How Granit Xhaka got his coaching badges whilst conquering German football
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How Granit Xhaka got his coaching badges whilst conquering German football

24/06/24 18:45

Former Turkey international and Euro 2008 semi-finalist Colin Kazim-Richards has lauded Granit Xhaka for his commitment to completing his UEFA A coaching course while simultaneously competing on three fronts for Bayer Leverkusen last season.

Kazim-Richards completed the training course alongside Xhaka, 31, on a course which also included big names such as Jermaine Defoe, Mohamed Elneny and Cedric Soares.

Xhaka, a former Arsenal captain who famously fell-out with fans after being substituted against Crystal Palace in 2019, left the club as a fan favourite at the end of 2022/23 season after Leverkusen bought him for what now seems like a bargain £15 million.

In his first season at the club, he helped Leverkusen go unbeaten in the league and domestic cup competitions, and nearly achieved an invincible Europa League campaign to top it all off, but fell one game short, losing to Atalanta 3-0 in the final.

Despite his hectic on-field schedule, he still managed to make time to further his coaching development this year, and Kazim-Richards witnessed his dedication to this first hand.

“I was messaging him like ‘are you gonna be there next week, haven’t you got the Europa league Final” said Kazim-Richards: “He came literally 2 days after winning the DFB Pokal. The guy is really committed to what he puts his mind to, because he could've been celebrating.”

After a stellar season, talk turned to Xhaka’s potential to be nominated for the Ballon D’or, the biggest individual award the sport can offer, and Kazim-Richards said that had Leverkusen won one more game, then Xhaka would have been in contention for a spot in the nominee’s list.

“If they would have won that Europa League, that would have been the greatest season in history.”

“If Arsenal had him this season they would have won the league.”

Want to find out what else Colin Kazim Richards had to say. Check out our Youtube video below for the full interview.

Benji Kosartiyer
Journalist
Luca Testa

Writer

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