A globetrotter already at young age and fluent in five languages, Henrikh Mkhitaryan is anything but your average professional footballer.
Born on 21 January 1989 in the former Soviet Union, the 2009, 2011, 2012 and 2013 Armenian Footballer of the Year moved to France as one-year-old where his father Hamlet played for ASDA Valence. Football dominated his childhood as he took part in an exchange in Sao Paulo, Brazil, when he was 14 before winning his top-flight debut aged 17 for Armenian first division side FC Pjunik Yerevan.
Having spent most of his youth in France, it was hardly surprising the skilful midfielder picked three-time FIFA World Player of the Year and playmaking legend Zinedine Zidane as his idol. As a child, he would regularly watch his father, who tragically died of a brain tumor when Henrikh was only seven years old, play for second division Valence as well as in training.
In the wake of tragedy though, he held on to his dream of becoming a professional footballer, and earned a move to FC Metalurh Donetsk in 2009 where he made an immediate impact, scoring 14 goals in all competitions in his first season. Mkhitaryan, who speaks Armenian, Russian, English, French and Portuguese, was became the youngest skipper in Metalurh’s history at the age of 21 the following season. However, his tenure was short-lived as he opted to join FC Shakhtar Donetsk just weeks later, with whom he won the domestic treble in his debut campaign.
A technically-gifted midfielder, who boasts an extraordinary eye for goal, Mkhitaryan found the net ten times in 28 matches in his second season and was was voted the fans' 'Player of the Season' on the back of retianing their league and cup titles. It was in his third year with the club though, that the playmaker made his breakthrough finishing as the league's top goalscorer and courting plenty of interest from abroad.
Borussia Dortmund singled the studious attacking midfielder out as Mario Götze’s replacement and Mkhitaryan didn’t disappoint, scoring and setting up nine goals as the Ruhr district outfit finished as runners-up to FC Bayern in both the Bundesliga as well as the DFB Cup. Having learned some valuable lessons in a topsy-turvey debut season, the man affectionately known as 'Magic-taryan' amongst the BVB faithful still has plenty of tricks up his sleeve, and scoring in a 2-0 win over Bayern to win the 2014 Supercup was the perfect way to set up his second season with the famous Schwarz-Gelben.