Five things Manchester City fans should know about Stephan Lichtsteiner
A seasoned international for Switzerland with 70 caps to his name already, Stephan Lichtsteiner is an established name in world football, but what do fans actually know about the rumoured Manchester City target?
Read on for five interesting things involving the player, his background, nicknames and the rest.
He trained to be a banker
Born in Adligenswil, in Lucerne, Lichtsteiner moved to Zurich as a teenager after earning a deal with Grasshoppers in the Swiss Football League.
As a rule, young players are also expected to complete apprenticeships alongside playing the game, in the event that their football careers fail to take off, and Lichtsteiner completed his in banking with Zurich-based firm Credit Suisse.
But after impressing during his second season with Grasshoppers, the right wing-back decided to stay in the game, eventually moving to Lille in France back in 2005.
The boy loves a nickname
Ever since arriving in Italy with Lazio in 2008, the Swiss defender has picked up a couple of rather catchy nicknames.
It all started back in April 2009, when Lichtsteiner starred for the Aquile during a 4-2 derby triumph over AS Roma in which the wing-back not only scored but proved a constant menace to the Giallorossi with his marauding runs down the right-hand flank.
It was enough to prompt Radio Sei commentator and Lazio supporter Guido de Angelis to dub the defender “Forrest Gump” with the name sticking for the rest of his time at the Stadio Olimpico.
After moving to Juventus in June 2011 for €10m, the electrifying forward runs continued, with Lichtsteiner earning the new nickname of “The Swiss Express” for his endeavours.
Lichtsteiner is not popular in Glasgow
Even if the 30-year-old does opt to move to the Premier League he is unlikely to be making any trips north of the border any time soon after earning himself special hate status among Celtic fans for his antics in a Champions League last-16 clash between the Bhoys and Juventus.
Back in February 2013, the Hoops were on a high after qualifying for the knockout stages from a group containing Barcelona, Benfica and Spartak Moscow but the Old Lady of Turin and the Swiss Express brought them back down to earth with a bump.
Lichtsteiner was chief among the culprits, holding several Celtic players back while defending corners and going to ground when required to win free kicks with a bit of play-acting.
The defender had no remorse: “It’s normal. I think it is part of football that they play the corners and the free-kicks, and of course they score more than 40 per cent of their goals in the Champions League from free-kicks, and they look to block the goalkeeper.”
The defender does have a funny side
Despite enduring weekly tussles with opposition players and generally establishing himself as something of a troublemaker with 18 cards across four seasons with Juventus, Lichtsteiner is not afraid of poking fun at himself.
The best example of this came at the start of the year when the 30-year-old starred alongside Juve playmaker Andrea Pirlo in a video that served to highlight how reliant the wing-back was on the help provided by the veteran World Cup winner both on and off the pitch.
Arsenal were linked with a move
Despite Manchester City emerging as real contenders to recruit the full-back, Lichtsteiner was previously rumoured to be on Arsene Wenger’s radar, with the Gunners boss weighing up a move for the player back at the start of the year.
Back then the former Lazio man was reported to be stalling on talks over a new deal with Juve and Arsenal were poised to swoop in January.
However that story failed to translate into a concrete bid from the north London club and the Swiss star put pen to paper on a contract extension – though that should not rule out a Manchester City move.
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