Player Profile - Arda Turan

Turan Fighting For A Place In His Dream Team

Personal information
Full name: Arda Turan
Date of birth: 30 January 1987 
Age: 28
Place of birth: Fatih, Turkey 
Height: 1.78 m (5 ft 10 in) 
Playing position: Attacking midfielder

Club information
Current team: Barcelona
Number: 7

Youth career
1999–2000: Altıntepsi Makelspor
2000–2005: Galatasaray

Senior career
2004–2011: Galatasaray 197 Appearances, 45 goals 
2006 → Manisaspor (loan) 15 Appearances, 2 goals 
2011–2015 Atletico Madrid 178 Appearances, 22 goals
2015– Barcelona 2 Appearances, 0 goals

National team
2002 Turkey U16 10 Appearances, 2 goals 
2003–2004 Turkey U17 30 Appearances, 3 goals 
2003–2005 Turkey U18 11 Appearances, 2 goals 
2004–2006 Turkey U19 18 Appearances, 6 goals
2005: Turkey U20 2 Appearances, 0 goals 
2006: Turkey U21 2 Appearances, 0 goals 
2006– Turkey 87 Appearances, 16 goals 

Contrary to popular opinion, playing with Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar is not easy. Ivan Rakitic said as much in an interview, with the Croatian explaining that the rest of the team must work themselves to the bone to create space and opportunities for the stellar trio up front. Arda Turan discovered that when he finally made his Barcelona debut after a six-month freeze-out, thanks to the FIFA transfer ban that stopped both he and Aleix Vidal being registered after they signed for the club last summer.

Turan and Vidal were registered a fortnight ago and both featured against Espanyol in Barcelona's 4-1 win in the Copa del Rey last-16 first leg. Arda started in place of Rakitic. Doubtless, he will have to play himself into Luis Enrique's first team to get regular minutes, but this was a good start for the Turk. The other 10 players on the field with him had all started the Champions League final in May. Arda is capable of hard work and graft and he showed it in this match. One of the reasons Lucho wanted to bring him to Barcelona from Atletico Madrid, is his work ethic. Under Diego Simeone, Arda added that side to his game, his game for Atletico a combination of sweat and skill; the perfect combination to sit behind Barcelona's trident. It will take time to bed in, but Arda got off to a good start against Espanyol, a crunching encounter, with the Catalan derby a tricky match in which to make your debut. However, the longer the game went on, the more comfortable Arda looked, beginning to come deep into midfield to get the ball before springing forward. The Turkish star left the field with Barcelona 3-1 up, and Neymar’s late goal means it’s highly likely the Catalans will go through to the quarter-finals of the competition, with much less pressure on the second leg of this tie at Cornella. Arda was quietly confident on his debut, doing what he needed to and beginning the process of adapting to life at his dream club. He has a lot further to go, but this was a good base to build from.

Turan made a big sacrifice in the summer, deciding to sit out six months of football to move to his dream club, FC Barcelona. The Atletico Madrid star put pen to paper on a €34 million move, knowing he would not be able to feature until Barcelona's FIFA ban on registering players was over. That shows the enthusiasm he had to sign for the club, and it is clear that the Catalan outfit really is the one side he has wanted to play for all his life. Arda also knew he was heading to a team where playing opportunities have to be earned. To be a regular first-teamer, he has to outplay one of Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez, Neymar, Andres Iniesta or Ivan Rakitic. Otherwise, he will just be playing a bit-part role, and given his talents, that would be a waste. It will be interesting to see how Arda fits in at Barcelona in the long run. The Turkish star became a key influence at Atletico slowly, someone renowned for his cool and calm, even in high-pressure situations. He helped Atletico win La Liga, the Copa del Rey, the UEFA Super Cup and the Spanish Super Cup, mixing graft with craft, technically excellent but able to scrap like his life depends on it.

Unsurprisingly, a huge chunk of Barcelona’s goals come from the striking trio of Messi, Neymar and Suarez. Of the 180 they scored in 2015, 137 were netted by the South Americans, 76 per cent of the total. What Barcelona could do with is some added goal threat. Rakitic hit seven, but Turan will be hoping he can provide more than that if given the chance. This time last year Arda was throwing boots against Barcelona. Watching how he fits in and if he can command a regular first-team role will be fascinating.