Chicago Fire acquire Switzerland’s Xherdan Shaqiri as Designated Player!

Chicago Fire FC have announced the acquisition of Switzerland international midfielder Xherdan Shaqiri from Olympique Lyonnais. Shaqiri will occupy a Designated Player slot on the Fire’s roster, becoming the most expensive transfer signing in Club history. His contract with the Club will run through the 2024 season, pending receipt of his P-1 Visa and International Transfer Certificate (ITC). Per Club and MLS policy, additional terms of the deal were not disclosed.

“We’re extremely pleased to formally welcome Xherdan Shaqiri to the Fire,” said Chicago Fire FC Sporting Director Georg Heitz. “Xherdan is a game-changing player and someone who will bring joy to our supporters and the city of Chicago. As one of the most accomplished Swiss athletes of his generation, Xherdan joins us at a very important time for the Club and fully believes in what we are aiming to accomplish. We look forward to welcoming him and his family to Chicago very soon.”

Shaqiri, 30, joins Chicago with a wealth of experience and success at the highest level of world football. Since making his professional debut in 2009, he has made 421 appearances across all competitions, winning 17 major trophies during that stretch. Additionally, the attacking midfielder has earned 100 caps for Switzerland’s senior national team, featuring in three consecutive FIFA World Cups (2010, 2014, 2018) and back-to-back European Championships (2016, 2020).

Shaqiri originally began his career with FC Basel, where Heitz served as the Sporting Director from 2009-2017. In three seasons with Basel, Shaqiri helped lead the team to three straight league championships, including the “Double” in the 2011-12 campaign when the team won the league and the Swiss Cup. Overall, Shaqiri tallied 23 goals and 27 assists in 130 appearances with Basel before signing with Bayern Munich.

In his first season in Germany (2012-13), Shaqiri was part of the Bayern team that won the first treble in club history, capturing the UEFA Champions League, German Bundesliga, and German Cup trophies. In total, the Swiss midfielder won eight major trophies in three seasons with Bayern, where he played alongside Fire legend Bastian Schweinsteiger. Following his spell with Bayern, Shaqiri spent time with Inter Milan (2014-15) and Stoke City (2016-18), before signing with Liverpool ahead of the 2018-19 English Premier League campaign.

In his first year with Liverpool, Shaqiri helped guide the team to a UEFA Champions League trophy and a UEFA Super Cup title. The following season, Shaqiri played an important role on the squad as Liverpool captured its first league title in 30 years, while also winning the FIFA Club World Cup. After securing four major trophies in four seasons with Liverpool, Shaqiri joined Olympique Lyon for the 2021-22 campaign, where he made 16 appearances across all competitions, before signing with the Fire.

At the international level, Shaqiri has scored 26 times in 100 appearances for the Switzerland National Team, which ranks tied as the sixth-most in the nation’s history. In nine FIFA World Cup appearances, Shaqiri has scored four goals for his home country, including a hat-trick against Honduras in the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil. Shaqiri has also added four goals and two assists in nine European Championship appearances for Switzerland, including three goals and one assist in the UEFA Euro 2020.

Shaqiri will wear number 10 for the Fire and will occupy an international slot on the Club’s roster. He is fluent in Albanian, English, German, French and Italian.

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