Fenerbahçe unveils statue of legendary footballer

Fenerbahçe unveils statue of legendary footballer

Fenerbahçe unveils statue of legendary footballer

Turkish football club Fenerbahçe unveiled a tribute on June 29 to one of its football legends. 

In a statement on its website, it said a statue of Can Bartu was revealed at Kadıköy Yoğurtçu Park in Istanbul.

Kadiköy is the club's neighborhood and Yoğurtçu Park is near Fenerbahçe's home ground, Ülker Stadium.

Fenerbahçe President Ali Koç and several of the club's executives along with Bartu's spouse Güler and daughter Gülfer Arig as well as club fans attended the ceremony to pay tribute to the legendary football player.

Koç said at the ceremony that Can Bartu was a special person for the club due to his "exemplary character, nobleness, intelligence and gentlemanly behavior."

He said there have been a few iconic athletes in Turkish sports history, but he is "unique" for Fenerbahçe.

"Fortunately, he was a Fenerbahçe player," Koç added.

Considered one of the greatest talents in Turkish football, Bartu left his mark on the history of Fenerbahçe and Turkey’s national team with his pure skills on the pitch.

Born on Jan. 30, 1936 in Istanbul, he began his sports career as a basketball player for Fenerbahçe’s youth team and picked up five Turkish caps for the senior national team before switching to football.

On the pitch, he built an exceptional career during the 1960s, representing Turkish football abroad and playing for Italian football teams.

He made appearances for Fenerbahçe’s football and basketball teams between 1955 and 1957 and even once played in matches of both branches on the same day.

Before moving to Italy's Fiorentina in 1961, Bartu played for Fenerbahçe’s football team for six years in his first term with the Istanbul club.

He joined Fiorentina and played for two more Italian teams, Venezia and Lazio, having an unusual career for any Turkish footballer outside the country during that time.

Bartu was nicknamed "Signor" (Mister) and became the first Turkish player appearing in a European cup final when Fiorentina played against Atletico Madrid in 1962.

He returned to Turkey in 1967 and played three seasons with Fenerbahçe before ending his career in 1970.

Bartu scored 162 goals in 330 matches for the Yellow Canaries and scored six goals in 26 games for the national team.

Following his retirement, he worked as a sports writer and a football analyst for several television shows.

His outstanding talent was combined with leadership on the pitch, making him a Fenerbahçe legend. In 2009, Fenerbahçe named the club's training complex Fenerbahçe Can Bartu Facilities to pay tribute to him.

European football's governing body UEFA named Can Bartu the 2009 UEFA Cup final ambassador as the final match was played at Fenerbahçe's Ülker Stadium.

Bartu died on April 11, 2019 at the age of 83.