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Valon Behrami
Valon Behrami 2018.jpg
Behrami with Switzerland in 2018
Personal information
Full name Valon Behrami
Date of birth (1985-04-19) 19 April 1985 (age 37)
Place of birth Titova Mitrovica, SR Serbia, SFR Yugoslavia
Height 1.83 m
Playing position Midfielder
Youth career
1993–1997 Stabio
1997–2000 Chiasso
2000–2002 Lugano
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
2002–2003 Lugano 2 (0)
2003–2005 Genoa 24 (0)
2004–2005 Hellas Verona (loan) 33 (3)
2005–2008 Lazio 65 (4)
2008–2011 West Ham United 58 (4)
2011–2012 Fiorentina 48 (0)
2012–2014 Napoli 54 (0)
2014–2015 Hamburger SV 22 (0)
2015–2017 Watford 43 (0)
2017–2019 Udinese 39 (2)
2019 Sion 4 (0)
2020–2022 Genoa 53 (0)
2022 Brescia 5 (0)
Total 450 (13)
National team
2005–2018 Switzerland 83 (2)
  • Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
† Appearances (Goals).

Valon Behrami (born 19 April 1985) is a Swiss former professional footballer who played as a midfielder.

Behrami was capped 83 times at international level by the Switzerland national team, playing at four FIFA World Cups, UEFA Euro 2008 and UEFA Euro 2016 from his debut in 2005 to his international retirement in 2018.

Early life

Behrami was born to Kosovar Albanian parents in Mitrovica, Kosovo, at the time part of SR Serbia within SFR Yugoslavia. When he was five, his parents both lost their jobs; his mother Halime as a secretary and his father Ragip as a manager of a plastics company. As a result, Behrami along with his parents and older sister Valentina moved to Stabio, a village in Ticino, a canton in the Italian-speaking region of Switzerland. Behrami's mother described him as energetic: "As a child, running was Valon's favourite pastime – he just never got tired. Even now, he can hardly sit still for a second. He always needs a ball at his feet."

Club career

Early career

Behrami started out playing football with Swiss club sides FC Stabio, FC Chiasso and FC Lugano. After a number of impressive appearances with Lugano, he was signed by Italian team Genoa in the 2003–04 season, and played for them in the Serie B championship. In January 2004 he joined Udinese along with Rodrigue Boisfer in exchange for Mohammed Gargo and Vittorio Micolucci, in flopped transfer price in co-ownership deal to create "paper" profit.

In the 2004–05 season, Genoa bought out Udinese' rights to the player and loaned him out to Verona, again in Serie B.

Lazio

After an impressive season with Verona, Lazio signed him on 25 July 2005, as first a co-ownership deal for €2.7 million. and Lazio bought him outright in January 2006, for the same price.

Despite his clearance hitting Rodrigo Taddei's head and ricocheting into Lazio's goal to concede their first goal of the match, his 92nd minute winning goal etched Behrami's name into Lazio's history books as they won the Derby della Capitale on 19 March 2008 and virtually finished the Scudetto hopes for rivals Roma.

West Ham United

Valon Behrami Upton Park 11Sept10
Behrami pictured at Upton Park, West Ham United's ground, on 11 September 2010

On 23 July 2008, West Ham United signed Behrami from Lazio, with the player signing a five-year contract for a fee of £5 million. Behrami made his debut for West Ham in the 2–1 home win over Wigan Athletic on 16 August 2008. His versatility would see him become a vital part of West Ham's midfield, having begun the season as a stand in for captain Lucas Neill at right back. He scored his first goal for West Ham in the 1–0 away win against Sunderland on 23 November 2008. During the home win over Manchester City on 1 March 2009, he suffered an anterior cruciate ligament injury in his left knee that required oxygen to be administered on the field during a six-minute break in play. His knee and ankle twisted badly when his studs caught in the turf resulting in a premature end to his 2008–09 season.

Behrami made his comeback as a substitute on 12 September 2009 against Wigan Athletic. His return was interrupted by injury again for a month from November. He scored his first and only goal of the 2009–10 league campaign with the opener in a 3–0 home win over relegation rivals Hull City on 20 February 2010.

Fiorentina

Valon Behrami (15 02 2011)
Behrami playing for Fiorentina

On 26 January 2011, Behrami moved to Fiorentina for an undisclosed fee, signing a three-and-a-half-year contract. He made his debut with Fiorentina on 29 January 2011, in a Serie A fixture against his former team Lazio.

Napoli

On 17 July 2012, Behrami and his Fiorentina teammate Alessandro Gamberini were signed by Napoli for undisclosed fees.

Hamburg

On 31 July 2014, Behrami flew into Germany to complete a medical ahead of his €4.5 million move to Hamburg. The subsequent bonuses could raise the fee to €6.5 million based on 20 appearances in his first season. He committed to a three-year contract with an option for a fourth.

On 2 August 2014, the move was completed.

Watford

On 11 July 2015, Behrami watched on as his teammates drew 2–2 with AFC Wimbledon, later that afternoon the club confirmed Behrami signed a three-year contract with Watford.

Udinese

On 16 August 2017, Behrami signed a two-year deal with Italian club Udinese, who are owned by the Pozzo family just as his previous club Watford.

Sion

In July 2019, he joined Swiss club Sion. On 3 October 2019, his contract with Sion was terminated by mutual consent.

Return to Genoa

On 2 January 2020, Behrami joined Genoa for the second time. On 5 January, he came on in his debut as a substitute in a 2–1 home win against Sassuolo in the 72nd minute.

Brescia

On 31 January 2022, Behrami signed with Serie B club Brescia.

International career

Behrami was capped for the Swiss national team at the Under-18, Under-19 and "A" levels; playing at FIFA World Cup in 2006, 2010, 2014 and 2018.

Behrami scored a key goal against Turkey at the Stade de Suisse in the first leg of their 2006 World Cup qualifying playoff tie. During the 2006 tournament, he suffered a groin injury which put him on the sidelines for the first two group matches. In the third match against South Korea, he was substituted late in the game in the 88th minute. He did not participate in the loss to Ukraine in the last 16.

Behrami was in the starting eleven of Switzerland for all three matches during the 2008 UEFA European Championship, playing a total of 272 minutes.

On 21 June, in the 2010 World Cup, after appearing to elbow Chilean player Arturo Vidal, Behrami was sent off with a red card in the second Group H match against Chile and became the first Swiss player to be sent off in a World Cup match.

Behrami was included in the Switzerland 23-man squad for the 2018 FIFA World Cup. In their opening game, on 17 June, a 1–1 draw with Brazil, his performance was described as excellent, with note being made of his constant harassment of Brazil's Neymar. He became the first Swiss player to appear in four consecutive World Cup editions.

Personal life

In July 2018 it became known that Behrami married his girlfriend, Swiss alpine ski racer Lara Gut, after only having been dating for a few months.

Career statistics

Club

Club Season League National Cup League Cup Europe Other Total
Division Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Genoa 2003–04 Serie B 24 0 ? ? 24 0
Hellas Verona (loan) 2004–05 Serie B 33 3 ? ? 33 3
Lazio 2005–06 Serie A 26 2 0 0 26 2
2006–07 17 1 0 0 17 1
2007–08 22 1 0 0 5 0 27 1
Total 65 4 0 0 5 0 70 4
West Ham United 2008–09 Premier League 24 1 2 1 1 0 27 2
2009–10 27 1 1 0 0 0 28 1
2010–11 7 2 0 0 1 0 8 2
Total 58 4 3 1 2 0 63 5
Fiorentina 2010–11 Serie A 17 0 0 0 17 0
2011–12 31 0 1 0 32 0
Total 48 0 1 0 49 0
Napoli 2012–13 Serie A 33 0 0 0 3 0 1 0 37 0
2013–14 21 0 3 0 9 0 33 0
Total 54 0 3 0 12 0 1 0 70 0
Hamburger SV 2014–15 Bundesliga 22 0 0 0 22 0
Watford 2015–16 Premier League 21 0 1 0 0 0 22 0
2016–17 27 0 0 0 0 0 27 0
Total 48 0 1 0 0 0 49 0
Udinese 2017–18 Serie A 20 1 0 0 20 1
2018–19 19 1 0 0 19 1
Total 39 2 0 0 39 2
Sion 2019–20 Swiss Super League 4 0 1 0 5 0
Genoa 2019–20 Serie A 17 0 1 0 18 0
2020–21 26 0 0 0 26 0
2021–22 10 0 0 0 10 0
Total 53 0 1 0 54 0
Career total 419 13 10 1 2 0 17 0 1 0 449 14

International

Source:

National team Year Apps Goals
Switzerland
2005 3 1
2006 4 0
2007 5 0
2008 12 1
2009 1 0
2010 3 0
2011 4 0
2012 6 0
2013 7 0
2014 11 0
2015 7 0
2016 10 0
2017 3 0
2018 7 0
Total 83 2

International goals

Switzerland score listed first, score column indicates score after each Behrami goal.

International goals by date, venue, cap, opponent, score, result and competition
No. Date Venue Cap Opponent Score Result Competition
1 12 November 2005 Stade de Suisse, Bern, Switzerland 2  Turkey 2–0 2–0 2006 FIFA World Cup qualification
2 24 May 2008 Stadio Cornaredo, Lugano, Switzerland 14  Slovenia 2–0 2–0 Friendly

Honours

Club

Napoli

Records

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