Sergen Yalçın

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Sergen Yalçın
Sergen Yalçın.jpg
Personal information
Full name Ali Rıza Sergen Yalçın
Date of birth (1972-10-05) October 5, 1972 (age 44)
Place of birth Istanbul, Turkey
Height 1.77 m (5 ft 9 12 in)
Playing position Attacking midfielder
Youth career
1982–1991 Beşiktaş
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1991–1997 Beşiktaş 158 (46)
1997–1999 İstanbulspor 40 (15)
1999–2002 Siirt Jet-Pa Spor 0 (0)
1999–2000 Fenerbahçe (loan) 24 (8)
2000 Galatasaray (loan) 21 (6)
2000–2001 Trabzonspor (loan) 21 (1)
2001–2002 Galatasaray (loan) 18 (7)
2002–2006 Beşiktaş 100 (30)
2006–2007 Etimesgut Şekerspor 23 (13)
2007–2008 Eskişehirspor 21 (6)
Total 426 (142)
National team
1989 Turkey U-16 2 (0)
1990 Turkey U-18 2 (0)
1992–1993 Turkey U-21 12 (5)
1994–2003 Turkey 37 (5)
Teams managed
2008–2009 Beşiktaş (U15)
2009–2010 Beşiktaş A2
2013–2014 Gaziantepspor
2014–2015 Sivasspor
2016 Gaziantepspor
2017[1] Kayserispor
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.

Ali Rıza Sergen Yalçın (born October 5, 1972 in Istanbul) is a former Turkish footballer and is recognised as one of the greatest footballers to play for Turkey. Sergen has played for every one of Turkey's big four clubs, some of them twice, and had stints at a few others as well.

Club career[edit]

Sergen began at Beşiktaş JK in 1991, and quickly became renowned for his skill and creativity. His first spell at the club saw him score 46 goals in 158 games – no mean feat for a midfielder. However, it was known that Sergen lacked professionalism. After a 4–1 defeat to Samsunspor, he was publicly criticised by the Beşiktaş deputy president due to his careless lifestyle. Sergen responded to the club official by insulting him.

Subsequently, Beşiktaş imposed a club-record fine of over £150,000. He was later forgiven after apologising but the fine stayed. Sergen then demanded a new and improved contract which was denied by the board.

As expected, Sergen departed from the club and became Turkey's record signing when he moved to İstanbulspor for £5.5m in 1997. Thereafter, Sergen now desired a move to the European fields and began contract negotiations with Internazionale and AC Milan.[3][4] Terms could not be met with the Italian giants. After struggling with his weight due to months of inaction, İstanbulspor failed to offload him, so Jet-Pa (a sports company) bought his contract and arranged a loan deal with Fenerbahçe, which involved him wearing a personalised shirt promoting the company.

Under the coaching firstly from Joachim Löw and Rıdvan Dilmen, he seemed to have buckled down to the task. But when Zdenek Zeman took over, Sergen was consistently engaged in trench warfare. Sergen publicly criticised Zeman for trying to play him on the wing, which he believed was not his best position, and was accused of faking injury to avoid training sessions. Along with many other incidents, the final straw came with the home game against Bursaspor. When he eventually came on as a substitute, Sergen missed a simple scoring chance, which many of the fans believe to have been a deliberate miss as an act of protest or just pure spite. In the late stages of the game, with the score locked at 2–2, he further infuriated the supporters by strolling across to take a corner as though he had all the time in the world. Midway through the 1999–2000 season, Sergen had his contract terminated by Fenerbahçe. Due to his terrific individual showings for the national team, Sergen attracted attention from several foreign clubs. There were speculations about a move to FC Barcelona, Bayern Munich or Borussia Dortmund.[5][6]

Despite heavy speculation, he finished the season at arch-rivals Galatasaray SK and displayed impressive showings to help Galatasaray do the domestic double. Sergen signed for the club too late in the season to be eligible for the UEFA Cup campaign, and as Galatasaray made the trip to Leeds for the second tie of the semi-final, Sergen was instructed to report to training in Istanbul. But instead of continuing his training in Istanbul, he took a little trip of his own to Northern Cyprus. While casinos were banned on the Turkish mainland, they remained open in Northern Cyprus which attracted quite a lot of gambling trade from Turkey. It attracted Sergen for precisely that reason and he spent much of his brief stay there in a casino. When he returned to Istanbul, he told manager Fatih Terim he was tired from the journey and asked if he could skip a training session. Terim is a fearsome disciplinarian and the reaction was predictably explosive. Sergen skipped title celebrations after the Galatasaray board made it clear they would not have him back next season.

After Euro 2000, Sergen was on the verge of a transfer to Newcastle United,[7] manager Bobby Robson being a long-time admirer.[8] The deal fell through and he instead moved to Trabzonspor and became the first player to have represented the big four clubs in Turkey. Sergen had never yet played for a club outside Istanbul and it was believed that removing him from the distractions of the big city would do good for his appalling disciplinary record. Ironically, it was the most unsuccessful season of his career. At the season's end, Trabzonspor did not wish to extend his loan deal.

Fatih Terim gave up on him at Galatasaray. Zdenek Zeman could not work with him at Fenerbahçe. He publicly criticised former national coach Mustafa Denizli after Euro 2000. British coach Gordon Milne worked with him at Beşiktaş and he too despaired of trying to get Sergen – and his magical left foot to the training ground on time. It was thought to be the end of Sergen Yalcin, the great enfant terrible of Turkish football.

Ahead of the 2001–2002 season, Galatasaray manager Mircea Lucescu took a gamble and signed Sergen on loan (still from Siirt-Jet). He cast Sergen as the natural successor to Gheorghe Hagi.

The move was rewarded as Sergen repaid his manager's faith by starring in the UEFA Champions League with 2 goals and 2 assists as Galatasaray progressed to the second group stage. Unfortunately, Sergen tore his knee ligaments and would miss the rest of the season. He was told to lose weight or never play football again. After elimination from the UEFA Champions League, Lucescu remained insistent that if Sergen had remained fit, Galatasaray would have gone on to win the tournament. Galatasaray did still go on to win the league title.

In the 2002–2003 season, after years of wandering, Sergen returned home to Beşiktaş. Sergen was signed on a permanent deal by Lucescu, who had also moved to Beşiktaş. Under the tutelage of Lucescu, some whispered that, perhaps, the talent had been tamed. Sergen was finally maturing to fulfill some of his long-lost potential. Beşiktaş won the league, with Sergen the key instigator. The 2003–2004 season would see Beşiktaş' re-entry to the Champions League where Sergen was to feature in arguably the most memorable match of his career. Roman Abramovich became the owner of the English club, Chelsea FC, spending £112m on quality transfers. Chelsea's 'invincibles' were undefeated under the Abramovich-era ahead of the match with Beşiktaş, which was played at Stamford Bridge. With the odds stacked against them, Beşiktaş shocked the footballing world by winning 0–2, both goals courtesy of Sergen. Beşiktaş were eliminated in the group stage, but Sergen once again proved his class by scoring 2 goals and providing 3 assists in the six matches. He continued playing in Beşiktaş for another two years, becoming a fan-favourite of the club.

Before the 2006–2007 season, manager Jean Tigana did not see Sergen as part of his future plans and therefore, Beşiktaş terminated his contract with immediate effect. This enraged the fans, as Sergen was their greatest symbolic icon. Upon his departure, he stated that he would always be a Beşiktaş fan. He spent that season at lowly Etimesgut Şekerspor in the TFF Second League, before moving to Eskişehirspor of the TFF First League, retiring at the end of 2007–08 as his team achieved promotion to the top flight.

When Sergen was asked why he never moved to Europe, he simply replied, "If I was 20 again, I would leave Turkey within 3 days."[10]

He is considered as one of the best Turkish player of all times.

Professional Career League Cup Europe Total
Season Club Matches Goals Matches Goals Matches Goals Matches Goals
1991–1992 Beşiktaş JK
15
2
2
0
0001
0
0018
2
1992–1993
23
8
5
0
0001
0
0029
8
1993–1994
20
6
3
1
0004
1
0027
8
1994–1995
27
8
2
0
0003
0
0032
8
1995–1996
24
10
3
1
0002
0
0029
11
1996–1997
29
9
5
1
0004
0
0038
10
1997–1998 İstanbulspor
28
10
4
1
0005
2
0037
13
1998–1999
8
4
-
-
0002
1
0010
5
Fenerbahçe SK
15
7
-
-
-
-
0015
7
1999–2000
9
1
-
-
2
0
0011
1
Galatasaray SK
18
4
3
2
-
-
0021
6
2000–2001 Trabzonspor
21
1
-
-
-
-
0021
1
2001–2002 Galatasaray SK
18
7
-
-
9
2
0027
9
2002–2003 Beşiktaş JK
28
11
1
0
9
1
0038
12
2003–2004
24
8
1
0
8
2
0033
10
2004–2005
22
3
-
-
5
0
0027
3
2005–2006
18
6
6
2
5
0
0029
8
2006–2007 Etimesgut Şekerspor (Lig B)
22
13
1
0
000-
-
0023
13
2007–2008 Eskişehirspor (1. Lig)
21
6
-
-
000-
-
0021
6
Total 390 124 36 8 60 9 486 141

International career[edit]

Sergen made his debut in a friendly game against F.Y.R. Macedonia in 1994. He would represent his nation in Euro 1996 and 2000, but injury prevented him from featuring at the FIFA World Cup in 2002. For the Turkish national team, Sergen scored 5 goals in 37 matches.

Euro 1996

Euro 1996 was Turkey's first tournament appearance since 1954. Sergen played a key role in qualification, scoring two goals. Sergen featured in two matches at the finals where they fell at the first hurdle, pointless and goalless. After the tournament, Sergen received several offers from the European shores, including the likes of West Ham United. Sergen's refusal to move was made by the fact the clubs in pursuit were not bigger than Beşiktaş.[11]

FIFA World Cup 1998

Sergen was fairly inactive in the national team during this period. In the opening round of World Cup qualification, Sergen came on as a second-half substitute against Belgium. Sergen went from hero to villain in the space of five minutes by contriving to get himself sent off after initially scoring a splendid half-volley on the edge of the box. Turkey went on to lose the match 2–1 at Brussels. Manager Mustafa Denizli saw Sergen as a liability and did not select him for the next 13 months. Sergen's only other match during qualification was the 5–0 victory at San Marino, and Sergen was hugely disappointing. Turkey failed to make the finals.

Euro 2000

To his detractors, Sergen was a luxury item in a team which could ill afford luxuries. Those who had a fondness for decrying Sergen's abilities have suggested that, when playing at the highest level, he glitters rather than shines. So when Sergen was given a second chance, many lashed out at Denizli's decision to select him. Having finally accepted that he was the linchpin of his national side, Sergen dedicated himself to banish bitter memories of his past.

The opening match saw Sergen give a man of the match performance in a 3–0 victory over Northern Ireland, followed by a 1–0 victory against European champions Germany, but then shamefully defeated 1–3 to Finland. The next match against Moldova, Sergen was the maestro for the Turkish side, with his spectacular dribbling runs, shots at goal and his clairvoyant passes creating scoring chances for his teammates. It was from his corner kick that Turkey opened the scoring, and four minutes into injury time when Sergen took the stage, displacing the lead-footed Moldovan defenders one by one before slotting in a cracker from the edge of the area to give Turkey a 2–0 victory. Sergen also made history because his goal was the 400th scored in the history of the Turkish national team. Prior to the next match, Turkey had never defeated Finland in any official match since 1924. Outpaced and outplayed for 15 minutes, Turkey trailed 2–0 before Sergen intervened. The man of the match was involved in three goals as Turkey turned around a two-goal deficit to defeat Finland 2–4. Turkey gained five points from their final three matches to finish group runners-up. The final game with Germany ended 0–0, but is seen as one of the greatest individual displays in the history of the Turkish national team, as Sergen "pulled all the strings", according to the German manager Erich Ribbeck. As group runners-up, Turkey faced the Republic of Ireland in a play-off tie to qualify for Euro 2000. The Irish entered the match as favorites mainly due to their influential skipper, Roy Keane. In the first leg, Ireland could only do with a 1–1 draw in Dublin. Eamonn Sweeney of the Irish Examiner wrote the match report.

The second leg ended 0–0, which was enough for Turkey to qualify through the away-goals rule. In the first 20 minutes of the second half alone, Sergen set up four clear scoring chances as he produced another man of the match performance.

Turkey opened their Euro 2000 campaign with a controversial 2–1 defeat to Italy. The Guardian writer Ian Ross recalled the game.

It was his assist from a nicely flighted free-kick from which Turkey scored. Surprisingly, Sergen then came on as a substitute in their 0–0 draw with Sweden, and he didn't feature at all during the 2–0 victory over Belgium. In the quarter-finals, Sergen came on in the final few minutes as Turkey were defeated by Portugal. Sergen heavily criticised Denizli for not starting him in all of the matches, "He's got problems, he's not all there in the head. Don't ask me why I didn't play, ask him."[14]

FIFA World Cup 2002

Sergen missed most of 2002 FIFA World Cup qualification due to his dismal performances at club level. His transfer to Galatasaray and performances in the UEFA Champions League allowed him back into the team and he featured in the 5–0 thrashing of Austria to qualify for the World Cup. Tragically though Sergen had injured himself prior to the tournament and did not feature.

Euro 2004

Sergen again wasn't involved in most of the Euro 2004 qualification campaign, but due to his memorable performance against Chelsea, he was selected for the crucial final qualifying match against England. It was his final match for Turkey, which ended 0–0. Due to injury, he did not feature in the play-off ties against Latvia as Turkey were defeated.

International goals[edit]

# Date Venue Opponent Score Result Competition
1. 12 October 1994 İstanbul, Turkey  Iceland 5–0 5–0 Euro 1996 Qualification
2. 29 March 1995 İstanbul, Turkey  Sweden 2–1 2–1 Euro 1996 Qualification
3. 7 June 1995 Montreal, Canada  Canada 1–0 3–0 Friendly
4. 31 August 1996 Brussels, Belgium  Belgium 1–1 1–2 FIFA World Cup 1998 Qualification
5. 27 March 1999 İstanbul, Turkey  Moldova 2–0 2–0 Euro 2000 Qualification

Managerial career[edit]

He has signed a contract with Gaziantepspor for one and a half year after former manager Bülent Uygun's resignation.[15]

Statistics[edit]

As of 6 April 2014
Team From To Record
G W D L Win %
Gaziantepspor 2013 2014 15 8 3 4 53.33
Sivasspor 2014 2015 38 14 12 12 36.84
Gaziantepspor 2016 Present 1 0 1 0 00.00
Total 54 22 16 16 40.74

Honours[edit]

Beşiktaş J.K.
Galatasaray S.K.
Turkey

References[edit]

  1. ^ Sergen Yalçın istifa etti!‚ fanatik.com.tr, 22 April 2017
  2. ^ Metcalf, Rupert (28 March 1997). "Football: around the world". London: The Independent. Retrieved 23 May 2010. 
  3. ^ "Sergen karar bekliyor". Aksam Newspaper. 19 January 1999. 
  4. ^ "Contents". Turkish Press Review. 15 January 1999. 
  5. ^ "Fenerbahce loses its patience with Sergen". Hurriyet. 9 December 1999. 
  6. ^ "Sergen Yalçın`dan şok açıklamalar". Milliyet. 21 September 2008. 
  7. ^ Thomas, Russell (19 July 2000). "Sergen turns to the mouth of the Tyne". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 23 May 2010. 
  8. ^ "Turkey's whild child grows up". London: The Guardian. 15 June 2000. Retrieved 23 May 2010. 
  9. ^ "Lucescu: Sergen Hagi olacak". The Hurriyet. 28 July 2001. 
  10. ^ "20 yaşında olsam 3 gün durmazdım". ensonhaber. 16 May 2008. 
  11. ^ "Kazım'ı bilmem ama Arda'yı kurtarmak için hala şans var". Zaman. 29 October 2009. 
  12. ^ "Lady Luck Ignores McCarthey". Irish Examiner. 15 November 1999. 
  13. ^ "Turkey's Wild Child Grows Up". The Guardian. London. 15 June 2000. Retrieved 23 May 2010. 
  14. ^ "Denizli kafadan sakat". Sabah Newspaper. 25 June 2000. 
  15. ^ "G.Antepspor'da Sergen Yalçın dönemi!". Ntvspor. 16 November 2013.