Benjamin Huggel began his football career at the relatively late age of 21 having previously completed a traineeship as a landscape gardener. In the end, however, the now 32-year-old decided to trade flowers for a professional contract with FC Basel.
He soon became a first team regular at FCB, winning the Swiss national championship three times between 1998 and 2005, as well as making numerous appearances in the UEFA Champions League, before, like so many of his compatriots, moving abroad in 2005.
Huggel signed for Bundesliga outfit Eintracht Frankfurt and spent three seasons in the German financial metropolis, though he was unable to nail down a starting berth and returned to Basel in 2007.
Picking up where he left off in his initial spell at the club, Huggel continued to collect silverware, excelling as the rock at the heart of the FCB midfield as he and his team-mates celebrated a domestic double in 2008.
The combative midfielder made his Switzerland debut in 2003 and went on to appear in all three of his country's matches at UEFA EURO 2004 the following year. He missed out on the 2006 FIFA World Cup™ in Germany through suspension, but was back in the squad for EURO 2008, though he failed to make an appearance.
On 10 October 2009, Huggel scored the 1000th goal in the history of the Swiss national team against Luxembourg. Coach Ottmar Hitzfeld selected the experienced stalwart for eight of Switzerland's ten qualification matches for South Africa 2010 and the giant midfielder will no doubt be one of the first names on the team sheet for the showpiece this June and July.