Breel Embolo was courted by a number of top European clubs before electing to sign for FC Schalke 04.
Breel Embolo was courted by a number of top European clubs before electing to sign for FC Schalke 04.

Ten things about new Schalke signing Breel Embolo


FC Schalke 04 have bolstered their attacking options with the signing of Breel Embolo from FC Basel 1893 on a five-year contract. brings you ten things you might not have known about the 19-year-old Switzerland striker…

1. Cameroonian childhood

Embolo grew up in the Cameroonian capital of Yaounde. His parents separated when he was young, and when he was five his mother moved to France to attend school. Whilst there she met her future husband, a Swiss national, and moved to Basel with him alongside Embolo and his brother the following year.

2. Middle name

Embolo's full name is Breel Donald Embolo, with 'Donald' also his nickname in his youth. Early academy teammates at FC Nordstern Basel and BSC Old Boys used to call the young Embolo by his middle name in an attempt to rile the promising young attacker.

3. Citizenship

Although born in Cameroon, Embolo has had a Swiss passport since December 2014. Embolo had previously expressed interest in paying for either nation, but despite being courted by former Cameroon coach Volker Finke, he made his Switzerland debut in March 2015 in a 1-1 friendly draw with the USA.

4. Visits home

Whenever possible, Embolo flies to Cameroon to visit the other side of his family. "I can relax, but also have fun, and it's important to me to be reminded of the differences between the two places,” he told Swiss newspaper Basellandschaftliche Zeitung. He is in regular contact with his father who lives in Cameroon - something made far easier in the age of social media and messenger apps.

5. Role models

When Embolo was 16, his room was plastered with posters of former FC Barcelona stars Ronaldinho and Samuel Eto'o, alongside American rapper 50 Cent. Today, he thinks that Lionel Messi the the best player in world football. However, Embolo never had a particular role model in his own position.

6. Back-up plan

Embolo took precautions should his playing career fail to work out as hoped. He has completed a business qualification through the Northwest Swiss Football Association, which required him to organise tournaments and take care of players’ suspensions.

7. Special ritual

Since the age of 15, Embolo has gotten into the habit of drinking one or two bottles of water the night before a match. "If I don't do that then I sleep really poorly," he told the Basler Zeitung. "One of my head coaches told me to drink enough water and ever since then it's just what I do."

8. Own foundation

Despite being just 19 years old, Schalke's summer signing has already founded his own charitable foundation in order to be able to make use of his success for a good cause. The aim of the 'Embolo Foundation' is to provide support for refugee children in Switzerland as well as disadvantaged children in Cameroon and Peru.

9. Favourite position

Having demonstrated his goalscoring prowess with Basel, it comes as no surprise that Embolo is most at home leading a frontline either as a lone striker or as part of a two-man strike partnership. In that position, he is able to make the most of his pace and physical presence, which has proven to give centre-backs headaches. He is also not averse to playing out wide on occasion where his skill on the ball can come to the the fore.

10. Personal chant

Embolo is a fan favourite among supporters of the Swiss national team, which is why they have penned a chant dedicated to the striker. 'Oh Embolo! Oh Embolo!' is sung to the tune of 'The Lion Sleeps Tonight' and was regularly heard ringing around stadiums at UEFA EURO 2016 during Switzerland’s games.

Watch: Embolo's new home, the Veltins Arena.