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Shades of former greats Lizarazu and Müller

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Shades of former greats Lizarazu and Müller

Postby FCBayernNews » Thu Feb 09, 2012 9:03 pm

Xherdan Shaqiri has already strutted his stuff at the Allianz Arena, wowing the crowd with mazy dribbling, precise crosses and pinpoint shots when Basel visited Munich in the Champions League back in December 2010. Shaqiri was just as good in the two previous duels between the FCBs in September and January of the same year - so good, in fact, that he is joining Bayern next summer.

"It's a dream come true for me," commented the Kosovo-born Switzerland international, who arrived in the region of Basel with his parents as a small child. "Moving to Bayern is unbelievable. Even the club doctor's practice in Munich was unbelievable. I'm really looking forward to Munich," he continued. The man who already possesses two Swiss championship medals is now keen to win "even more trophies. More than anything else, I can win the Champions League with Bayern, and that's always been my dream."

Bayern beat off United and Co

Germany was his preferred destination, the player said. "In my opinion, the Bundesliga is currently the best league along with England, and ahead of Spain and Italy." The Swiss International of the Year 2011 rates as one of the most talented young players in European football. He has been linked with a string of major clubs, including Manchester United, Liverpool, Zenit St Petersburg and Istanbul giants Galatasaray.

Physically, Shaqiri is muscular, stocky and power-packed, standing the same height as Bixente Lizarazu (1.69 m / 5 ft 6 ½ in), weighing 72 kg / 159 pounds, and boasting the thighs of a Gerd Müller. He was a key performer for Basel in their stunning 2-1 victory over United last December, laying on both his side's goals with crosses. In last autumn's Champions League group stage, he was the second most fouled player (21 times), behind only Franck Ribéry.

Praise from ex-Basel boss Fink

"He's a really cheeky lad," commented former Basel boss Thorsten Fink, the man who handed the then 17-year-old Shaqiri his pro debut in July 2009. "He's technically good and a strong dribbler. He's like a Ninja Hero Turtle. Once he arrives in Munich, he'll definitely become a crowd favourite." The player is left-footed but operates on the right side of midfield for Basel, although he has also featured on the left, in the centre and at full-back.

"Xherdan is an exceptional player. He's a full-blooded footballer who always goes looking for the ball. He'd be good news for every team," commented Ottmar Hitzfeld. The General handed the midfielder, who joined Basel as a 10-year-old in 2001, his Swiss international debut in March 2010. Shaqiri was a member of the Swiss World Cup squad the following summer, and helped his country's U-21 side reach the European championship final in June 2011.

Hitzfeld: He has what it takes

Two-and-a-half years into his professional career, Shaqiri has scored 18 goals in 106 games for Basel, and four goals in 17 senior international appearances. "Joining Bayern now is the right step for him," commented Hitzfeld, "he has the confidence to bring it off. I think he can do it."

Jupp Heynckes singled out Shaqiri for special mention recently after an initial video analysis of Basel, Bayern's Champions League Round of 16 opponents. The return leg takes place at the Allianz Arena on 13 March, where Shaqiri will ply his trade as a visitor. As of next summer, it will be his home ground.
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