After the vaccination chaos, the meeting with Lionel Messi

Soccer

Xherdan Shaqiri: First the vaccination mess, now the meeting with Lionel Messi

How the Swiss national team star Xherdan Shaqiri already secured the favor of the audience in Lyon. And what awaits him now after a turbulent week.

Xherdan Shaqiri gave the fans of Olympique Lyon great pleasure in his first appearance.

Laurent Cipriani / AP

Xherdan Shaqiri is a phenomenon. Just a few weeks have passed since he moved to Olympique Lyon from Liverpool to France – and he is already well on his way to winning the hearts of fans.

Nothing could illustrate this better than a scene on his debut against Strasbourg (3-1) last Saturday. Shaqiri gets ready to take a corner kick. He realizes the fans are chanting his name. He raises his thumb, whereupon the shaqiri shouts really pick up speed. A few seconds later he prepares a goal with his “weak” right foot and thus causes ecstasy in the stands.

The successful start is followed by a week that is no less exciting and, above all, turbulent. Lyon visited Glasgow Rangers in the Europa League on Thursday. At first it was said that Shaqiri was not allowed to go on the trip – because he had first been vaccinated. It would have threatened a 10-day quarantine after returning. But suddenly the turning point: His club Lyon claims that Shaqiri has been infected with Corona for a second time this year and that the simple vaccination therefore offers sufficient protection. So Shaqiri travels to Glasgow and comes on in the 71st minute. However, he does not have many conspicuous scenes, but his team wins 2-0 with confidence.

His absence weighed heavily in the national team – does this help his club?

And now follows on Sunday the rendezvous with Lionel Messi, Neymar, Kylian Mbappé and Co. Lyon meets Paris St.Germain away from home. For Shaqiri it will be a first big highlight at the new place of work. For Lyon, after a start to the season that was not really successful, it is a great opportunity to make an exclamation mark. The PSG attack machinery is already in great shape, with 16 goals scored in five league games. And finally the three great tenors in the storm – Messi, Neymar, Mbappé – appeared together for the first time. Excitement is guaranteed.

The Swiss national team can only hope that the 10 days of additional preparation that Shaqiri allowed himself with Lyon during the international break will pay off, at least in the medium term. The 0-0 draw against Northern Ireland in World Cup qualification showed how much Shaqiri was missing. The next duel with Northern Ireland is in three weeks – Switzerland’s creativity will be good for it.

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