Problem kid Emre to team up with Arda at Atletico

Problem kid Emre to team up with Arda at Atletico

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Problem kid Emre to team up with Arda at Atletico

Belezoğlu (R) becomes the second Turkish player at Atletico Madrid after Turan. Hürriyet photo

Turkish football’s problem child, Emre Belözoğlu, is set to team up with his Turkish national teammate Arda Turan at Atletico Madrid, the Spanish club announced yesterday.

The 31-year-old, who has also had stints at Inter Milan, Newcastle and Galatasaray, will sign a two-year deal later this week subject to a medical review, Atletico said on its website (www.clubatleticodemadrid.com).

It will be the team’s second signing of the close season, after the Europa League winners had agreed to a deal with Porto forward Cristian Rodriguez, a Uruguay international.

Emre has everything he needs to triumph at Atletico,” the player’s compatriot and new teammate Arda Turan said, Reuters reported. “He has shown personality in taking the reins at major clubs and his experience can help us a great deal in key games.”

Emre is ending a highly controversial four-year spell at Fenerbahçe. The Turkish national football team player has come under severe criticism after Trabzonspor’s Ivorian midfielder Didier Zokora accused Emre of racially abusing him during the two teams’ Spor Toto Super League game on April 15. Emre was cleared of the racism charges and was hit with only a two-game ban for insulting Zokora, but the Ivory Coast player stood by his claims.

That was not the first time Emre had been the central figure in a race controversy, having previously been investigated in two separate cases of racial abuse before being cleared. Both cases occurred in 2007, when he was playing for Newcastle United. The first one involved a trio of Everton players, Tim Howard, Joleon Lescott and Joseph Yobo, while the second centered on England-based Sierra Leonean midfielder Al Bangura. Emre was also hit with a six-match ban for his involvement in a brawl after a game against Switzerland during the 2006 World Cup playoffs in Istanbul.

Emre also made an obscene gesture toward journalist Mehmet Demirkol while celebrating a goal during Turkey’s European championship qualifying game against Hungary in 2007.

Emre Belözoğlu, Atletico, Atletico Madrid