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TURKEY > Sneijder-mania takes over as fans expects Dutchman

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News

The craze for Dutch superstar Wesley Sneijder continues to soar in Turkey, with Galatasaray fans waiting for the player to arrive at the airport in vain following a false sounded by a prominent commentator

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Galatasaray is still waiting for an answer from the Dutch superstar after having an offer accepted by Sneijder’s current club, Inter Milan. AP photo

Galatasaray is still waiting for an answer from the Dutch superstar after having an offer accepted by Sneijder’s current club, Inter Milan. AP photo

Inter’s Wesley Sneijder has yet to respond to Galatasaray’s lucrative transfer offer to him, but the Turkish football agenda continues to be dominated by the Dutch footballer.

Late yesterday, a few dozen Galatasaray fans flocked to Istanbul’s Atatürk Airport after a prominent football broadcaster claimed that Sneijder was on his way to Istanbul.

Rasim Ozan Kütahyalı, a controversial political columnist-turned-football commentator, said on Beyaz TV early yesterday that “Sneijder will arrive in Istanbul at 1:30 p.m.” A group of fans went to the airport, only to find out that the reports were a hoax.

“We have been waiting for Sneijder for one-and-a-half hour, but there is nobody here,” Galatasaray fan İlkay Eren told Doğan News Agency. “I haven’t been able to sleep for a week with the thought of Sneijder coming [to Galatasaray].”

Another fan, Engin Topçu, blamed the Galatasaray board for the ambiguity. “I watched it on television and they said he was coming at 1:30 a.m.,” he said. “Chairman Ünal Aysal should come forward and make an official statement.”

Sentimental reasons

There were also more sentimental reasons to get carried away with the Sneijder craze. “My late son was a fanatic Galatasaray fan,” Hanım Topçu, a 70-year-old waiting at the airport, said. “I came here for him. I hope Sneijder comes.”

Kütahyalı did not make any further statements after making the faulty prediction.

Galatasaray fans have been excited by the prospect of having one of Europe’s best players at their side since club chairman, Ünal Aysal, announced that the club was in talks with Inter to purchase the 28-year old.

Turkish fans have been sending out Twitter messages to not only Sneijder, but also to his actress wife Yolanthe Cabau, brother Rodney Sneijder and mother Sylvia Sneijder since last week.

After the flood of tweets sent to her, Cabau made a statement saying she did not know about her husband’s decision yet.

“Dear followers, please don’t be upset about the whole situation now,” she wrote. “Nobody knows what exactly is happening behind closed doors.”

Last week, Inter Milan President Massimo Moratti confirmed that the Italian club had accepted an 8 million euro offer from Galatasaray.

The Turkish champion, hoping to boost its squad ahead of next month’s Champions League round-of-16 tie against Germany’s Schalke 04, tried to make Sneijder agree to a lucrative salary through an initial payment of 6 million euros, in addition to a 3.2 million euro yearly salary and 25,000 euros per appearance.

However, it is understood that Sneijder is willing to listen to other offers, presumably from top European clubs.

“Wes would want to play for a top team,” Sneijder’s agent, Soren Lerby, told BBC Sport last week in response to rumors that Premier League clubs were also chasing Sneijder. However, there are no concrete offers from England to the player.

January/16/2013

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