Tranquillo Barnetta is one of the most famous football players to come out of Switzerland. A fantastic midfielder, Barnetta started out on the wings but came into the centre of midfield, in a defensive role, over the years. Presently he plays for Bayer Leverkusen and the Swiss national football team.
At a very young age of 6, Barnetta began his playing football with FC Rotmonten St. Gallen. He worked his way up at the club for 5 years and then, shifted to St. Gallen in 1996. From 1996 to 2002, Barnetta spent six crucial years, learning the tricks of the trade before making his professional debut with St. Gallen in 2002. For the next three years, Barnetta played for St. Gallen and quickly became a regular at the team.
He played 60 games, scoring 12 goals and became a force to be reckoned with. It came as no surprise that Bayer Leverkusen swooped in on the Swiss youngster. As soon as he got into Germany, Barnetta & Leverkusen realized that the player still had some way to go before he could be ready to turn out for the team. As a result, a loan move was arranged and Barnetta went to Hannover 96 for a few games.
After 7 games with Hannover, Barnetta had two goals to his name and was called back to Leverkusen. Barnetta has played over 170 games with Leverkusen, scoring 23 goals since 2004.
At the international level, Barnetta made his debut for the Under-17 squad and played at the 2002 Under-17 European Championships. Despite being called up for Euro 2004, Barnetta didn’t get a game. However, at the 2006 FIFA World Cup, Barnetta played for Switzerland in every game. He was shortlisted for the tournament’s Best Young Player award although he didn’t end up winning it. He was also a part of the team that went on to play at the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
Tranquillo won the UEFA U17 European championship in 2002.
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