Midfielder Sami Khedira will lead reigning world champions Germany onto the pitch as captain for their FIFA World Cup™ qualifying match against Azerbaijan in Baku on Sunday. It will be the 29-year-old’s second appearance as skipper, having previously pulled on the armband against Spain in November 2014.
What others say
“A leader, role model in terms of attitude and a good communicator with a winner’s mentality and professionalism – that’s Sami Khedira.”
Germany coach Joachim Low
“If we ever have a kickabout as mates, I would always pick Sami as the first player on my team, if given the chance. He was an absolute revelation to me. I have to admit that I didn’t follow his career very closely before he moved to Juve, but when he did, he surprised me with his intelligent play, composure and class.”
Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon
“We’re very pleased to have him with us. He’s a very thoughtful player and understands brilliantly how to read a game and bring it to life. While he likes to work slowly, just like [Andrea] Pirlo before him, that can be misleading. He simply exudes calm. He makes very few mistakes and is almost always in the right place.”
Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri
Khedira on Khedira
“I feel comfortable and in top form. I’ve found the right path. It’s one of the best periods of my career. I’m glad I found my way to Italy. I’ve become more tactically versatile. I have my place within the team and I want to continue playing there at least until the World Cup next year.”
Khedira in figures
• 70 international caps (7 goals)
• 2014 world champion
• Clubs: Stuttgart (2006-2010), Real Madrid (2010-2015), Juventus (since 2015)
• Champion in Italy, Spain and Germany
• UEFA Champions League winner
• FIFA Club World Cup winner
Did you know?
• Khedira’s career began in his living room at home when his father bought him a small soft ball. Before long, he was regularly playing games on the street with his friends – something his mother was not too pleased about at first!
• During his youth, Khedira’s role models were Krasimir Balakov, Fredi Bobic and Giovane Elber, who formed Stuttgart’s ‘magic triangle’ during the 1990s.
• He later admired Zinedine Zidane, who “made football look so easy. I know I’ll never be as delicate as him, but he knew how the game worked without overcomplicating things”.
• Khedira is the eighth German to play for record-breaking Italian champions Juventus. Famous compatriots to play for the Old Lady have included Helmut Haller, Thomas Hassler, Jurgen Kohler and Andreas Moller.