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Burak Yılmaz arrived at Galatasaray AŞ this summer with an enormous burden of expectation but far from buckle he thrives on it – the supporters' demands of him are similar to his own.
Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Robin van Persie all rewrote the record books amid prolific campaigns last season but Burak's achievements in Turkey hardly went unnoticed. In 30 Süper Lig appearances for Trabzonspor, the imposing striker helped himself to a club record 33 goals; they were enough to drag the stuttering Black Sea outfit up to third. Champions Galatasaray swooped, and 2012/13 presents a new challenge.
"Last year I only played centre forward; this year we will be using a different system," said the 26-year-old. "They say it also has a lot to do with attitude. I had the right attitude, and I believe that will be the same this year. As I said before, I worked a lot. I worked on positioning and also different techniques of how I could score. The more I trained, the more Allah gave me a chance to score."
That industry has not gone unnoticed by new boss Fatih Terim, who is confident that having played for Besiktas, Fenerbahçe SK, Trabzonspor and now Galatasaray, Burak is well used to handling expectation, too. "Burak played for the big four between the ages of 19 and 26 – one of only two to achieve it," said the coach. "You could say he is used to pressure though if there is a little bit of pressure it motivates people. If Burak uses it well it might even be beneficial to him."
The opportunity to work with Terim, the coach who gave him his Turkey debut in 2006, helped the striker make up his mind to leave Trabzonspor. "He can be very hard but he has a soft heart," he explained. "He can be a dictator and very soft at the same time. He can also sometimes jokingly tell us what he wants to say. He never betrays his principles, and I think that is the way it should be. I believe I will achieve better things working with him."
Burak is certainly aiming high: "I came here to win a trophy. I want to be successful in the Champions League and hold the Champions League trophy. And I would like to win the Turkish league, if Allah permits it. That is my biggest objective this season. Afterwards I hope to be successful in Europe. I am a striker, and I want to be able to score as often as I can."
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