Hamit Altıntop told UEFA.com he hoped FC Schalke 04 supporters would "forgive" him for scoring against his home-town club and helping Galatasaray AŞ into the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals.
The Gelsenkirchen-born Altıntop, who played for Schalke between 2003 and 2007, smashed home from distance superbly to level the scores on the night and on aggregate. That laid the platform for a 3-2 triumph which left the blue-and-white-clad fans inside the Stadion Gelsenkirchen glum-faced. The Turkish international acknowledged fortune had played its part in the Istanbul club's success, while team-mate Nordin Amrabat added that Fatih Terim's men had reason to celebrate being "one of the best eight teams in Europe".
Hamit Altıntop, Galatasaray midfielder
Levelling the score was quite strange for me. On one hand, I was happy, on the other I had to keep quite a few emotions in check. I'm really happy that we've gone through, but I also have to congratulate Schalke. They played quite brilliantly in both games. Now I know how they managed to finish top of their group. It could have turned out differently. We had a little bit of luck.
I hope the Schalke fans will forgive me for scoring today. The quarter-finals will be decided on how well teams are playing at the moment, and there are only big teams in there. I would be really happy to see [FC Bayern München general manager] Uli Hoeness again.
Nordin Amrabat, Galatasaray midfielder
After the 1-1 draw in the first leg, we went into this game with a lot of confidence, believing we could go through. We have a good team, though the same is true of Schalke. We're happy with the result. The atmosphere in the dressing room was very, very good.
We're now one of the best eight teams in Europe – that's surely a reason to celebrate. Our fans are the best in the world. They gave us fantastic support today. I always say: 'The sky's the limit.' There are very strong teams. I'd be happy to play anyone, even Barcelona and Real Madrid. I've never played against them.
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