Diego Benaglio is one of the most prominent and talented goalkeepers in the history of Swiss football. He began his career as a teenager with FC Spreitenbach and FC Baden before moving to the renowned Grasshopper Club Zurich in 1999. He was discovered and promoted by Milan Sarovic at the age of 16.
In 2002, Benaglio left Grasshopper Club Zürich and joined VfB Stuttgart in the German Bundesliga. At VfB Stuttgart, he initially held the position of third goalkeeper, behind Timo Hildebrand and Thomas Ernst, and later behind Hildebrand and Dirk Heinen. Under the guidance of goalkeeping coach Eberhard Trautner, he mainly played for the second team in the Regionalliga Süd. As he did not see any long-term prospects for himself in Stuttgart, Benaglio moved to Nacional Funchal in the Portuguese SuperLiga in 2005, where he fought for a regular place for three years.
Benaglio was in goal for VfL Wolfsburg in the Bundesliga between 2008 and 2017. During this time, he won the German championship in 2009, the DFB Cup in 2015 and the German Super Cup in 2016. From 2017 to 2020, he played for AS Monaco before ending his impressive career in the summer of 2020.
Benaglio made his debut for the Swiss national team on 3 June 2006 in the international match against China. During the 2006 World Cup in Germany, he was number three behind Pascal Zuberbühler and Fabio Coltorti. In February 2008, then national team coach Jakob Kuhn announced that Benaglio would be the starting goalkeeper at the 2008 European Championships in Switzerland and Austria. Benaglio played a key role in Switzerland’s historic victory in the first match of the 2010 World Cup against European champions Spain by keeping a clean sheet. This was the Swiss team’s only victory at the tournament.
In the summer of 2012, Benaglio took part in the Olympic football tournament in London as captain and one of three experienced players in the Olympic team, Switzerland’s first participation in 84 years. Despite a draw against Gabon and defeats against South Korea and Mexico, Switzerland was eliminated in the preliminary round. At the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, Benaglio was in the goal in every match and saved a penalty kick from Karim Benzema in the match against France. Switzerland was eliminated by Argentina in the round of 16, with the decisive goal coming in the 118th minute.
Diego Benaglio was elected Swiss Footballer of the Year in 2009 and 2013. On 20 August 2014, Benaglio announced his retirement from the national team.
As previously mentioned, Benaglio retired from active football in the summer of 2020 to focus on his private life. He lives near Zurich with his wife and two daughters. Since April 2020, he has been an ambassador for sportlifeone, an organization that promotes sport and an active lifestyle.
Diego Benaglio’s career is an example of talent, ambition and success in Swiss football. With numerous titles and successes at both national and international level, he has left a lasting impression and secured his place in the history of Swiss football.