Granit Xhaka’s nickname among his Swiss teammates is “Little Einstein,” because he loves science.

Xhaka has reportedly always had a passion for science, and earned the nickname due to being considered an intellect among his peers.

xhaka northern ireland programme
Programme notes, Northern Ireland v Switzerland, 9 November 2017

You get a sense of that in his play, as he always tries to measure a long-ball to a teammate, rather than playing quickly and instinctively as some others do.

Recently, that has sometimes been his downfall, as he wants too much time to see the whole picture, and ends up having the ball nicked from him. But when he has time and space, as he did on Thursday night, Granit almost always picks out the player he’s looking for, however far away they might be.

granit xhaka little einstein
Little Einstein

However, the nickname might surprise some, when you look at Xhaka’s disciplinary record.

With six reds from two yellow cards, Xhaka has a tendency to make daft decisions when he should know better.

Hopefully, Xhaka has analysed his record scientifically, drawn the conclusion that it is something he needs to work on, and that’s the reason he’s now gone 10 months without a red card.

That certainly would be one way to live up to his nickname.