There are many professions in which the proverbial baton is passed from generation to generation, and football is no exception. And when it comes to sons emulating their fathers' success, the case of the Chapuisat family is as fine an example as any. Pierre-Albert Chapuisat won 34 caps for Switzerland in the late 1970s and early 1980s, but not even he could have dreamed that his son Stephane would go on to become one of the greatest players ever to pull on the Nati colours.
"My father was my idol and it was always my ambition to play for the national team," said Stephane Chapuisat in an exclusive interview with FIFA.com. In fact, the four-time Swiss Player of the Year not only fulfilled that dream, but also claimed UEFA Champions League, German and Swiss league championship and FIFA Club World Cup winners' medals during a distinguished career.
Chapuisat's football journey began in 1987 with Lausanne Sports, where before long he was topping the goalscoring charts and establishing himself as a key part of the Switzerland national side. These exploits saw 'Chappi' snapped up by German outfit Bayer Uerdingen in 1991, where he attracted the attentions of Ottmar Hitzfeld, then-coach of Bundesliga powerhouse Borussia Dortmund.
Under the tutelage of the 'General', Chapuisat won two German championships and, most significantly, the 1997 Champions League. Having notched an impressive 106 goals in 228 Bundesliga appearances with Dortmund, the forward ranks among the most prolific foreign imports in Bundesliga history.
Nonetheless, Chapuisat played down the suggestion that he might be the greatest Swiss footballer of all time: "It's not my place to say, and I can't say it really matters to me. I had a fantastic time in Germany with Dortmund and that's the most important thing." The 39-year-old attacker has many more treasured memories from his time with the Yellow-Blacks, but the goal he scored to fire his team into the semi-finals of the 1997/98 Champions League stands out in particular: "The quarter-final against Bayern Munich was a really special night. It was an all-German affair and I can still remember that goal like it was yesterday."
Upon returning to Switzerland, Chapuisat won his first Swiss league title in 2001 during a three-year spell with Grasshopper Zurich before further stints at Young Boys Bern (2005-05) and Lausanne Sport (2005-6) finally brought his glittering career to a close.
He was also a part of the Switzerland squads that took part at 1994 FIFA World Cup USA™, EURO 1996 and EURO 2004. The latter would prove his final bow on the biggest stage as the striker announced his international retirement having amassed 103 caps and 21 goals.
Chapuisat says the times he looks back on with the most pride are his title-winning days with Borussia Dortmund: "It really is a special feeling to win a title. Nothing is better than celebrating a trophy with your team mates." The former Bundesliga star also boasts an honour that very few footballers around the world can - having his image immortalised on a stamp. "That was a long time ago and I'm not quite sure why it happened," laughed Chapuisat. "I don't have them any more. Footballers are always moving from one city to another so either I've lost them or they're sitting in a box somewhere."
In 2007, two years after his official retirement, Chapuisat was appointed as a FIFA ambassador for SOS Children's Villages: "It's was a great honour to be asked. I've spent time in a village in South Africa and I'm going to try and visit another one this year. I attend any events that take place in the region such as football matches and films - it's all about the kids really, there are loads of different activities organised for them."
Alongside his FIFA duties, Chapuisat still finds time to give something back to the beautiful game: "I coach the attacking players at Young Boys Bern, so I am putting all my experience to good use. I also do some scouting for the club."
Although he enjoys his current role on the training pitch, the Swiss legend categorically ruled out any future plans to become a head coach: "I'm not interested in that," said the former number nine, who also denied any yearning to go back to his playing days: "I play for the veterans team and that's enough for me. I had 20 great years at the top, but now my time is up."