|Full name Granit Xhaka|
2000–2002 Concordia Basel
Weight 82 kg
Height 1.85 m
|Playing position |
Name Granit Xhaka
Parents Ragip Xhaka, Eli Xhaka
|Date of birth (1992-09-27) 27 September 1992 (age 23)|
Siblings Taulant Xhaka, Agnesa Xhaka
Current teams Switzerland national football team (Midfielder), Borussia Monchengladbach (#34 / Midfielder)
Similar People Taulant Xhaka, Xherdan Shaqiri, Yann Sommer, Josip Drmic, Lucien Favre
Place of birth Basel, Switzerland
footballer Granit Xhaka and his wife Leonita Lekaj
- footballer Granit Xhaka and his wife Leonita Lekaj
- Early life
- Club career
- Borussia Mnchengladbach
- Switzerland youth squads
- Switzerland under 21
- Switzerland senior team
- International goals
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. 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. He completed a high-profile transfer to Arsenal in May 2016 for a fee in the region of £30 million.
Xhaka was born in Basel, Switzerland 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. As of 2017 Xhaka is married to Leonita Lekaj.
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.
Former Basel coach Thorsten Fink once said. "Xherdan Shaqiri is the best talent in Switzerland...after Granit Xhaka." Whilst the Swiss National Football Coach, Ottmar Hitzfeld, has dubbed him the 'young Schweinsteiger.'
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. 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 and the Swiss Cup with the club.
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.
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.
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.
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. 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.
On 25 May 2016, Arsenal signed Xhaka from Borussia Mönchengladbach for a fee of around £30–35 million. Xhaka made his first appearance for Arsenal (as a half-time substitution) in a 2–1 win against the MLS All-Stars.
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. 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. Four days later, he would score again from distance, this time from 30 yards in a 4–0 EFL Cup defeat of Nottingham Forest. Xhaka's first Arsenal red card – and eighth for club and country since April 2014 – came in a 3–2 win over Swansea City. 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. 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.
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. Xhaka also played in the 2017 Community Shield that Arsenal won on penalties over Chelsea.
Switzerland youth squads
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.
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.
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. 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
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.
Xhaka debuted for Switzerland at Wembley Stadium against England in a 2–2 UEFA Euro 2012 qualification draw on 4 June 2011. 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.
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. 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. On 2 June 2014, Xhaka was named in Switzerland's 2014 World Cup squad by national coach Ottmar Hitzfeld. In the team's second match, Xhaka scored in a 5–2 loss to France.
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. He was voted the man of the match. 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.
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.