Nuri Şahin staying at Real Madrid

Nuri Şahin staying at Real Madrid

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Nuri Şahin staying at Real Madrid

(L-R) Turkey coach Abdullah Avcı, attacker Arda Turan, forward Burak Yılmaz and midfielder Nuri Şahin attend a press conference in Istanbul prior to the national football team’s European tour of friendly matches. AA photo

Turkish midfielder Nuri Şahin dismissed claims yesterday that he would leave Real Madrid during the summer transfer window.

Nuri spent a disappointing first season at the Santiago Bernabeu and was voted the most disappointing signing of the La Liga season by Spanish Marca Magazine.

However, he dismissed claims linking him to a Turkish club or a return to his boyhood club, Borussia Dortmund.

“I am playing at the biggest football club in the world. There is no higher level than this in football. I am living my dream now. I don’t think about leaving here,” Nuri told reporters during a press conference in Istanbul. “I know that the media says I had a disappointing year, but that goes on to show that there were great expectations from me.”

The 23-year-old midfielder was voted the player of the year at Dortmund during the 2010-2011 Bundesliga campaign, but his first season at Real was marred by injuries.

“If I have a healthy season, I can top other lists,” he said.

Nuri’s remarks came at a press conference prior to the Turkish national football team’s European tour for friendlies. The games will be the first serious tests for the changing squad under new coach Abdullah Avcı’s direction. Avcı replaced Guus Hiddink as head coach later last year after the Dutchman failed to lead the country to the 2012 European Football Championship.

Turkey will meet Georgia on May 24, Finland on May 26 and Bulgaria on May 29 in three games in Austria. Turkey will then fly to Lisbon to take on Portugal on June 2. The final exhibition game will be a game against Euro 2012 co-host Ukraine in Ingolstadt, Germany.

Avcı said they tried to pick teams closer to the playing styles of Turkey’s opponents in the 2014 World Cup qualifiers.

Turkey will meet the Netherlands, Romania, Hungary, Estonia and Andorra in the Group D of the qualifiers.
“We will play teams that bear likeness to our opponents on the road to the World Cup,” Avcı said. “I believe in our national team pool and I firmly believe that we will be at the next World Cup.”

Forward Burak Yılmaz, who finished the Spor Toto Super League season as the top goal scorer, said the European tour would be important for the team.

“For us, playing for the national team is always a special event,” Yılmaz said. “But this time [in the European tour], it will not be about the scores, but about being a team.”