Will Shkëlzen ‘I-Cant-Stop-Scoring’ Gashi lead Albania to the Euro Cup?

Name: Shkëlzen Gashi.
Age: 26.
Occupation: Well what do you call someone who can’t stop scoring?

edvinceloFSHF

Photo: Edvin Celo for FSHF’s website.

Named after one of the biggest mountains in Albania 26-year-old Shkëlzen Gashi is also aiming towards the sky. He is currently the top goal scorer in the Swiss Super Leauge. His resume reads 21 goals in 24 games and it’s an eight goal gap between him and the runner-up.

Born in Switzerland he started his professional career in his birthcity Zürich and made his debut in the Super League a few weeks after his 18th birthday. However the youngster struggled to find the net and the best solution was to loan him out. After being loaned out to both Schaffhausen and Bellinzona he signed a contract with Neuchâtel Xamax at the beginning of 2010. The striker’s struggle continued and he eventually moved to Aarau playing in the second tier.

It was at Aarau where the magic started happening. He scored five goals in the second half of the season but due to financial issues Neuchâtel were thrown out of the league so Gashi remained in Aarau. The season after Gashi scored a whopping 17 goals, only two goals less than the top goal scorer Armando Sadiku.

Gashi’s success caught the eye of many teams and it was Grasshopper who brought him back to the Super League. Despite the fact that Gashi only scored five goals during the first season Grasshopper managed to finish second. The season after it all exploded. Between July 2013 and November 2013 he noted five goals when the Swiss League took a christmas break and he must have had a well deserved rest because he was a changed man when he returned.

When February came along he started scoring again and by May 15th he had scored another 14 goals including two hattricks. The first one was against Sion last March and then on May 4th 2014 he scored not three but four goals against Young Boys in this 5-0 win. This historical day got him into the record book since it is the highest amount of goals anyone has ever scored in one game however he shares this with a couple of other players. Gashi also was included in the Swiss Dream Team along side his fellow team mate Taulant Xhaka. At the end of the season Gashi won the Golden boot, having scored 19 goals in 32 games and yet again Grasshopper finished second. Everyone were talking about Gashi and a lot of Albanians were thrilled to see an Albanian on top of the goalscoring chart.

That summer his market value flew up like a rocket launching and as he left for Basel it kept going up. In Basel he not only trippled his salary, he kept scoring. The Swiss Football Federation awarded him with the ‘Best Player of the Year 2014’ award yarlier this year and this was a huge boost for Gashi. Last month World Soccer.com

But well just have to see just how important he is and how a three game absence will affect his team since he was awarded a red card against his former team Zürich this weekend. He did score goal number 21 though, in 24 games which is pretty awesome if you ask me. So this means that Guillaume Hoarau has three games to catch up on Gashi but he needs to score at least eight goals.

In Albania’s national team the goals have not been as many though. Gashi was born in Switzerland so just like many other Albanians in Switzerland he decided to wear the red and white jersey instead of Albania’s red and black one. He played for their U21 team before chosing to represent Albania’s first team instead. He made his debut during the fall of 2013 in a friendly against Armenia and his first goal was believe it or not, against Armenia. But this was just last month where he scored the winning goal against Armenia in the Euro qualification.

While Albania is fighting its way to get a ticket to France’s Euro Cup next year Shkëlzen Gashi is doing whatever he can to forcen Albania’s reputation. A defender’s worst nightmare and brilliant goalscorer who is at the peak of his career. He is one of many Swiss raised players that declined Switzerland to represent Albania and is becoming a pioneer showing others that chosing Albania does not have to mean that you will never play in a World or Euro Cup. Gashi has lead his teams to vital wins and the question is if Gashi will lead Albania to its first Euro Cup?

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