The Best Turkish Footballers Of All Time
Turkey as a country is known for its football prowess, so narrowing down the best Turkish footballers of all time is no mean feat. There are so many talented players to choose from, both playing for Turkish teams and abroad, but this list encompasses most of the best of them. Whether you’re looking for most national team caps, most goals scored, or the most elegant style, we’ve found a player to fit all criteria. So without further ado, these are a handful of the best Turkish footballers of all time.
If you’re all about the numbers, then you can’t argue with Hakan Sükür taking a spot on the list. He retains the title of Turkey’s highest ever goalscorer, having scored no less than 51 goals for the national team, as well as a staggering 249 goals in the Super League. This is twice as many as the next player on the list! Known as Kral by fans, he began his slew of appearances with the national team in 1992 at just twenty years old. During his first games, he proved to everyone why he was a solid choice, with an incredible five goals in his first year.
Kral did a great deal for Turkey in the run-up to multiple European championships. He was on the starting lineup for every single game in 1996 and helped the team make it all the way to the quarter-finals in 2000. The 2002 World Cup was where his abilities really got a chance to shine, as he captained his side flawlessly. Not only that, he added another record to his collection, the fastest goal in World Cup history, scored in just 10.8 seconds. It was in this World Cup that Turkey would finish third place in the playoffs against South Korea, the first time they’d ever made it so far in the competition. His international career lasted fifteen years and saw him achieve lots of firsts for Turkey. A truly influential presence both on and off the pitch, Sükür’s elegant and fearless playing style has never been replicated yet.
Arda Turan has been ranked in several lists of the best 100 players in the world, including one by the Guardian (in which he was the only Turkish player) and one by Spanish sports magazine Don Balon. He has more than 100 caps for the Turkish national team to his name and a long career that truly began in 2005 when he finally started for the Turkish national team, having risen through the Galatasaray youth ranks. He’s had a long career with the club and was handed captaincy just five years later for the 2009/10 season. He made his way through several other European clubs, but in 2020 it was announced that he would be taken on as captain once more on a two-year term. He still plays for the club today.
Galatasaray are scheduled to go head to head with Fenerbahçe on the 10th April, which will be a challenging game for Arda Turan. The Turkish national will be going up against another strong Turkish team, so will be playing against formidable opponents. The teams last met in November of last year, when Galatasaray were beaten 2 -1 by Fenerbahçe. It’s likely that bookmakers will be pinning Fenerbahçe as favourites considering their dominating performance last time. However, with Arda Turan in as good a form as he’s ever been, the game might be a closer match this time. If you’re planning on betting on the event, then the best advice is to search for the most favourable odds. SBO.net has listed the top betting sites in 2022 which all provide competitive odds, as well as welcome bonuses which can help to make the odds look even more attractive. Each site has been reviewed and proven to be secure and safe, as well as easy to use, providing odds for all major footballing events. It might be Arda Turan and Galatasaray’s time to shine next month, though perhaps we’ll have to wait for all to become clear in the betting.
A rundown would not be complete without a mention for the great Tugay Kerimoglu. This player made it to the Galatasaray first team at the age of just 17 and played for the national team just three years later. He was heavily involved in Turkey’s bid of the Euros in both 1996 and 2000, making the starting team for all of his 1996 appearances, and seeing plenty of the pitch in 2000 too. As well as the national team and Galatasaray he played in many different leagues and was one of the best players in the Premier League at the time when he played for Blackburn during the latter part of his career. He appeared in more than thirty Premier League games and at the age of 37 played his final cap for the Turkish international team. It’s so unusual for a player to play this late into their 30s and is a testament to Kerimoglu’s willpower and determination that he kept this level of fitness for so long.