Hakan Yakin: The King
Yakin is Switzerland's ageless wonder
Born: Feb 22, 1977, in Basel, Switzerland
Nickname: The King
Clubs played for: Yakin has played in Germany (Stuttgart), Turkey (Galatasaray) and Qatar (Al-Gharafa), but had the greatest influence while playing in his home country. Over a 14-year career, Yakin has played for Switzerland's biggest clubs, including Basel (twice), Grasshoppers (twice), St. Gallen, Young Boys and Lucerne winning several Swiss Super League and and Swiss Cup medals.
International career: With 80 appearances and 20 goals, the King has given much in service of Schweizer Nati since 2000, and was a member of the teams that participated in Euro 2004, Euro 2008 and the 2006 World Cup.
Why is he so special? Yakin is a consistent performer, and neither age nor injuries has slowed him down or diminished his skills. Much like Paul Scholes can do with his right, Yakin can launch the ball from everywhere and any distance with his left —for a time, his left foot was one of the most feared implements in European football.
His most famous moment: Basel's unexpected, magical run to the second group stage of the 2002-2003 Champions League is considered one of the greatest achievements in the club's history, and on the final match-day —although FCB would not be moving on to the quarter-finals— Basel dramatically beat Juventus 2-1. Yakin scored a cheeky volley with his left foot.
He said it: "Mr.Hitzfeld knows that I'm ready when he calls me."
What they are saying about him: "Hakan play freely ... as [an] attacking midfielder. I do not see him in the midfield behind two strikers. Therefore, he is a Joker [card]."
Here is an interesting fact: Yakin's brother, Murat Yakin, was a successful central defender for Grasshoppers, Stuttgart, Basel and Fenerbahce and played 49 times for Switzerland from 1994 to 2004. Murat Yakin retired in 26.