Few players in world football have made such an impact at such a young age as Swiss midfielder Xherdan Shaqiri. Having dazzled in Switzerland, the pint-sized winger made a dream move to FC Bayern Munich, where he looks set to thrive for years to come.
Star on the rise
The Kosovo-born Swiss international's rise to stardom began in the youth ranks of SV Augst and FC Basel. On the books at the latter, he played in the U-15 Nike Cup 2007 and was named as best Player of the Tournament. He turned professional in January 2009 and made his made his senior debut in the opening game of the 2009/10 season, going on to score seven times and provide five assists in all competitions for Basel that campaign.
Naturally, a call-up to the Swiss national side was the next step, but it came as somewhat of a surprise when national team coach Ottmar Hitzfeld selected him in his 2010 FIFA World Cup squad. The midfielder only tasted 12 minutes of the big time on that occassion, but has since become the key weapon in the Swiss arsenal after being named in the Team of the Tournament at the UEFA U-21 European Championships a year later.
The left-footed Shaqiri plays predominantly on the right-hand side of midfield, but is just as at home on either flank, in the classic No10 position. His pace, trickery and raw power were plain to see as he assisted both goals in a 2-1 victory over Manchester United in the 2011/12 UEFA Champions League, after which Bayern needed no more convincing and sealed a deal for the Swiss flier in February 2012.
Eye for goal
Moving in circles with the likes of Bastian Schweinsteiger and Franck Ribery appears to have had the desired effect on the unmistakeable midfielder, who halfway through his first season in Bavaria - the 2012/13 campaign - became the first Bayern player to score in the Bundesliga, DFB Cup and UEFA Champions League.
Shaqiri ended up lifting each of those three trophies at the end of the season and despite making just 17 league appearances under Pep Guardiola the following year, scored crucial goals as the Bavarians secured a 17th league and cup double in 2013/14. He was named in the Switzerland squad for the 2014 World Cup and bagged his first goals at a major tournament with a hat-trick against Honduras in Manaus on 25 June.