Xhaka brothers set to make history at Euro 2016
For the first time in the history of the European Championship two brothers will line up against each other with different countries.
The Group A match between Switzerland and Albania on Saturday in Lens will be a special occasion for many Swiss nationals with Albanian roots, or who were born in the Balkan nation. Six players in the Albania squad grew up in Switzerland but were born in Albania. However, the match will mean more to the Xhaka brothers than most.
For the first time in the history of the European Championships two brothers will line up against each other for opposing sides when Granit turns out for Switzerland and Taulant does so for Albania. The only precedent for such an occasion was in the World Cup when the Boateng brothers, Jerome and Kevin Prince, played against each other with Germany and Ghana, respectively.
The Xhakas were both born in Basel. Their parents are Kosovo Albania and the family moved to Switzerland during an exodus in the late 1980s and early 1990s. The brothers stood out at youth side Concordia Basel and moved to FC Basel in 2002. They also represented Switzerland at various youth levels until, in 2012, their shared journey came to halt when Granit signed for Borussia Mönchengladbach. A year later, with opportunities in the senior Swiss squad at a premium, Taulant accepted an offer from the Albanian FA to represent the country of his parents.
Now, in Lens, the Xhaka family will be supporting two sides in the same game when Switzerland take on Albania.