendly matches of Albania against Romania, Hungary & San Marino respectively on 31 May, 4 & 8 June 2014.[28] Days later he declared that withdrew again due to injury.[29] On 25 June 2014 Xhaka received the go ahead from FIFA, which answered the FSHF request and Xhaka became eligible to play for Albania also in the international official matches.[30]

UEFA Euro 2016 qualifiers[edit]

A portrait of Taulant Xhaka, drawn by an Albanian fan.

Xhaka received his third consecutive call-up for the match against Portugal on 7 September 2014, valid for the start of UEFA Euro 2016 qualifiers.[31] He made it his debut on 7 September 2014 playing the full 90-minutes in the 1-0 away victory against Portugal.[32] He played well and was included in the best eleven for the first round matches of the UEFA Euro 2016 qualifying.[33] Xhaka was included in the starting line up for the UEFA Euro 2016 qualifying Group I match against Serbia played on 14 October 2014. In the 40th minute of that match, the English referee Martin Atkinson halted the play for a second time after flares had been thrown from the crowd in the direction of Albanian players. Meanwhile, at the same time, a drone seemingly remote-controlled was seen hovering above the pitch, parallel to the top of the stand, before falling towards the pitch 15 yards into the Serbian half. The Greater Albania insignia referred to the notion of an extended area in which all ethnic Albanians reside one that would include Kosovo. The Serbia player Stefan Mitrović caught the flag and was immediately accosted by Xhaka and the fellow Albanian player Andi Lila who took the flag away from the Serbian player.[34] After the match Xhaka, along with Lorik Cana were declared citizens of honor from the mayor of the city of Mitrovica, Kosovo, for the bravery shown in protecting national symbols.[35]

UEFA Euro 2016[edit]

On 21 May 2016, Xhaka was named in Albania's preliminary 27-man squad for UEFA Euro 2016,[36] and in Albania's final 23-man UEFA Euro 2016 squad on 31 May.[37]

In Albania's opening game against Switzerland, Xhaka competed against his own brother Granit Xhaka, becoming the first pair of brothers to play against each other in the entire UEFA European Championship history. At that day, their mother watched from the crowd with a T-shirt combining both nations' flags. The match ended in a 0–1 defeat for Albania and Taulant Xhaka threw a water bottle in anger after being substituted.[38] Then he played 16 last minutes as a substittue for Burim Kukeli against hosts France where they lost 2–0, then was an unused substitute in the next match against Romania in an Albania's historical 1–0 win with a goal scored by Armando Sadiku.[39] Albania finished the group in the third position with three points and with a goal difference –2, and was ranked last in the third-placed teams, which eventually eliminated them.[40]

Career statistics[edit]

Club[edit]

As of 22:29, 7 February 2017 (UTC) [41][42][43][44]
Appearances and goals by club, season and competition
Club Season League Cup Continental Total
Division Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Basel B 2008–09 1. Liga Promotion 11 1 11 1
2009–10 23 2 23 2
2010–11 16 3 16 3
Total 50 6 50 6
Basel 2010–11 Swiss Super League 6 0 3 0 0 0 9 0
2011–12 5 0 2 0 2[a] 0 9 0
Total 11 0 5 0 2 0 18 0
Grasshopper 2011–12 Swiss Super League 13 0 1 0 14 0
2012–13 25 0 4 0 29 0
Total 38 0 5 0 43 0
Basel 2013–14 Swiss Super League 23 2 4 0 15[b] 0 42 2
2014–15 29 1 4 0 7[a] 0 40 1
2015–16 24 0 1 0 12[c] 0 37 0
2016–17 17 0 1 0 6 0 24 0
Total 93 3 10 0 30 0 133 3
Career total 192 9 20 0 32 0 244 9
  1. ^ a b All appearance(s) in UEFA Champions League
  2. ^ Ten appearances in UEFA Champions League, five in UEFA Europa League
  3. ^ Two appearances in UEFA Champions League, ten in UEFA Europa League

International[edit]

As of 12 November 2016 [42][45]
Albania national team
Year Apps Goals
2014 3 0
2015 7 0
2016 8 0
Total 18 0


Honours[edit]

Basel[41]
Grasshopper[41]
Basel U-18
  • U-18 Swiss Cup: 2007–08[46]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Taulant Xhaka". Geburtsort:Basel 
  2. ^ "Xhaka: Zgjodha pa hezitim Zvicrën, shqiptarët më thonë tradhtar!". Granit, familja juaj vjen nga Kosova, po ju ku keni lindur? Në Zvicër, në Bazel kam lindur. Ashtu si Taulanti, vëllai im. Disa burime informacioni, duke përfshirë këtu edhe "Ëikipedia", kanë njoftuar se kam lindur në Kosovë, por kjo nuk është e vërtetë 
  3. ^ "Albanien hat schon telefoniert". Bei Granits Mutter beisst der albanische Fussballverband denn auch auf Granit: «Unsere Kinder sind hier geboren worden und zur Schule gegangen. Sie gehören in die Schweiz.» 
  4. ^ Urs Dünner (19 September 2010). "Der FCB gewinnt im Schweizer Cup mit 5:0 (2:0) gegen Mendrisio" (in German). FC Basel 1893. Retrieved 19 September 2010. 
  5. ^ Remo Meister (27 February 2011). "Wichtiger 1:0-Arbeitssieg für den FCB" (in German). FC Basel 1893. Retrieved 27 February 2011. 
  6. ^ "Servette vs. Basel 0 – 4". Soccerway. 10 September 2011. Retrieved 10 September 2011. 
  7. ^ Simon Hart (27 September 2011). "United strike late to deny Basel famous win". UEFA.com. Retrieved 27 September 2011. 
  8. ^ "Zyrtare: Taulant Xhaka kalon te Grasshoppers" (in Albanian). Kosova in EU. 18 January 2012. Retrieved 18 January 2012. 
  9. ^ "Zürich vs. Grasshoppers 2 – 0". Soccerway. 12 February 2012. Retrieved 12 February 2012. 
  10. ^ Basler Zeitung (3 June 2013). "Vieles ist klar – vielleicht" (in German). FC Basel 1893. Retrieved 3 June 2013. 
  11. ^ Sacha Grossenbacher (18 May 2014). "Fotos vom Spiel gegen Lausanne sowie den anschliessenden Feierlichkeiten" (in German). FC Basel 1893. Retrieved 18 May 2014. 
  12. ^ Axel Ruppert (21 April 2014). "Gavranovic edges Zürich past nine-man Basel". UEFA.com. Retrieved 21 April 2014. 
  13. ^ Zindel, Josef (2014). Rotblau: Jahrbuch Saison 2014/2015. FC Basel Marketing AG. ISBN 978-3-7245-2027-6. 
  14. ^ Casar Marti (29 May 2015). "Der Meisterfreitag im bunten Zeitraffer" (in German). FC Basel 1893. Retrieved 29 May 2015. 
  15. ^ "Basel vs. Thun 1 – 1". Soccerway. 27 September 2014. Retrieved 27 September 2011. 
  16. ^ Adi Metaliu (13 December 2014). "Rashica deçiziv te Vitesse, dëmtohet Taulant Xhaka" (in Albanian). Super Sport Albania. Retrieved 13 December 2014. 
  17. ^ "VERTRAGSVERLÄNGERUNG MIT TAULANT XHAKA" (in German). FC Basel 1893. 9 January 2015. Retrieved 9 January 2015. 
  18. ^ "Shkëlzen Gashi, "Lojtari i Vitit 2014″ në Zvicër, edhe Xhaka te më të mirët" (in Albanian). Panorama Sport. 3 February 2015. Retrieved 3 February 2015. 
  19. ^ "Historike! 3 shqiptarë në 1/8-at e Champions League (FOTO LAJM)" (in Albanian). Sport.albeu.com. 18 February 2015. Retrieved 18 February 2015. 
  20. ^ Marti, Casper (2016). "Es ist vollbracht ! Der FCB ist zum 19. Mal Meister". FC Basel 1893. Retrieved 2016-04-30. 
  21. ^ nzz (2011). "U-21-Auswahl in Georgien mit Auswärtsieg" (in German). Neue Zürcher Zeitung AG. Retrieved 7 October 2011. 
  22. ^ Shqipëria i merr Zvicrës një Xhaka Panorama.com.al
  23. ^ Shekulli (2013). "Taulant Xhaka: Zgjodha Shqipërinë, Zvicra s'më donte" (in Albanian). Shekulli. Retrieved 2013-10-20. 
  24. ^ Taulant Xhaka: Graniti më tha të zgjidhja Shqipërinë Sporti Shqiptar
  25. ^ Taulant Xhaka merr shtetësi shqiptare (Foto Dekreti) aSport.al
  26. ^ Risia per Malten, Taulant Xhaka vishet kuqezi SuperSport
  27. ^ Dëmtohet Xhaka, thërritet Arapi aSport.al
  28. ^ Aliti dhe Cikalleshi risitë, pritet prezantimi i Xhakës… aSport.al
  29. ^ Xhaka drejt refuzimit të Shqipërisë? aSport.al
  30. ^ FIFA jep “OK”, Taulant Xhaka zyrtarisht kuqezi Panorama Sport
  31. ^ De Biazi flet për ndeshjen me Portugalinë FSHF.org "Në fund trajneri i Kombëtares së Shqipërisë publikoi edhe listën me 24 lojtarë të grumbulluar për këtë takim. Ata janë:...."
  32. ^ "Portugal vs. Albania - 7 September 2014 - Soccerway". Retrieved 13 July 2016. 
  33. ^ Euro 2016 Team of the Week: Lewandowski & Muller unstoppable as Albania make their mark Goal.com
  34. ^ Serbia v Albania abandoned after players and fans brawl on pitch | Football The Guardian
  35. ^ Bahtiri shpall Xhaken e Canen qytetare nderi te Mitrovices KOHA.net
  36. ^ Fatjon Pandovski (21 May 2016). "De Biasi leaves out Albanian top scorer Salihi". UEFA. Retrieved 30 May 2016. 
  37. ^ "De Biasi shpall listën zyrtare të Euro 2016". FSHF.org. 31 May 2016. Retrieved 31 May 2016. 
  38. ^ 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. 
  39. ^ UEFA EURO 2016 - Albania - Matches UEFA.com
  40. ^ "Albania out of Euro 2016 after Portugal draw with Hungary". Fourfourtwo.com. 22 June 2016. Retrieved 9 October 2016. 
  41. ^ a b c Taulant Xhaka at Soccerway
  42. ^ a b Taulant Xhaka at National-Football-Teams.com
  43. ^ Taulant XhakaUEFA competition record
  44. ^ "Football : Taulant Xhaka". Football Database. 12 June 2016. Retrieved 12 June 2016. 
  45. ^ Taulant Xhaka - national football team player EU-football.info
  46. ^ FC Basel 1893 (2008). "Zwei weitere Nachwuchstitel für den FCB" (in German). FC Basel 1893. Retrieved 2008-06-15. 

External links[edit]