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Alexander Frei (born 15 July 1979) is a Swiss former footballer who played as a forward. He was interim manager of FC Basel.[2]

Alexander Frei
Alex Frei.jpg
Frei with Borussia Dortmund in 2007
Personal information
Full name Alexander Frei
Date of birth (1979-07-15) 15 July 1979 (age 40)
Place of birth Basel, Switzerland
Height 1.79 m (5 ft 10 in)[1]
Playing position Striker
Club information
Current team
Basel (interim manager)
Youth career
1987–1988 FC Begnins
1988–1995 FC Aesch
1995–1997 Basel
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1997–1998 Basel 11 (1)
1998–1999 Thun 32 (6)
1999–2000 FC Luzern 53 (17)
2001–2003 Servette 64 (36)
2003–2006 Rennes 100 (47)
2006–2009 Borussia Dortmund 74 (34)
2009–2013 Basel 103 (72)
Total 437 (213)
National team
1995–1996 Switzerland U-18 5 (1)
1996–1997 Switzerland U-19 4 (3)
1999–2000 Switzerland U-21 19 (9)
2001–2011 Switzerland 86 (42)
Teams managed
2013–2014 FC Luzern (sporting director)
2015– FC Basel (youth)
2018 FC Basel (interim)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

He began his career at FC Basel, going on to various other clubs in Switzerland, France and Germany before returning to his home club, where he won the Swiss Super League title in all four of his seasons, including doubles with the Swiss Cup in 2010 and 2012.

Frei is the all-time leading scorer of the Swiss national football team with 42 goals in 84 games, and also their sixth-most capped player of all time. He represented the country at two UEFA European Championships and as many World Cups.

Club careerEdit

Frei started his professional career with his hometown club of FC Basel, where he later was transferred to FC Thun, FC Luzern, and Servette FC, all in his native Switzerland. After a transfer to French club Rennes, he finished as the highest goalscorer in Ligue 1 for the 2004–05 season with 20 goals and was named Swiss Footballer of the Year the same season. He was also named Swiss Footballer of the Year in 2004 and 2007.

Frei then signed a four-year contract with Borussia Dortmund on 29 June 2006. Dortmund paid a transfer fee of approximately €5 million for him. In the 2006–07 season, Frei was the highest goal scorer for Borussia Dortmund with 16 goals in 32 matches.

He recovered from a long-term injury in the 2007–08 season to score six times in his last eight appearances for Borussia Dortmund. After speculation regarding his future, he came back to action against Schalke 04 in the fourth fixture of the Bundesliga. He scored two goals, equalising in an incredible game.[3]

On 17 July 2009, he left Borussia Dortmund and, after six years, returned to Switzerland to sign with FC Basel.[4] He made his debut in a 2–1 win over FC Sion on 26 July 2009. He made an assist and also scored the last minute winner in the match at the Stade Tourbillon.[5] During the 2009–10 season he scored 15 goals in 19 league games and FC Basel won the Double. During the 2010–11 season he scored 27 goals in 35 league games, becoming the Swiss League Top goalscorer.

At the end of the 2011–12 season, Frei won his second Double with Basel, the League Championship title[6] and the Swiss Cup.[7]

Frei played his last professional match on 14 April 2013 in the home game at St. Jakob-Park as Basel beat Zürich 3–1. He led the team as captain for this game. He also scored his last goal, a free kick from about 25 meters in the 55th minute. He was substituted some ten minutes later to a standing ovation.[8][9] At the end of the Swiss Super League season 2012–13, Frei was awarded his fourth championship medal[10] and was awarded a Swiss Cup silver medal.[11] In the 2012–13 UEFA Europa League, Basel advanced as far as the semi-finals, there being matched against the reigning UEFA Champions League holders Chelsea, but were knocked out being beaten 2–5 on aggregate.[12] Frei's last game in this competition was as Basel qualified for the quarter-finals in the home game against Tottenham Hotspur, whom they beat 4–1 on penalties after a 4–4 aggregate draw to progress.

International careerEdit

Frei battling for the ball from Brazil's Luisão in a November 2006 friendly

Frei represented Switzerland at Under-18s, Under-19s and Under-21s levels. He played his Swiss U-18s debut on 25 October 1995 in the 5-1 away defeat against the French Under-18s. His Under-21 debut was on 3 September 1999 in the 3-1 away win against Denmark.

Frei played his debut as full international on 24 March 2001, being substituted in, during the 1–1 away draw against the Republic of Yugoslavia during the World Cup qualification Group 1 match.[13] In the following match, four days later, Frei scored his first three goals for the national team in the 5–0 home win against Luxembourg.[14]

Frei played for Switzerland at Euro 2004. In a group match against England, he was caught on camera appearing to spit at Steven Gerrard. Although no action was taken at the time, Frei was later charged and given a provisional 15-day suspension by UEFA.[15]

He scored six times in 2006 FIFA World Cup qualification, including a second-minute penalty in the second leg of the play-off against Turkey which his team won on away goals.[16] At the finals in Germany, Frei was Man of the match in the 2–0 group stage win over Togo in Dortmund, opening the scoring from Tranquillo Barnetta's 17th-minute cross.[17] He concluded a win by the same score against South Korea in the next game to send Switzerland through as group winners. This goal was controversial as referee Horacio Elizondo overruled a judgement of offside by his assistant.[18]

On 30 May 2008, in Switzerland's final preparation match before co-hosting UEFA Euro 2008, Frei scored twice in a 3–0 friendly win over Liechtenstein. This moved him to 35 goals for the Swiss national team, surpassing the record of Kubilay Türkyilmaz.[19] However, within the first half of the opening match of the tournament, Frei was injured while captaining the Swiss team and missed the rest of the tournament due to a torn knee ligament in his left knee after a challenge from Czech defender Zdeněk Grygera. He decided to remain with the team to show his support. He later underwent surgery.[20]

In a Euro 2012 qualifier at home against Wales, he was booed by his own fans throughout the match, even though Switzerland won the match 4–1. When he was finally substituted the fans in the home sector booed him repeatedly.[21] On 5 April 2011, he decided to quit from the national squad after being criticised again following a 0–0 draw with Bulgaria on 26 March for the Euro 2012 qualifying match.[22]

International goalsEdit

Scores and results list Switzerland's goal tally first.

Sports directorEdit

After Frei ended his career, he became new sports director of FC Luzern. This was announced by both FC Basel[23] and Luzern[24] on 19 March 2013.

Personal lifeEdit

Alexander is of no relation to club and country team mate Fabian Frei.[25] However, he is the second-cousin of Seattle Sounders FC goalkeeper and former Swiss youth international Stefan Frei.[26] His younger sister is called Andrea, and she plays football for the Basel ladies team. He is married to Nina and they have a daughter born in 2012.[27]







  1. ^ "Alex Frei" (in German). FC Basel. Archived from the original on 17 February 2013. Retrieved 26 January 2013.
  3. ^ "Borussia Dortmund 3–3 Schalke 04". ESPN Soccernet. 13 September 2008. Retrieved 15 July 2010.
  4. ^ "Alex Frei verlässt Dortmund" (in German). 17 July 2009. Retrieved 15 June 2013.
  5. ^ Weber, Dominik (26 July 2009). "Alex Frei schiesst FCB in letzter Minute zum Sieg in Sion!". FC Basel 1893. Archived from the original on 22 June 2009. Retrieved 15 June 2013.
  6. ^ "Der 15. Meistertitel für den FCB – die Bilanz einer grandiosen Saison" (in German). 29 April 2012. Archived from the original on 16 October 2013. Retrieved 15 June 2013.
  7. ^ "Matchtelegram FC Basel 1893 5:3 FC Luzern" (in German). 2012. Archived from the original on 4 December 2012. Retrieved 16 May 2012.
  8. ^ Marti, Caspar (14 April 2013). "Der FCB schlägt den FCZ bei der Verabschiedung von Alex Frei mit 3:1" (in German). FC Basel 1893. Archived from the original on 21 October 2013. Retrieved 15 June 2013.
  9. ^ Meister, Remo (14 April 2013). "Das isch emol e Abschied" (in German). FC Basel 1893. Archived from the original on 21 October 2013. Retrieved 15 June 2013.
  10. ^ Schifferle, Michael (10 June 2013). "Season review: Switzerland". UEFA. Retrieved 21 October 2013.
  11. ^ "Telegramm Schweizer Cup Final" (in German). Schweizerischer Fussballverband. 20 May 2013. Retrieved 21 October 2013.
  12. ^ Haylett, Trevor (3 May 2013). "Basel take heart after Chelsea defeat". UEFA. Retrieved 21 October 2013.
  13. ^ "Yugoslavia – Switzerland / Match report". 24 March 2001. Archived from the original on 17 May 2013. Retrieved 15 June 2013.
  14. ^ "Switzerland – Luxembourg / Match report". 28 March 2001. Archived from the original on 16 May 2013. Retrieved 15 June 2013.
  15. ^ "Frei given 15-day ban". BBC Sport. 21 June 2004. Retrieved 25 May 2015.
  16. ^ "Turkey 4-2 Switzerland". BBC Sport. 16 November 2005. Retrieved 25 May 2015.
  17. ^ "Togo 0-2 Switzerland". BBC Sport. 19 June 2006. Retrieved 25 May 2015.
  18. ^ "Switzerland 2-0 South Korea". BBC Sport. 23 June 2006. Retrieved 25 May 2015.
  19. ^ "Switzerland coast home against Liechtenstein". Swissinfo. 30 May 2008. Retrieved 25 May 2015.
  20. ^ "Switzerland 0–1 Czech Republic". BBC News. 8 June 2008. Retrieved 15 July 2010.
  21. ^ "Former Players: Frei booed by his own fans". Stade Rennais Online. 18 October 2010. Retrieved 7 October 2017.
  22. ^ "Swiss pair Frei and Strellar announce retirements". BBC News. 5 April 2011. Retrieved 5 April 2011.
  23. ^ FC Basel 1893 (19 March 2013). "Alex Frei wird ab Mitte April 2013 Sportdirektor beim FC Luzern" (in German). FC Basel 1893. Retrieved 15 June 2013.[permanent dead link]
  24. ^ "Alex Frei wechselt am 15. April zum FC Luzern" (in German). FC Luzern. 19 March 2013. Retrieved 15 June 2013.
  25. ^ "Fabian Frei & Alexander Frei both scored for Basel tonight but are unrelated – are any players in this season's Champions League that are related?". 14 September 2011. Retrieved 15 June 2013.
  26. ^ "Swiss striker Frei has a nose for goal". CBC News. 13 May 2010. Retrieved 29 April 2012.
  27. ^ "Glückwünsche für Nina und Alex Frei: Töchterchen Lia ist da!" (in German). FC Basel. 26 June 2012. Retrieved 2 November 2012.[permanent dead link]
  28. ^ a b "Player of the year » Switzerland". World Football. Retrieved 28 July 2019.
  29. ^ "Swiss skipper Frei nets football award". Swiss Info. 30 May 2007. Retrieved 29 July 2019.
  30. ^ "2010/11 / Letzte Jahre Home - Swiss Golden Player Award" (in German). Archived from the original on 3 May 2013. Retrieved 15 June 2013.
  31. ^ "Best Forward 2012" (in German). Archived from the original on 3 May 2013. Retrieved 15 June 2013.

External linksEdit

Sporting positions
Preceded by
Johann Vogel
Switzerland captain
Succeeded by
Gökhan Inler