UEFA Euro 2016: Granit Xhaka posts emotional message to brother Taulant ahead of Albania vs Switzerland
The two Xhakas will play against each other for the first time in the UEFA Euro 2016.
Switzerland midfielder Granit Xhaka took to Facebook to post an emotional message to his brother Taulant Xhaka ahead of their match in the UEFA European Championships later today. The Xhaka brothers were both born in Switzerland but while Taulant chose to represent the country of his parents' birth, Granit chose the country he was born at.
This is the first time in UEFA European Championship history that two brothers will play each other with two countries. Granit is a midfielder – and a good one at that for Switzerland – while his brother is a defender for Albania. The two of them shared a dressing not too long ago at Basel.
Granit posted an emotional message on Facebook outlining his respect for his brother and what it would mean to play him in an opposition team. Here's the message:
Granit got a transfer offer from Bundesliga side Borussia Monchengladbach and chose the offer to further progress in his development. Taulant stayed back at Basel. Both the Xhakas played for various levels for Switzerland's youth systems.
Taulant played for the Switzerland U17, U18, U19, U20 and the U21 side before choosing to represent the country of his parents' birth. Granit Xhaka also progressed through Switzerland's youth systems before agreeing to be a part of the senior team as well.
Granit Xhaka moved to Arsenal this summer after captaining the Borussia Monchengladbach side for a season. Under his captaincy, Gladbach finished in a UEFA Champions League slot and he earned a lot of praise from a lot of critics who have carefully studied his every move – including his now-manager Arsene Wenger.
At Switzerland, Granit Xhaka will not be captain, but will play and equally important role at the centre of the field if they are to progress to the final rounds of the competition. Switzerland play Albania, France and Romania and are tipped to go through along with hosts, France.