Name: Xherdan Shaqiri
Club: FC Basel 1893
Debut: 12/07/09 v FC St. Gallen (Swiss Super League)
Position: attacking midfielder
Date of Birth: 10/10/91
Since making his professional debut as a 17-year-old at the beginning of last season, Xherdan Shaqiri has wasted little time in establishing himself for club and country. Born in what is now the Republic of Kosovo, Shaqiri began his career in Basel's youth set-up, capping a dream first campaign by helping the club to the domestic double.
Having played for Switzerland's Under-19s in the early stages of 2009/10, Shaqiri ended the season on the biggest stage of all – the FIFA World Cup. As if to underline his already burgeoning reputation yet further, Shaqiri came on as a substitute against England in UEFA EURO 2012 qualifying earlier this month and halved his team's deficit with a superb long-range strike on his home ground, St. Jakob-Park.
Perhaps Shaqiri's biggest asset is his versatility. He is comfortable in a number of positions, though with his dribbling skills and powerful shot, he has impressed most on the flanks in attacking and defensive roles.
FC Basel 1893 6-0 FC Lausanne-Sport
09/05/10 (Swiss Cup final)
Shaqiri had already shown flashes of brilliance prior to the cup final yet it was in the showpiece that he proved he can be relied upon in big-game situations. A stunning long-range strike and an assist helped Basel to an emphatic victory in a match which featured everything for which Shaqiri is now known: dribbling, firepower and a little bit of youthful exuberance.
"It's all a dream. If I'm honest, though, it's all going a bit too fast, but I have my family to make sure I stay grounded."
"I'm mentally strong and never nervous when I run out in a stadium. When I'm standing on the pitch I want to dribble around everyone. That's the attitude I bring to the game."
"He lives for the fun he has on the pitch and if there is no fun then it becomes difficult for him. He is a real street footballer."
Thorsten Fink, Basel coach
"It's a pleasure to watch him play because he exudes passion for football. He is already a very competent player; technically very good but also very strong physically."
Peter Knäbel, technical director for the Swiss Football Association and former head of youth at Basel
"Xherdan Shaqiri is an outstanding talent, that's why I've allowed him to be involved with the national team. He's powerful and fearless."
Ottmar Hitzfeld, Switzerland coach
"This little man is a phenomenon. For his age he has already come a long way, a lot further than most players. He's cheeky, has a good shot and is a fantastic dribbler."
Marco Streller, Basel team-mate
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