Remember when Arda Turan was Turkey’s young prince at Euro 2008?
Then 21, he seemed to glide through the midfield, pirouetting past players and demonstrating a belting shot in scoring the last minute winner that eliminated the co-hosts Switzerland.
It was a tournament that saw Turkey go all the way to the semi-finals, an achievement that looks all the more impressive given they’ve only made one finals since – Euro 2016 in France, where they exited in the group.
Arda Turan was 21 when he first shot to prominence playing for Turkey at Euro 2008
The young Galastasaray midfielder scored a superb goal that eliminated hosts Switzerland
Turan (left) played a key role as Turkey reached the semi-finals of that summer’s Euros
After all that, it was quite surprising that it took three years for one of Europe’s powerhouses, Atletico Madrid, to buy him from Galatasaray.
Four seasons, a LaLiga title and a Champions League final injury heartbreak later, he signed for Barcelona in a deal worth £30million. Turan’s career trajectory appeared to be heading ever skywards.
It didn’t quite work out that way. Turan has not only faded away on the field, with some considering him one of their worst signings of modern times, but an astonishing moment of madness off the pitch looks set to haunt him forever.
After playing 55 times for Barcelona in his first two seasons there – all that following a false start with Barca banned from registering new players by FIFA – he was sent out on loan to Istanbul Basaksehir in his homeland.
The fact this loan agreement was of two-and-a-half year duration suggested that Turan’s career had peaked pretty much the day he was unveiled at the Nou Camp.
Turan came to prominence at Turkish club Galatasaray before making the move to Spain
He signed for Atletico Madrid in 2011 and was a key member of Diego Simeone’s side
There were hot-headed moments, however, such as a red card against Real Madrid in the Champions League quarter-final, second leg at the Bernabeu in 2015
Turan poses with Atletico Madrid striker Diego Costa in a snap posted to his Instagram account
He made his debut for the Turkish club in January 2018 but in May of the same year he got into serious trouble for shoving a linesman during Basaksehir’s 1-1 draw against Sivasspor.
It seemed the pressure of a tight title race with Galatasaray got the better of Turan, who lost his head and was initially handed a 16-match ban by the Turkish football federation.
This was later reduced to 10 on appeal but it was a serious stain on his reputation nonetheless. This is a player who, after all, had represented his country 100 times and a substantial number as captain.
But that was a small fry…