Benjamin Huggel (Basel v FC Zurich, 2009)

Basel would finish the 2009-10 season as Swiss champions but were struggling to kick-start their campaign when they travelled to Zurich in late October. Enter stage left: Benjamin Huggel and a supporting cast for a goal that transformed their fortunes.

“The build-up was incredible, really – in many ways it was the perfect goal. Valentin Stocker, Scott Chipperfield and Behrang Safari [plus wonderkid Xherdan Shaqiri] were pinging the ball around and I just waiting for my chance at the edge of the box. Then Scott passed it to me and I hit it first time.

“I was pretty angry before that goal because I’d been playing as a centre-back and only moved into my normal position in midfield a couple of minutes before scoring. Because I was angry, I wasn’t really thinking of anything – I just wanted to smash it.

“We were losing 1-0 and we really needed the points, but no one made a fuss about the goal at the time. A couple of team-mates patted me on the back and said it wasn’t bad, but it was only when The Guardian ran a poll for European Goal of the Season [Huggel beat Messi, Maicon, Robben and more with an incredible 85 per cent of the vote] that people started talking about it. We didn’t talk about it in training, and we certainly didn’t try to do it again!

“I think Johnny Leoni was in goal for Zurich at the time – he sounds like a porn star but he’s actually a really decent goalkeeper – and we talked about it when we met up with the [Swiss] national team a couple of weeks later.


“He told me that I would never hit another shot like that in my life. I told him he was probably right.”

Interview: Richard Edwards. Illustration: German Aczel. From the November 2012 issue of FourFourTwo. Subscribe!

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