At just 23, Turkey and Galatasaray AŞ sensation Arda Turan has already eastablished himself as a key figure for both his club and country. In this Q&A with UEFA.com readers he put his faith in Guus Hiddink to lead Turkey to "great things", predicted good times ahead for Galatasaray and explained why Liverpool FC are close to his heart.
What feeling do you get when you put on your Galatasaray shirt with 24,000 fans at Ali Sami Yen screaming your name?
Arda Turan: It is a feeling I have dreamed of since childhood. Now, as captain of Galatasaray, I want to win a cup. Our ambition is to be the champions of Süper Lig this season and to win a European trophy in the coming years.
It was disappointing to see Galatasaray get knocked out of the UEFA Europa League. How big is the gap between Galatasaray and Europe's top clubs and do you see it being narrowed soon?
Paul Spence, London
Arda: The fact we've failed was a great disappointment for us; we fought well in both games [against Club Atlético de Madrid]. I think we are just as mentally tough as other top European clubs, but when it comes to finances, they are in a better position. But now, with a brand-new stadium and with fresh financial projects we believe we can close that gap. In my opinion, the financial space between us and them will be closed in five years. Istanbul is a great and huge city with many advantages for footballers.
What's your opinion about the choice of Guus Hiddink as Turkey coach?
Arda: He has had a great career and we are going to benefit from his experience. I hope he will help our national team to achieve great things.
What do you think about Galatasaray's chances of winning the Turkish Super League title this season? Will we beat Fenerbahçe at Ali Sami Yen?
İsmail Dursun, Istanbul
Arda: Our chances of winning the league are good. We are four points ahead of our nearest opponents. Of course we want to win the derby, as it will help in our fight for the title.
How does it feel to play in the Istanbul derby against Fenerbahçe and how big is the pressure on the players at the three big Istanbul teams?
Arda: Football occupies a big place in people's lives in Turkey and almost everybody supports one of the three big clubs. Living with the expectation is both stressful and enjoyable. Similarly, playing against Fenerbahçe is both stressful and entertaining. But in the end, it is a football match like all the others.
What do you think you have improved on the most this year and what aspects of your game do you feel you still need to improve on?
Cem Salur, San Francisco
Arda: I think I could improve my shooting. Previously I thought I was putting in a lot of effort but not creating enough, now I am playing economically and have become more effective.
Who is the hardest player you have played against?
Orhan Takim, Toronto, Canada
Arda: Croatian right-back Vedran Ćorluka, who is playing for Tottenham right now, was the hardest player I've played against. It was in the quarter-final of EURO 2008, against Croatia.
What do you think is the key character trait that distinguishes you from the other talented players around you?
Yalın Büyükdora, Chicago
Arda: I've never thought I am a talented player, but I think I have great football intelligence; I know how to play football.
Are Galatasaray on the verge of another football revolution, similar to what we saw with Derwall in the 80s that eventually led to the UEFA Cup in 2000?
Onur Coskun, Los Angeles, USA
Arda: There is a new generation at Galatasaray. The experience that this new generation will gain during the next three to four years may bring us a European trophy.
Are you considering moving to another club in the future and if so what teams would be first priority for you?
Yasin Bektasoglu, Belfast, Northern Ireland
Arda: Of course I want to play abroad but it is our board's decision. As I always mention, Liverpool attracts me because of their tradition. In Europe, I am a Liverpool supporter, so if I go to play in Europe, I would like to play for them.
What have you learned from watching or playing with some of Galatasaray's recent star players such as Gheorghe Hagi and Hakan Şükür?
Arda: Not only from Hagi and Hakan Şükür, I've learned so many things from the masters like Arif Erdem, Bülent Korkmaz, Hakan Ünsal, Okan Buruk and Ümit Davala. Their styles differ on and off the pitch and I've learned different qualities from them. I've benefited from their attitude, their strength and their hard work.
What impact has Frank Rijkaard had on your development?
Arda: Frank Rijkaard has made me more comfortable and self-confident day by day. He is a great and modest man. We are all learning a lot from him.
You have been playing as a striker recently, but what is your best position, where you are most relaxed and most effective?
Mert Pekin, Ankara, Turkey
Arda: Previously, I was efficient on the left side of the midfield but now I am playing just behind the striker and I think I am more beneficial for the team there.
Where do you see yourself five years from now and what are you doing today to achieve that goal?
Arda: My dream has always been to play for one of the top European clubs, but you shouldn't make concrete plans in your life because sometimes these plans cannot be achieved. This is my dream, but for now I'm just working on my football.
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