||This biographical article needs additional citations for verification. (September 2010)|
Rüştü Reçber (left)
|Full name||Rüştü Reçber|
|Date of birth||10 May 1973|
|Place of birth||Antalya, Turkey|
|Height||1.87 m (6 ft 1 1⁄2 in)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 26 May 2012.
† Appearances (Goals).
He has played a key role in the success of the Turkish national squad, and it was at the 2002 FIFA World Cup, where Turkey finished third, that his performances saw him selected for the tournament's all-star team. He is Turkey's record appearance holder, having earned 120 caps. He made his debut against Iceland in 1994 and his final appearance came against Finland in 2012.
Rüştü was named the best goalkeeper in European competitions in 2002, selected for the 2002 UEFA Team of the Year by public vote. In 2004, he was selected to FIFA 100 by Pelé as one of the 125 best living footballers in the world. Rüştü retired from international level after UEFA Euro 2008 with 120 international caps to his name but was called to play against Spain on 28 March 2009 and 1 April and played a final 'farewell' match against Finland in May 2012.
Rise to fame
Rüştü was first discovered by goalkeeper coach Ilie Datcu and was later introduced to Fatih Terim. Terim was impressed by Rüştü and told the goalkeeper he would someday become Turkey's greatest ever goalkeeper, even though he was the 3rd choice goalkeeper of his club. Terim recommended Rüştü to the big three clubs of Istanbul: Galatasaray, Fenerbahçe, and Beşiktaş. In 1993, Rüştü signed a contract with Beşiktaş. However, shortly afterwards, he got into a car crash in which he was injured and, consequently, he failed to pass the medical. The transfer was canceled.
At the beginning of the 1993–94 season, he signed a contract with Fenerbahçe. Rüştü was loaned back to Antalyaspor for the season. During the 1994–95 season, the first choice goalkeeper Engin İpekoğlu of Fenerbahçe and the Turkish national team got injured and Rüştü was handed the opportunity to prove himself, rising to the occasion. For the next nine seasons, his spots both in Fenerbahçe and the national team were uncontested. Rüştü won four Süper Lig titles during his tenure at Fenerbahçe and was considered one of the best goalkeeper that Fenerbahçe ever had.
After spending nine seasons with Turkish football team Fenerbahçe, Rüştü was available on free transfer. Offers came from AC Milan, Barcelona, Internazionale, Valencia, Manchester United, Arsenal, Juventus, and Liverpool. Rüştü was very close to signing for Arsenal, but he had a dispute with manager Arsène Wenger and the transfer was cancelled; instead, he was transferred to La Liga giants Barcelona. Rüştü had a successful pre-season with Barcelona in his first season, until injury hit him. The opening match day of La Liga arrived, and Rüştü made his full recovery a day beforehand. Manager Frank Rijkaard chose to play Víctor Valdés because Rüştü's Spanish was still very weak. Rüştü was upset by this, saying "It is not normal for a goalkeeper of my history and caliber to be left out because I don't speak Spanish." Everything went downhill from there, and after a short, uneventful spell with Barcelona, he returned to Fenerbahçe, initially on loan.
After winning the league title for a third time with Fenerbahçe in 2006–07, Rüştü had a dispute with the club concerning his future role in the team. Volkan Demirel became the first choice for Fenerbahçe and now Rüştü was the second choice. Beşiktaş saw this opportunity to sign Rüştü, who was a free agent at the time. After the transfer, Fenerbahçe fans were enraged by his decision to move to a rival team. Despite the persistence of injuries, Rüştü was able to play a major role in helping the club win the Süper Lig in 2008–09 and has provided some memorable performances for Beşiktaş, most notably against Manchester United in a Champions League group game at Old Trafford on 25 November 2009 where he produced a number of world-class saves to secure a famous 1–0 win. The result was especially sweet for Rüştü, who conceded six goals on his last visit to Old Trafford with Fenerbahçe.
Rüştü's most recent success came in the 2010–11 Turkish Cup where he played all 120 minutes, including penalties, as the club won the tournament.
FIFA World Cup 2002
Turkey finished third in the 2002 FIFA World Cup, with Rüştü one of the impressing players making his way into the "Team of the Tournament". The tournament had enhanced his reputation and Rüştü caught the attention of the big European clubs. However, Rüştü had made a promise to the Fenerbahçe fans before the World Cup that he would see out his contract, which ended after the 2002–03 season.
With Turkey's first choice goalkeeper Volkan Demirel suspended, Rüştü started their quarter-final match against Croatia. He was the captain of the team for the final handful of minutes due to substitution of injured Nihat Kahveci. A questionable foray from his goalmouth allowed Croatia to score the match's first goal with a minute remaining in extra time. Rüştü immediately made amends for his mistake though, assisting on Semih Şentürk's injury time goal in the 122nd minute. In the ensuing penalty shootout, he faced four kicks, saving the last one to secure Turkey's victory in the shootout and enabling Turkey to progress to the Euro semi-finals for the first time ever. In the aftermath of the semi-final game with Germany, he announced his retirement from the national team. However, he was since called up against Spain for a 2010 FIFA World Cup qualifying match. He was called up for the last time for Turkey in a game against Finland on 26 May 2012. This was the last game he played for Turkey, which he served successfully for 18 years.
- UEFA Euro 2000: Quarter-Finalist
- FIFA World Cup 2002: Third-Place
- UEFA European Championship: Semi-finals (1): 2008
- FIFA World Cup All Star Team: 2002
- UEFA Team of the Year: 2002
- IFFHS World's Best Goalkeeper of the Year 2002: Third
- IFFHS Best Goalkeeper of the 21st Century: 23rd
- FIFA 100
- Mamrud, Roberto (6 April 2011). "Turkey – Record International Players". Rec.Sport.Soccer Statistics Foundation. Retrieved 20 December 2011.
- Mamrud, Roberto (29 October 2009). "Reçber Rüstü – Century of International Appearances". Rec.Sport.Soccer Statistics Foundation. Retrieved 20 December 2011.
- "UEFA Team of the year 2002". .uefa.com. Retrieved 2012-06-29.
- "Germany vs. Turkey coverage: Penalty hero’s dark past – News" (in (German)). Bild.de. 25 June 2008. Retrieved 2012-06-29.
- Wallace, Sam (15 April 2003). "Wenger leads head-to-head race with Ferguson for Rustu". The Daily Telegraph.
- "30. Bradley Howard Friedel – Kalecinin kralları – Sporx Galeri". Live.sporx.com. Retrieved 2012-06-29.
- (Turkish) Rusturecber.net Official Web Site (page is under construction)
- (English) FootballDatabase provides Rüştü Reçber's profile and stats
- (English) Rustu Fan Club