Football – Xherdan Shaqiri: “Chicago was an obvious choice”


Presented to the press on Monday, the Swiss international repeated how much the Chicago Fire project won him over. And reassured about its level of competitiveness.

Xherdan Shaqiri poses alongside his new coach, Ezra Hendrickson.

Xherdan Shaqiri poses alongside his new coach, Ezra Hendrickson.


Xherdan Shaqiri’s American adventure officially begins. The 30-year-old Basel winger spoke for the first time since his express and unexpected transfer to the Chicago Fire, announced on February 9.

A movement that owes a lot to the presence of Georg Heitz, former architect of the great FC Basel of the 2000s and current sports director of Fire. The two men, who have remained in contact since their Rhineland period, hammered home their complicity in front of the media. “The last time we worked together was as a child. Now he’s coming here as a man, inducted Heitz. He’s a player you pay to watch him play. I promise the fans: Xherdan will entertain you!”

Shaqiri did not want to talk about his failure in Lyon, where he only stayed 5 and a half months, contenting himself with evoking “disagreements with the coach (editor’s note: Peter Bosz), personal things”. He was much more talkative about his new club, the 7th of his career. « Coming here was an obvious choice, » he said. George presented me with a big project and I was really excited. From my experience, I can give a lot to this club, not only on the pitch but also off it. I want to bring success back to Chicago and win trophies.”

“I can give a lot to this club, not just on the pitch but also off it. I want to bring success back to Chicago”

Chicago Fire winger Xherdan Shaqiri

Indirectly, the former Bayern, Inter and Liverpool player also responded to concerns about his level of competitiveness away from Europe: “I’ve always been a big fan of MLS. Many very good players are already playing here. This championship continues to progress. The offensive leader of the Nati therefore assures him: “My role in the national team will not change.”

It could start this weekend

On the other hand, his new superiors were rave about him. “We lack winners. Xherdan has this quality of having won a lot in his career,” said Georg Heitz. « He’s one of those special players who can change a game in a second, » coach Ezra Hendrickson said. The level immediately went up a notch. On his first day, we had probably our best training of the preseason. The players reacted very well to his arrival.

“He is one of those special players who has the ability to change a match in a second”

Georg Heitz, athletic director of the Chicago Fire

All he needs now is to justify these praises in competition. “Fit and ready to play”, in his own words, “Big Shaq” could make his big debut this Sunday against Miami, during the first day of the championship.

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