Merih Demiral

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Merih Demiral
Merih Demiral (cropped).jpg
Demiral with Juventus in 2020
Personal information
Date of birth (1998-03-05) 5 March 1998 (age 23)
Place of birth Karamürsel, Turkey
Height 1.90 m (6 ft 3 in)[1]
Position(s) Centre back
Club information
Current team
Juventus
Number 28
Youth career
2009–2011 Karamürsel Idmanyurduspor
2011–2016 Fenerbahçe
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
2016–2017 Alcanenense 12 (0)
2017–2018 Sporting B 29 (0)
2018–2019 Alanyaspor 16 (1)
2019 Sassuolo 14 (2)
2019– Juventus 20 (1)
National team
2014–2015 Turkey U17 7 (1)
2015 Turkey U18 2 (0)
2015–2016 Turkey U19 10 (1)
2018 Turkey U20 9 (0)
2016–2018 Turkey U21 13 (0)
2018– Turkey 19 (0)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 23:41, 6 March 2021 (UTC)
‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 18 November 2020

Merih Demiral (born 5 March 1998) is a Turkish professional footballer who plays as a defender for Serie A club Juventus and the Turkey national team.

Club career[edit]

Early years[edit]

A product of the Fenerbahçe youth system, Demiral was signed by Portuguese side AC Alcanenense in 2016.[2] In January 2017, he was loaned out to Sporting B, and made his professional debut in the Segunda Liga for the latter club on 5 February 2017 in a 1–1 home draw against Famalicão.[3] At the end of the season, he was signed outright by the club.[4]

On 15 August 2018, he joined Turkish club Alanyaspor on loan.[5] On 29 January 2019, he permanently joined Alanyaspor for €3.5 million.[6] On 30 January 2019, joined Italian Serie A club Sassuolo on loan with an obligation to buy.[7] He made his Serie A and club debut on 24 February, in a 1–1 home draw against S.P.A.L.,[8] and scored his first goals, both for the club and in Serie A – a brace in a 4–0 home win over Chievo –, on 4 April.[9]

Juventus[edit]

On 5 July 2019, Juventus officially announced the transfer of Demiral from Sassuolo, on a five-year contract for €18 million.[10] His salary was reportedly unfolded as 1.3 million per annum.[11] He became the first Turkish player to play for the club.[12] He made his club debut on 21 September, in a 2–1 home win over Verona in Serie A.[13] He subsequently made his Champions League debut on 11 December, in the club's final group match, earning praise in the media for his performance as he helped Juventus keep a clean sheet in a 2–0 away win over Bayer Leverkusen.[14][15] He scored his first goal for the club on 12 January 2020, the opener in a 2–1 away win over Roma, which saw Juventus secure the unofficial title of "Winter Champions;" however, he was later substituted for Matthijs de Ligt after sustaining an anterior cruciate ligament injury. As a result, he was expected to be ruled out for the remainder of the season, including Euro 2020.[16][17][18] He returned to action on 1 August, featuring as a substitute in Juventus's 3–1 home defeat to Roma in Serie A, with Juventus already confirmed as league champions.[19]

International career[edit]

Demiral represented Turkey at junior levels, including Under-17 and Under-19. He made his debut for the senior squad on 20 November 2018 in a friendly against Ukraine, as an 85th-minute substitute for Mert Müldür.[20]

Style of play[edit]

Demiral is usually deployed as a centre-back, in either a three or four-man defence, although he is a versatile player, who is also capable of playing as a right-sided full-back. An aggressive and instinctive defender, his main traits are his physicality, tactical intelligence, tackling, composure, and determination, which allow to excel at reading plays, and also enable him to anticipate or mark his opponents well. A tall and physically strong defender, he is also known for his ability in the air, which enables him to defend opposing crosses and clear the ball away from his own penalty area. Despite his tall stature and imposing physique, he is also a mobile defender, which allows him to make recoveries, win back the ball effectively, or restrict his opponents' movements when defending off the ball. Regarded as a promising young defender in the media, due to his characteristics, he has been compared to Nemanja Vidić, whom Demiral himself has also cited as an inspiration.[8][21][22] Another one of his influences is his Juventus teammate Giorgio Chiellini, to whom he has also been compared. He has also been likened to former Juventus defender Paolo Montero.[23][24]

Controversy[edit]

On 11 October 2019, following Cenk Tosun's goal in a 1–0 home win over Albania in a Euro 2020 qualifier, Demiral was one of the Turkish players who participated in a controversial "military salute" goal celebration.[25][26][27] The same day, he stated his open support for the Turkish offensive into north-eastern Syria on Twitter; while his post was praised by Turkish supporters of the country's President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, it also drew criticism from numerous football fans of Juventus on social media, as well as those of other clubs, some of whom asked for the club to take disciplinary actions against the player; others even demanded that Demiral be dismissed by the club.[28][29][30][31]

Career statistics[edit]

Club[edit]

As of match played 6 March 2021.[32]
Appearances and goals by club, season and competition
Club Season League Cup Europe Other Total
Division Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Alcanenense 2016–17 Campeonato de Portugal 12 0 1 0 13 1
Sporting CP B (loan) 2016–17 LigaPro 3 0 3 0
Sporting CP B 2017–18 LigaPro 26 0 0 0 26 0
Total 29 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 29 0
Sporting CP 2017–18 Primeira Liga 1 0 1 0
Alanyaspor 2018–19 Süper Lig 16 1 0 0 16 1
Sassuolo 2018–19 Serie A 14 2 14 2
Juventus 2019–20 Serie A 6 1 0 0 1 0 1[a] 0 8 1
2020–21 Serie A 14 0 4 0 4 0 0 0 22 0
Total 20 1 4 0 5 0 1 0 30 1
Career total 91 5 6 0 5 0 1 0 103 5
  1. ^ Appearance in Supercoppa Italiana

International[edit]

As of 18 November 2020[32][33]
National team Year Apps Goals
Turkey 2018 1 0
2019 11 0
2020 7 0
Total 19 0

Honours[edit]

Juventus

Turkey U20

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Merih Demiral". Archived from the original on 19 December 2017. Retrieved 25 July 2019.
  2. ^ Toucedo, Rafael (11 January 2017). "Turco Merih Demiral chega emprestado" [Turk Merih Demiral is loaned out] (in Portuguese). O Jogo. Retrieved 15 January 2020.
  3. ^ "Game Report by Soccerway". Soccerway. 5 February 2017.
  4. ^ Tornesi, Duarte (30 May 2017). "Demiral quer convencer Jesus na pré-temporada" [Demiral wants to convince Jesus during the pre-season] (in Portuguese). O Jogo. Retrieved 15 January 2020.
  5. ^ "Hoşgeldin Merih Demiral!" [Welcome to Merih Demiral!] (in Turkish). Alanyaspor. 15 August 2018. Archived from the original on 24 December 2018. Retrieved 26 November 2018.
  6. ^ Hürriyet.de-Redaktion, Anil P. Polat Stellvertretender Chefredakteur GazeteFutbol (31 January 2019). "Deadline-Day: GazeteFutbols Transferticker" (in German). gazetefutbol.de.
  7. ^ "UFFICIALE: Sassuolo, arriva Demiral in prestito con obbligo di riscatto" [OFFICIAL: Sassuolo, Demiral arrives on loan with an obbligation to buy] (in Italian). tuttomercatoweb.com. Retrieved 30 January 2019.
  8. ^ a b Pergolizzi, Dario (29 May 2019). "Perché la Juventus vuole prendere Demiral" [Why Juventus want to get Demiral] (in Italian). www.ultimouomo.com.
  9. ^ "Sassuolo, doppietta da sogno per Demiral: prime gioie in Serie A!" [Sassuolo, dream-like brace for Demiral: first joys in Serie A!] (in Italian). www.calcionews24.com. 4 April 2019. Retrieved 15 January 2020.
  10. ^ "Official: Merih Demiral is Bianconero!". Juventus F.C. 5 July 2019. Archived from the original on 5 July 2019. Retrieved 5 July 2019. The Turkish defender joins Juventus from Sassuolo: he will be a Bianconeri until 30 June 2024.
  11. ^ "Merih Demiral'ın Juventus'taki maaşı belli oldu" (in Turkish). Sözcü. Archived from the original on 14 July 2019. Retrieved 14 July 2019.
  12. ^ "Demiral: 'Being the first Juve turk is an honor, Chiellini helps me a lot'". www.calciomercato.com. 20 August 2019. Retrieved 17 January 2020.
  13. ^ Vaciago, Guido (21 September 2019). "Serie A, Juve-Verona 2-1: Ramsey e Cristiano Ronaldo firmano la rimonta" [Serie A, Juve–Verona 2–1: Ramsey and Cristiano Ronaldo mark the comeback]. Tutto Sport (in Italian). Retrieved 22 September 2019.
  14. ^ Thorogood, James (11 December 2019). "Leverkusen 0–2 Juventus". UEFA.com. Retrieved 13 January 2020.
  15. ^ Agresti, Romeo (13 December 2019). "Juventus, Demiral da urlo contro il Bayer Leverkusen: arma in più per Sarri" [Juventus, Demiral outstanding against Bayer Leverkusen: an additional asset for Sarri] (in Italian). Goal.com. Retrieved 13 January 2020.
  16. ^ "Euro roundup: Zaniolo and Demiral likely to miss Euros after rupturing ACLs". The Guardian. 13 January 2020. Retrieved 13 January 2020.
  17. ^ "Roma 1 - 2 Juventus". Football Italia. 12 January 2020. Retrieved 13 January 2020.
  18. ^ "Demiral dalla gioia (del gol) al dolore (dell'infortunio): distorsione al ginocchio, domattina il verdetto" [Demiral from joy (for his goal) to pain (for his injury): knee strain, tomorrow the verdict]. La Gazzetta dello Sport (in Italian). 12 January 2020. Retrieved 13 January 2020.
  19. ^ Baldini, Sergio (1 August 2020). "Juve-Roma 1-3: Higuain non basta, ora testa alla Champions". www.tuttosport.com (in Italian). Retrieved 2 August 2020.
  20. ^ "Turkey v Ukraine game report". ESPN. 20 November 2018.
  21. ^ Zanon, Federico (29 January 2019). "Chi è Merih Demiral, il nuovo Vidic che la Juve ha preso con il Sassuolo" [Who is Demiral, the new Vidic that Juve acquired with Sassuolo] (in Italian). Calciomercato.com. Retrieved 14 January 2020.
  22. ^ Barbagallo, Anthony (29 July 2019). "Demiral as decisive as De Ligt". Football Italia. Retrieved 2 August 2020.
  23. ^ "Demiral looking to learn from 'idol' Chiellini at Juventus". as.com. 20 August 2019. Retrieved 17 January 2020.
  24. ^ "LETTERA DEL TIFOSO Massimiliano: "Demiral nuovo Chiellini, non si può cedere"" [Letter from a fan called Massimiliano: "Demiral new Chiellini, he can't be given away"] (in Italian). www.tuttojuve.com. 22 July 2019. Retrieved 17 January 2020.
  25. ^ "Turkey v Albania (1–0)". BBC Sport. 11 October 2019. Retrieved 29 October 2019.
  26. ^ "UEFA to examine Turkey 'military' celebrations: Calhanoglu and Demiral at risk". www.calciomercato.com. 12 October 2019. Retrieved 29 October 2019.
  27. ^ "Euro 2020: Uefa probes Turkey footballers' military salute". BBC Sport. 14 October 2019. Retrieved 29 October 2019.
  28. ^ "Francia-Turchia, Demiral protagonista: grande prova e nuovo saluto militare" [France–Turkey, Demiral protagonist: great performance and new military salute]. www.goal.com (in Italian). Retrieved 15 October 2019.
  29. ^ "Francia-Turchia, lo juventino Demiral insiste: esulta col saluto militare pro-Erdogan" [France–Turkey, the Juventus player Demiral insists: celebrates with a pro–Erdogan military salute]. Open (in Italian). 14 October 2019. Retrieved 15 October 2019.
  30. ^ "DemiralOut trending: Juventus fans want defender due to political views". Calciomercato.com. Retrieved 17 October 2019.
  31. ^ Dolci, Stefano (11 October 2019). "Demiral, Calhanoglu e Under nella bufera per i tweet a sostegno dell'offensiva turca contro i curdi" [Demiral, Calhanoglu and Under in turbulence for their tweets supporting the Turkish offensive against the Kurds] (in Italian). Eurosport. Retrieved 29 October 2019.
  32. ^ a b "M. Demiral". Soccerway. Retrieved 29 October 2019.
  33. ^ "Demiral, Merih". www.national-football-teams.com. Retrieved 29 October 2019.
  34. ^ "Juventus 2-0 Sampdoria: Maurizio Sarri's side claim ninth straight Serie A title". BBC Sport. 26 July 2020. Retrieved 27 July 2020.
  35. ^ "47è Festival International Espoirs" [47th Festival International Espoirs] (in French). festival-foot-espoirs.com. Retrieved 15 January 2020.

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