Emre Belözoğlu

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Emre Belözoğlu
Emre in national team (11.08.2010).JPG
Emre captaining Turkey in 2010
Personal information
Full name Emre Belözoğlu
Date of birth (1980-09-07) 7 September 1980 (age 34)
Place of birth İstanbul, Turkey
Height 1.70 m (5 ft 7 in)
Playing position Midfielder
Club information
Current team
Fenerbahçe
Number 20
Youth career
1990–1992 Zeytinburnuspor
1992–1996 Galatasaray
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1996–2001 Galatasaray 102 (14)
2001–2005 Internazionale 79 (3)
2005–2008 Newcastle United 58 (5)
2008–2012 Fenerbahçe 103 (12)
2012 Atlético Madrid 7 (0)
2013– Fenerbahçe 35 (10)
National team
1994–1995 Turkey U15 11 (7)
1995–1997 Turkey U16 35 (20)
1996–1997 Turkey U17 7 (2)
1997 Turkey U18 6 (0)
1998–1999 Turkey U21 12 (4)
2000– Turkey 94 (9)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 26 October 2014.

† Appearances (Goals).

‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 9 September 2014

Emre Belözoğlu (Turkish pronunciation: [emˈɾe beˈløzoːɫʊ], born 7 September 1980 in Istanbul) is a Turkish football midfielder who plays for Fenerbahçe. His past clubs include Galatasaray, Inter Milan, Newcastle United and Atlético Madrid.

Emre has been a part of the Turkey national team since 2000, earning over 90 caps and helping the team to the semi-finals at the 2002 World Cup and at Euro 2008. Pelé named him in the FIFA 100, a list of the 125 greatest living footballers as a part of FIFA's centenary celebrations.[1]

Early career[edit]

Emre's inspiration came from his father, Mehmet, who introduced him to football at the Zeytinburnuspor training ground. Emre's mother, Fatma, had seen the problems that her husband had faced through his football career, and thus did not want their son to become a professional football player. His father, however, urged and inspired Emre to embark on a career. The fans of Zeytinburnuspor quickly took an interest in Emre, stating his wonderful control with his left foot. Coach Salih Bulgurlu noticed his talent and started giving him special training. Bulgurlu looked after Emre for four years, teaching him all the basic techniques, improving and harnessing his fitness and stamina dramatically. Emre was quickly discovered by former Galatasaray legend Bülent Ünder, a close friend of Galatasaray manager Fatih Terim. Bülent Ünder pleaded to Bulgurlu that Emre join Galatasaray: "Wait and see. In two years, this teenager will be playing proudly within the battlegrounds of Europe."[2]

Club career[edit]

Early years[edit]

Emre officially became a Galatasaray player. His first appearance for the club's senior squad was as a sixteen-year-old in the 1996–97 season.[3] The following year, he became a regular in the squad. Once he became a regular he won 4 Süper Lig titles, 2 Turkish Cups, 1 UEFA Cup, and 1 UEFA Super Cup all by the age of 21. Emre also played in the quarter-finals of the UEFA Champions League. Emre gained much popularity and fame, and also hate because of his aggressive behaviour.

In 2001, he moved to Internazionale for £5 million.[4] In the 2002–03 season, Emre became the 17th winner of the Pirata d'Oro (Golden Pirate), an annual award given for the Inter player of the year. Inter made it through to the semi-finals of the Champions League that year, and that was as far as Emre would reach with the club. Emre gradually became out of favour at Inter due to persistent injuries, and after making just nineteen appearances during the 2004–05 season, he became available for transfer.[3]

Newcastle United[edit]

Emre during training with Newcastle United

On 19 July 2005, Emre moved to Newcastle United on a five year deal for a £3.8 million transfer fee.[4] He made his debut on 3 August in a 2–1 home defeat to Deportivo La Coruña in the UEFA Intertoto Cup, and 11 days later started in Newcastle's first game of the Premier League season, a defeat to Arsenal. In his fourth game on 23 October, he set up the opening goal with a corner to Shola Ameobi, and later scored the winner with a free kick, in a 3–2 victory over Sunderland in the Tyne-Wear derby.[5] Of 25 games in all competitions in his first season, 20 in the league, he scored just one more goal: a long range shot on 5 November to defeat Birmingham City 1–0.[6]

Injuries limited Emre to only 35 Premier League appearances in his subsequent two seasons at Newcastle, in which he scored three goals. On 17 January 2008, in an FA Cup replay against Stoke City, he was sent off after 29 minutes for retaliating after being fouled by John Eustace.[7]

Fenerbahçe[edit]

In July 2008, Emre was unveiled at the Şükrü Saracoğlu Stadium in a signing ceremony. Fanatical Galatasaray supporters started many "anti-Emre" campaigns for transferring to their rival. However, Emre stated that he had always been a Fenerbahçe fan, which has been confirmed by some of his past team-mates, including Galatasaray legends Hakan Şükür and Hasan Şaş.[8][9] After a disappointing first season, consistent performances in the next saw Emre rewarded with the Süper Lig player of the year for the 2009–10 season. He was effective at both ends of the pitch, his experience and combative style proving a valuable asset in taking his team so close in both league and cup. On 3 November 2010, Emre declared that he hung posters of Fenerbahçe players Aykut Kocaman, Rıdvan Dilmen and Džoni Novak on his walls at home.[10]

Atlético Madrid[edit]

Emre moved to Atlético Madrid, the reigning champion of the Europa League on 29 May 2012. He signed a 2-year contract and was warmly received by compatriot and midfield partner Arda Turan.[11] On 7 July Emre trained with his new teammates before being unveiled by Atlético in a signing ceremony held in the Vicente Calderon stadium. Emre made his Atlético debut on 1 September 2012 in the UEFA Super Cup against Chelsea, coming on as for the last three minutes in place of Radamel Falcao whose hat-trick won the game 4–1 for Atlético.[12]

Return to Fenerbahçe[edit]

Emre returned to Fenerbahçe on 31 January 2013 on a two-and-a-half-year contract worth €2 million per season.[13] His first match was against Sivasspor.

Emre, action for Fenerbahçe

International career[edit]

Since making his international debut against Norway in 2000, Emre has been a regular in the Turkish setup. Injury forced him out of the Euro 2000 but he was part of the Turkish squad that finished in third place at the 2002 FIFA World Cup. Emre played the opening match of UEFA Euro 2008, but an injury sidelined him for the rest of the tournament as Turkey progressed to the semi-finals.

Personal life[edit]

Emre and his long-time fiancée Tuğba Gürevin were married on 2 January 2009. The couple have a son, Ömer Akif, born in the morning of Tuesday 22 March 2011.

Emre at Graz Airport, Austria

Emre is a practising Muslim and has said; "like everyone else (who is Muslim), I'm trying to be as moderate as possible in this holy month. But the job I do is physically very hard, so on the day of a match and for one or two days previous I don't fast".[14]

Controversy[edit]

Post-match brawl in 2005[edit]

After a post-match brawl in a 2006 World Cup qualification playoff match with Switzerland, Emre was banned for Turkey's next six matches and fined CHF 15,000 (£6,622) plus costs of CHF 1,000 (£440) for his alleged part in the brawl. The FIFA Appeal Committee later reduced the ban to four matches.[15]

Transfer[edit]

Emre's transfer from Inter Milan to Newcastle United in July 2005 is one of those about which the Stevens inquiry report in June 2007 expressed concerns.[16]

Racial abuse accusations in England[edit]

On 12 January 2007, Emre was charged by The Football Association with using racially-aggravated abusive and/or insulting words[17] in an incident during a 3–0 loss to Everton on 30 December. Newcastle United were unable to comment until Emre himself replied to the charge.[18] He later stated he was angered by claims that he was racist, citing his friendship with roommate Obafemi Martins as evidence he was not.[19] On 16 February 2007, the FA announced another investigation into alleged racist remarks from Emre, this time aimed against Bolton Wanderers striker El Hadji Diouf. The incident allegedly took place during Bolton's 2–1 win at St James' Park on 15 October 2006. Emre's agent denied the accusation.[20] Diouf subsequently decided not to press charges. However, on 1 March 2007, Emre faced a third racism allegation, when Watford defender Alhassan Bangura claimed he was subject of racist abuse from Emre.[21] On 19 March 2007, the allegations of Emre using racially-aggravated abusive and/or insulting words during the Everton match were found not proven by the FA.[22]

Racial abuse incident with Didier Zokora[edit]

On 15 April 2012, Emre was accused of making racist comments on the pitch towards Trabzonspor's Didier Zokora. Then after the match, Zokora told Lig TV:

Emre and I came face to face during the match. I'll tell you what he said word for word. He called me: 'A fucking !@#$%^&*'. This is the first time in my life something like this has happened to me. Emre has Africans like Yobo and Sow as team-mates – I can't understand why he'd say such a thing. We're trying to get on with our jobs. What does the colour of our skin matter? Fans, FIFA, the press are all against racist statements. I hope something like this doesn't go unpunished.[23]

On 16 April 2012, Emre and his teammate Joseph Yobo gave a speech on the incident. Emre told the reporters at first "The match was intense and we were both cursing a lot, however I could have called him that word; " !@#$%^&*". But at his second speech, one day after the match, Emre said, "I did not call him " !@#$%^&*", I used a similar word "prick". As soon as match ended, we apologized to each other and hugged". Yobo added "I saw with my own eyes them hugging after the match". Emre finished his speech by saying "I am telling the truth, and I want Zokora to do the same, I want him to give a speech of this incident".

Following the incident, Emre has insisted that he is not a racist and has confirmed he himself has been the victim of racial abuse during football matches. Emre received a two-game ban for his actions, after it was concluded that he had used abusive, but not racist, language by the authorities.

On the 17 June 2014, Emre was sentenced to a two-and-a-half-month suspended prison sentence as a result of the slur aimed at Didier Zokora, with the crime constituted as an insult crime. He is the first Turkish footballer to be sentenced for racism. [24]

Career statistics[edit]

Club[edit]

As of 26 October 2014.[25][26]
Club Season League Cup[nb 1] Europe[nb 2] Total
Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Galatasaray 1996–97 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 0
1997–98 23 2 9 0 2 0 34 2
1998–99 27 2 6 2 2 0 35 4
1999–00 24 5 4 0 13 1 41 6
2000–01 27 5 3 5 10 0 40 10
Total 102 14 22 7 27 1 151 22
Internazionale
2001–02 14 0 6 0 20 0
2002–03 25 3 12 1 37 4
2003–04 21 0 6 0 27 0
2004–05 19 0 0 0 6 0 25 0
Total 79 3 0 0 30 1 109 4
Newcastle United
2005–06 20 2 4 0 1 0 25 2
2006–07 24 2 2 0 12 1 38 3
2007–08 14 1 5 0 19 1
Total 58 5 11 0 13 1 82 6
Fenerbahçe
2008–09 25 1 6 0 9 1 40 2
2009–10 25 1 7 0 8 1 40 2
2010–11 27 4 1 0 4 2 32 6
2011–12 26 6 2 0 28 6
Total 103 12 16 0 21 4 140 16
Atlético Madrid
2012–13 7 0 3 0 7 1 17 1
Total 7 0 3 0 7 1 17 1
Fenerbahçe
2012–13 10 2 2 0 12 2
2013–14 20 6 1 0 2 0 23 6
2014–15 5 2 1 0 6 2
Total 35 10 4 0 2 0 41 10
Career Total 384 44 56 7 100 8 540 59

International[edit]

[25][26][27]

Turkey national team
Year Apps Goals
2000 4 1
2001 5 0
2002 13 2
2003 7 0
2004 7 0
2005 7 0
2006 1 0
2007 8 1
2008 7 1
2009 6 1
2010 9 1
2011 6 1
2012 9 1
2013 2 0
2014 3 0
Total 94 9

International goals[edit]

[25][26][27]

Honours[edit]