A Long Way To Glory

Biography

Johan Djourou has played for two of the biggest clubs in European football, Arsenal and Hamburger SV. As a tall, athletic defender, Johan has starred for Switzerland’s national team in the European Championships and FIFA World Cup. He has played at the heights many players only dream about, but when Johan was a little boy, those feats and accomplishments seemed far away.

A Life Changing Move

Like many football players, Johan came from a humble background. Born on 18 January 1987 in the Ivory Coast, many would like to believe Johan showed a keen ability for football the moment he was born. However, it wouldn’t be for some time that football would become a major part of Johan’s life; and before the sport took over every waking hour of Johan’s day, he experienced a life changing move.

At just 17 months old, Johan was adopted by his father’s first wife Daniele. A Switzerland national, Daniele and Johan moved to Geneva when he was just a baby. The move offered Johan far more opportunities with education and sport, which would later pay off when he represented Switzerland’s under-16 national side.

“He has played at the heights many players only dream about, but when Johan was a little boy, those feats and accomplishments seemed far away.”

Youth

Johan’s youth was much like any other Swiss child. School, football and an assorted amount of innocent trouble that all kids get up to occupied his life. At the age of five, Johan got his big football break. Spotted by local club Etoile Carouge, he joined the second division side’s youth team. After excelling in the team’s youth ranks, Johan was integrated into the senior side at just 15-years old.

During his teens, Johan also played football at the Payerne Training Centre. The combination of playing at Etoile Carouge on the weekends and at Payerne throughout the week helped Johan improve rapidly, and his reputation as a solid defensive football player made its way around Europe to a number of large clubs.

“The combination of playing at Etoile Carouge on the weekends and at Payerne throughout the week helped Johan improve rapidly, and his reputation as a solid defensive football player made its way around Europe to a number of large clubs.”

A Colourful Career

LONDON

United Kingdom

Shortly thereafter, Johan was signed by Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal. Always a keen eye for talent, Wenger spotted the young Swiss player and signed him to the club’s youth academy in August 2003.

After a year of playing in Arsenal’s academy, Johan made his professional debut in 2004 at the tender age of 17. During his career in North London, there were many ups and downs for Johan as he represented the club more than 140 times.

Hamburg

Germany

While signed to the Gunners, Johan would spend three spells on loan at three different clubs: Birmingham City, Hannover 96 and Hamburger SV. It was the third team he spent time with on loan that would become his permanent home in 2014.

Like his time at Arsenal, Johan had many ups and downs with Hamburg. The club fought relegation in the 2014-15 campaign, but in the two years that followed, Johan’s presence helped stabilize the club and enabled them to achieve better final league positions. The 2015-16 season saw Johan given the captain’s armband.

While signed to the Gunners, Johan would spend three spells on loan at three different clubs: Birmingham City, Hannover 96 and Hamburger SV. It was the third team he spent time with on loan that would become his permanent home in 2014.

Like his time at Arsenal, Johan had many ups and downs with Hamburg. The club fought relegation in the 2014-15 campaign, but in the two years that followed, Johan’s presence helped stabilize the club and enabled them to achieve better final league positions. The 2015-16 season saw Johan given the captain’s armband.

Hamburg

Germany

Future

However, after three seasons with Hamburger SV, Johan left the club in the summer of 2017. After three difficult, yet successful campaigns with the German side, Johan sought a new challenge. Perhaps a return to England could be on the cards for the Swiss international or a move further afield. Regardless of where he ends up, it will be another great chapter in Johan’s colourful football career. From the Ivory Coast to Switzerland, England to Germany, the options are limitless in the future of Johan Djourou.

Off the pitch, Johan has been with his partner Emilie for some time. The two have three daughters.

Regardless of where he ends up, it will be another great chapter in Johan’s colourful football career. From the Ivory Coast to Switzerland, England to Germany, the options are limitless in the future of Johan Djourou.”