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Veterans demonstrating their class in the Turkish Super Lig

Turkey fans cheer for their national team during the 2016 FIBA Olympic men's qualifying basketball tournament match between Turkey and Senegal in Manila on July 7, 2016. / AFP / TED ALJIBE (Photo credit should read TED ALJIBE/AFP/Getty Images)

Veterans demonstrating their class in the Turkish Super Lig

Cast aside by their former clubs or considered to be past their best, there are several veteran players who are shining brightly in the Turkish Super Lig right now, proving they are still capable of delivering quality performances at the highest level. For these guys age or faded fortunes appears to be a thing of the past, as they revel in their newfound levels of peak performance and success.

Interestingly, all four players in our focus are representing two Turkish clubs, with Trabzonspor and Fenerbahçe both considered to be title contenders. Before backing their potential for success, don’t forget to check reviews for the best football betting sites, based upon competitive odds and value, alongside great records for safety and security. 

Reputation and history are key factors to consider with any online bookmaker, which is also what sets apart the ageing talents we’ll focus on, as we evaluate their quality performances early in the 2021-22 Super Lig campaign. 

Anthony Nwakaeme – Trabzonspor

While he certainly isn’t a new face in the Turkish Super Lig, the 2021-22 season for Anthony Nwakaeme has opened with an explosion of stellar performances with Trabzonspor. Since arriving from the Israeli Premier League in 2018, the Nigerian winger has occasionally provided glimpses of his true potential, albeit without the level of consistency he would have hoped to achieve.

Now the 32-year-old appears to be on fire, contributing 4 goals and 2 assists in just 5 appearances this term with Trabzonspor, realising some of the best and most consistent form of his career. Match ratings for Anthony Nwakaeme are the highest of any Super Lig player, according to WhoScored statistics, which means we could be witnessing the best ever season.

Marek Hamsik – Trabzonspor

For almost 12 seasons in Italy with Napoli, the exceptional talent of Marek Hamsik made him one of the most highly rated players in Europe, before he decided to join Dalian in the Chinese Super League. The Slovakia international almost became a forgotten figure in the football world, before making a surprise return to the European scene with Swedish side IFK Göteborg in March 2021, even if that stay would only be temporary.

Early this summer, Trabzonspor were delighted to announce the arrival of Hamsik, who penned a two-year deal with the Turkish club. Now the 34-year-old midfielder is eager to repay their confidence in his abilities. Far from seeming like a player in the twilight years of his career, Hamsik has been in excellent form with his new club, contributing 1 goal and 2 assists in 5 games, showing everyone he remains an exceptionally talented player.

Luiz Gustavo – Fenerbahçe

When versatile journeyman Luiz Gustavo arrived at Fenerbahçe, midway through the 2019-20 season, many believed the Turkish club were taking a gamble. He had performed steadily in the Bundesliga with Hoffenheim, Bayern Munich and Wolfburg, before falling out of favour in his third season at French side Marseille. That said, Gustavo certainly provided his new club with valuable options, able to operate comfortably in defence or midfield.

Operating primarily as a central midfielder, 34-year-old Gustavo has performed with admirable consistency, one of just two players who have featured in every minute for Fenerbahçe thus far. The 2021-22 campaign could be one of the best in his extensive career, as the tireless Brazilian aims to help his club win silverware.

Mesut Özil – Fenerbahçe

Very much maligned towards the end of his time with Arsenal, it’s fair to say many believed the career of Mesut Özil was pretty much finished, before Fenerbahçe handed the Turkish-German playmaker a valuable opportunity to reboot his career. The London club had terminated his contract six months prematurely January 2021, such was their lack of confidence in his fitness levels.

Fenerbahçe had unsuccessfully tried to sign Özil for years, while the player himself admitted to having been a boyhood fan of the club, therefore his arrival was a match made in heaven. Unfortunately, injuries and illness prevented him from playing regularly last season. So far this season in 2 starts and 2 appearances from the bench, Özil has shown he remains full of desire to prove his worth, contributing 1 goal and 1 assist so far, heading towards his 33rd birthday in October. This could turn out to be a thrilling season for the player and his club.

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