Turan makes U-turn af­ter quit­ting Turkey team

New Straits Times - - Sport -

ISTANBUL:Turkey and Barcelona mid­fielder Arda Turan yes­ter­day said he was ready to re­turn to na­tional team duty, two months af­ter an­nounc­ing his re­tire­ment from in­ter­na­tional foot­ball fol­low­ing a bust-up with for­mer coach Fatih Terim.

Turan, Turkey’s cap­tain and stand­out player of the last decade, had in June been thrown out of a train­ing camp by Terim fol­low­ing a fra­cas with a re­porter on a plane.

But the sit­u­a­tion changed af­ter Terim this month stepped down, also in the wake of fisticuffs – in this case at a Turk­ish ke­bab restau­rant.

He was re­placed by vet­eran Ro­ma­nian coach Mircea Lucescu who im­me­di­ately opened talks with Turan in the hope of ac­quir­ing his ser­vices for Turkey’s re­main­ing four World Cup qual­i­fiers.

“From now on, I want it to be known that I would feel hon­oured to have the na­tional jersey on my back when the coach thinks it ap­pro­pri­ate,” Turan wrote on his In­sta­gram ac­count by a picture of the Turk­ish num­ber 10 shirt.

“I want to be by the side of my team­mates in these dif­fi­cult four games that re­main,” added the 30-year-old.

He praised the sup­port of Turk­ish Foot­ball Fed­er­a­tion (TFF) pres­i­dent Yildirim Demiroren and Lucescu which led him to re­con­sider his de­ci­sion.

Turan joined Barcelona in 2015 af­ter four suc­cess­ful sea­sons with Atletico Madrid. Although he has strug­gled to earn a reg­u­lar first team berth, his per­for­mances are fol­lowed with in­tense in­ter­est in Turkey.

Af­ter his move to Barca, the au­thor­i­ties in the gritty Istanbul district of Bayra­m­pasa an­nounced that they had named the street where he grew up “Arda Turan Street” in his hon­our.

Turan has also made no se­cret of his sup­port for Pres­i­dent Re­cep Tayyip Er­do­gan, at­tend­ing ral­lies to back “my com­man­derin-chief ” in the wake of the failed coup bid last year.

Turkey face a nail-bit­ing strug­gle to qual­ify for Rus­sia 2018, cur­rently in third place in their qual­i­fy­ing group, two points be­hind Croa­tia and Ice­land.

They have four more matches, start­ing with an away clash against Ukraine, who they lead on goal dif­fer­ence, on Septem­ber 2. AFP

AFP PIC

Ney­mar (ball in hand) with team­mates dur­ing a train­ing ses­sion at the Camp des Lo­ges in Saint-Ger­main-en-Laye yes­ter­day.

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