BY ALESSANDRO SCHIAVONE
Pascal Zuberbuhler has nothing but fond memories of his time at Fulham, despite only playing one game in three seasons as he deputised for Mark Schwarzer.
The former Switzerland goalkeeper, who is a FIFA museum ambassador, made a lot of people sit up and take notice when he did not concede a single goal during the 2006 World Cup as his goal remained unbreached against France, South Korea, Togo and Ukraine.
Zuberbuhler was signed by current Crystal Palace boss Roy Hodgson, who also handed him his debut with the Swiss national team in 1994, after helping his country to a historic 2-0 win over Portugal at Euro 2008.
Although at first he harboured hopes of making the number one goalkeeping position his own, he accepted playing second fiddle to Schwarzer who was “fantastic and a big professional”.
He said: “Roy Hodgson was contacting me during the Euro 2008. He came to me, asked me there what my programs and planning for the future were and if I wanted to come to be Fulham’s number two. He mentioned that he had Mark Schwarzer as his number one.
“And for me it was clear that Mark Schwarzer was a big, big professional goalkeeper who had played more than 10 years in Middlesbrough, experience-wise he is fantastic. I accepted it because my age was 37. I started as a number two, of course I wanted to play but Mark Schwarzer was clearly so good, no need to talk about it.
“And then the second season Roy Hodgson mentioned to me that he’d keep me as a goalkeeper coach and as a number two. I made the warm-up for Mark throughout the season as I was the goalkeeper’s coach but also the number two at the same time.
“At the end of the season, we played in the final of the UEFA Cup in Hamburg against Atletico and lost but I was the goalkeeper coach for Mark Schwarzer and number two, which was fantastic because I could go backwards step by step in this direction. And that was brilliant to have this situation.”
Zuberbuhler hung up his gloves at the end of the 2010-2011 campaign after being omitted from the Cottagers’ Premier League squad, having had to pave the way for David Stockdale and youngster Neil Etheridge.
The six-time Swiss champion revealed that he was on great terms with former Boro stopper Schwarzer.
“With 40 years I stopped my career after Mark Hughes came in as a head coach with his staff and he even let me keep working with Mark Schwarzer.
“Him and I were a team. Mark and I we’re still friends now. It was brilliant, he played his best ever for years with Fulham there. I love Fulham, it was a great time. I hope for them to stay up and my heart is still with them. The club will always be inside my heart.”
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