The curtain came down on the career of a true Switzerland and Basel legend on Sunday, as Alexander Frei gave the 33,000 + fans at St Jakob-Park a fitting curtain call. Fresh from playing his part in FCB’s progression to their first ever major European semi-final against Tottenham on Thursday, the 33-year-old played his final match for the club on Sunday afternoon in their 3-1 triumph over rivals Zurich, and it could scarcely have been more memorable.
Prior to kick off, Frei was presented with flowers, as well as a montage of his most famous moments for club and country on the big screens and a guard of honour on the pitch, but he gave the fans one more moment to savour just before the hour mark: with his side trailing 1-0, Frei won a free kick 25 yards from goal, and bent a stunning curling effort right into the top corner to level the scores. Basel struck two late goals to seal a comeback win and, after Grasshopper were held to a 1-1 draw, opened up a three-point lead at the top of the table.
Frei was taken off just a few minutes after his goal, and pulled off his shirt to reveal another bearing the message “For every fantastic moment, thank you Basel” on the back. His replacement Marco Streller bore No.108 on his own shirt, to mark the number of goals Frei scored in his Basel career.
An emotional Frei told supporters at the ground: “You have a place in my heart … perhaps I also have one in yours.” As the all-time record goalscorer for Switzerland, a winner of seven major trophies and a goal-to-game ratio of almost one in two in over 600 appearances for the likes of Basel, Rennes and Borussia Dortmund, it’s safe to say his legacy will not soon be forgotten.
Goal.com’s Chris Myson said: “It is a shame to be losing a striker who is as prolific as Alexander Frei at what is still the relatively young age of just 33. This week it is great that we can recognise the attacker after he bowed out in style over the final seven days of a playing career which has seen him produce remarkably consistent returns.
“If the victory over Tottenham in the Europa League was a high point for Basel, Sunday’s win over rivals Zurich, which saw the side say farewell to a club icon in fitting style, couldn’t have been far below. To cap off an emotional day, Frei scored a stunning free-kick to set up a stirring comeback for his side – this has been a week he will always remember.”
|Congratulations to Alexander Frei, Goal.com’s 204th World Player of the Week winner!
Sergio Aguero – Man City
@HulkLebronJarad: “Top quality movement to find a yard of space before his goal vs Chelsea.”
Goal.com’s Stephen Darwin: “It’s been a stop-start term for Sergio Aguero but he was back with a bang this week.”
Cristiano Ronaldo – R Madrid
@Emmadrey: “Ronaldo impressed with his two goals for @realmadriden against Galatasaray.”
Goal.com’s Ben Hayward: “He can now be considered as one of modern game’s greatest goalscorers.”
Isaac Success – Nigeria
@ToyinIbitoye: “Highly talented forward who could work in the Super Eagles’ team right now!”
Goal.com’s Lolade Adewuyi: “The No.9 was dominant and tore apart the Ghanaian defence scoring four goals.”
Mauricio Pinilla – Cagliari
@Giuseppex718: “Struck twice in the last 30 minutes to give his a valuable three points”
Goal.com’s Simone Gambino: “Changed the game after coming off the bench, scoring two goals. Outstanding.”