Fener to begin life after Alex with Europa match

Fener to begin life after Alex with Europa match

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Fener to begin life after Alex with Europa match

Dutch forward Dirk Kuyt is likely to be the first option in Fenerbahçe’s attacking plays after Alex de Souza, has left the club in controversial circumstances. AA photo

Fenerbahçe will meet Borussia Mönchengladbach in its first game after parting ways with one of the most prolific players in its history. The Yellow Canaries visit the German side in their second game of the Europa League groups tonight, but the talk will be about whether they can survive the loss of Alex de Souza or not.

Earlier this week, the Brazilian superstar announced that he had asked that his contract be annulled, after a club ban to leave him out of the squad. Instead of training with the reserves to see out his contract, the Brazilian chose to bring his eight-year spell with Fenerbahçe to an end.

Coach Aykut Kocaman, who has been saying that he was planning to limit the 34-year-old’s playing time this year, will have to fast-track his plans. Kocaman still has a quality squad at Fenerbahçe, but the star-studded line-up has yet to deliver so far.

The Yellow Canaries signed Dutchman Dirk Kuyt and Portuguese Raul Meireles, two former Liverpool players, in the transfer window, in addition to Serbian winger Milos Krasic, formerly of Juventus and CSKA Moscow. Fenerbahçe also signed Turkish internationals Mehmet Topal, Hasan Ali Kaldırım and Egemen Korkmaz in the summer.

Kocaman also has Brazilian midfielder Cristian Baroni, Senegalese forward Moussa Sow and Turkish national team members Mehmet Topuz, Gökhan Gönül and goalkeeper Volkan Demirel at his service.

Poor start

However, Fenerbahçe was yet to live up to its strong squad this season, with the team winning just two of its six league games so far. Fenerbahçe has collected nine points of a possible 18 in the first six weeks of the Spor Toto Super League season, and is sitting four points behind defending champion Galatasaray.

The start of the team’s European campaign was set to be more promising as well, but a late slump against Marseille ruined Fenerbahçe’s day.

Fenerbahçe gave away a two-goal lead against the French side two weeks ago, allowing two goals in the last 10 minutes to settle for a 2-2 draw. One of the breaking points in the Aykut vs. Alex controversy came on that day, with the coach substituting the Brazilian star in the 67th minute. Fenerbahçe’s performance visibly decreased after Alex, who had scored one of its two goals, was subbed and fans chanted against Kocaman for the first time. That goal went down as the last of Alex’s 172 goals in 340 games in the Fenerbahçe jersey since 2004.

The saga is likely to continue, with Alex making a statement and promising a tell-all press conference.
“After [the 2-0 defeat at] Kasımpaşa [on Sept. 29], Coach Aykut Kocaman told me he had left me out of the squad,” Alex said in a statement on his website on Oct. 2. “He told me he was the leader of the team and I was too powerful.”

However, Alex’s statements were firmly denied by Kocaman.

Alex will hold a press conference on Oct. 8, before leaving for Brazil.