Tranquillo Barnetta was born on May 22, 1985 in St. Gallen, Switzerland to Italian parents. As a result, he holds both Italian and Swiss citizenship
As a child, Barnetta played with his local team, St. Gallen, rising through their system until turned 19 and signed with Bayer Leverkusen in 2004.
Though he joined Leverkusen in 2004, he was immediately sent out on loan for the year to fellow Bundesliga side Hannover 96, appearing seven times in league play and scoring two goals, including his first Bundesliga goal against Hansa Rostock on Oct. 2, 2004.
2004 was also the first time he was called up to the senior squad for the Swiss national team having previously played for the youth teams, including being part of the U-17 team that won the 2002 U-17 European Championships.
After his loan spell with Hannover ended, Barnetta returned to Bayer Leverkusen in 2005 and proceeded to make 31 appearances in the league while scoring six goals in 24 starts. He also appeared in seven World Cup qualifiers for Switzerland.
In 2006, Barnetta scored his first international goal on March 1, against Scotland in a 3-1 win. He also started and played the full 90 minutes in all four games for the Swiss at the 2006 World Cup, scoring in the group stages against Togo.
He made 30 league appearances that year, starting in 26 while scoring one goal and notching two assists. He was also involved in Leverkusen’s Europa League run, appearing in nine games, starting in seven of them.
Barnetta had one of his best years as a Swiss international in 2007, scoring three goals, including a brace against the Netherlands on Aug. 22, 2007. He also appeared in 32 games with Bayer Leverkusen, tallying up six goals and four assists in league play in addition to appearing in the Europa League for the team.
In 2008, he appeared in all three European Championship games for Switzerland before their exit after group stages. Barnetta also played in four World Cup qualifiers that year. In league play, Barnetta was capped 31 times with 27 starts, scoring four goals and logging six assists. He was also used in Leverkusen’s German Cup run, appearing in five games and notching two assists.
2009 marked Barnetta’s best statistical year as a professional. He appeared in four World Cup qualifiers for Switzerland, starting all four games. He was involved in 32 Bundesliga games, starting 31 while putting up four goals and ten assists. He also appeared in two German Cup games.
The following year, Barnetta was capped in all three 2010 World Cup games for Switzerland, starting in two of them, including their 1-0 win over future champions Spain. He also appeared in two European qualifiers for his country.
In the Bundesliga, Barnetta appeared 24 times with 19 starts, scoring two goals and logging two assists. He also appeared in four Europa League games and one German Cup game.
In 2011, he only appeared in one European qualifying game, scoring a brace against England. For Leverkusen, Barnetta was capped just seven times with four of those being substitute appearances. He had two assists that season. After his contract with Leverkusen expired following the 2011/2012 season, Barnetta joined FC Schalke 04 on a free transfer.
In 2012, he appeared in three World Cup qualifiers for Switzerland, scoring against Iceland on Oct. 16, 2012. Barnetta went on to appear in 21 games for Schalke, 19 of those appearances being utilized as a substitute. He also appeared in seven Champions League games and three German Cup games. This was Barnetta’s first experience with the Champions League despite his long career in the Bundesliga.
After his first season with Schalke, Barnetta appeared in three World Cup qualifiers and five other friendlies for Switzerland but he only appeared once for Schalke in the Bundesliga in 2013 before being sent on a season long loan to Eintracht Frankfurt, where he made 22 league appearances with 20 starts. He had a goal and two assists on the season.He also appeared in seven Europa League games for Frankfurt, with six starts and four assists.
In 2014, Barnetta was included on the Swiss team’s World Cup roster but failed to make an appearance. He went on to appear in the Bundesliga 22 times with Schalke, starting 10 games and finishing the season with three goals and four assists including one three assist performance against VfB Stuttgart on Dec. 6, 2014.
Barnetta also appeared in four Champions League games, including starting the in the team’s 4-3 win against Real Madrid in which Barnetta was credited with one assist on the team’s first goal.
His contract with Schalke expired following the 2014/2015, allowing the Union to swoop in and sign him on a free transfer.
Contact Union writer Kyle Basedow at email@example.com.