Turan dreams big in Barcelona
ISTANBUL / BARCELONA
CİHAN photoArda Turan, the Turkish star who is set to go to Barcelona July 9 following an up to 41 million-euro contract, sets high goals at the Catalan giant, filling the last gap in his career sheet: a Champions League title.
“I want it a lot,” he told Catalan paper Sport in a debut interview after the contract. “I really want to win it, it’s the only title I’ve not got and I want it included in my honors.”
It’s not a far-fetched dream for the 28-year-old striker with first class passing and finishing talent. However, this was probably more than he could wish for when he started playing football in the mostly-poor Bayrampaşa district of Istanbul.
“Everyone in the world comes from somewhere; I’ve come from a small part of Turkey to play for the best team in the world. To be able to play for Barca is a dream. All players want to play at Camp Nou, the best stadium I’ve ever stepped out on,” Sport quoted him as saying.
Turan, who won Turkish league and cup titles with Galatasaray and La Liga, Copa del Rey Supercopa de España, UEFA Europa League and UEFA Super Cup titles with Atletico Madrid, has assertive goals for once-rival Barcelona, where he will miss games in 2015 due to a UEFA-imposed transfer ban on the Catalan team.
“To not play for all that time is a problem, but I’m not coming to play for six months, but to win titles over five years,” he said.
Old rival sets eye on loan deal
But such a disruption has whet the appetite of former rivals as well.
Fenerbahçe, the archrival of Galatasaray where Turan was brought up, has placed an official bid to hire the forward until January next year, daily Hürriyet reported.
On July 8, İlhan Ekşioğlu, a Fenerbahçe senior executive, said in a tweet that a former offer by club president Aziz Yıldırım was still valid, as Turan would miss games.
However, it is not that likely for Turan, once a ball boy at Galatasaray, to wear the blue and yellow jersey, as he had already rejected an offer from Yıldırım. He rather seems to be more interested in a good start at Barcelona.
“It does not matter where I play. I want to adapt to the team, to get to know my teammates and to win titles. I will play wherever I am put,” he said.
Turan joined Galatasaray in 2000 when he was 13, before being promoted to the first team in the 2004-05 season. Although he had only two appearances in his first season, Turan won his first professional title, the Turkish Cup. However, he was sent to Manisaspor, a team in western Turkey, on loan.
He made his debut for the Turkish national team in August 2006. Turan played for Turkey for the first time against Luxembourg in a friendly match that Turkey won 1-0.
In the 2006-07 season, Turan became one of Galatasaray’s most essential players. He claimed his first Super League title in 2008. In the beginning of the 2009-10 season, Turan was the captain of the team at the age of 22. That season, he scored 11 goals and had 26 assists in 47 matches.
After the 2010-11 season, when Galatasaray finished a lowly eighth, he left Istanbul. The then 24-year-old had scored 44 goals and 76 assists in 190 matches for Galatasaray. Spanish club Atletico Madrid scooped him up for 12 million euros ($13.1 million) in August 2011.
In his first season in Atletico Madrid, Turan won the Europa League and the UEFA Super Cup. In 2013, the Turkish star witnessed his club’s first Copa del Rey (Spanish King’s Cup) title win in 17 years.
Atletico’s number 10 played an important role for his team’s league title victory in the 2013-14 season. That same season, Atletico Madrid qualified for the Champions League final for the first time in 40 years.
Turan scored 22 goals and had 32 assists in 177 matches in his four-year spell at Atletico Madrid.
Barcelona made the signing, the most expensive for a Turkish player ever, despite currently being without a permanent president or executive board members, who resigned under club bylaws before elections on July 18.
A caretaker board closed the transfer worth 34 million euros - plus a possible 7 million more - but it said the incoming board must ratify the deal. If not, the deal includes a clause which gives the new board until July 20 to sell Turan back to Atletico.
Barcelona will keep more than 60 million euros ($65 million) of talent on the sidelines for six months having signed Turan and Vidal from Sevilla for 18 million euros last month, knowing that they cannot play until next year.
More big money deals could follow, AFP reported.