Fenerbahçe great Can Bartu passes away

Can Bartu, the former Fenerbahçe and Turkey winger with the distinction of having represented club and country in both football and basketball, has died at the age of 83.

Former Turkish international footballer and basketballer Can Bartu
Former Turkish international footballer and basketballer Can Bartu ©UEFA.com

Former Turkey and Fenerbahçe star Can Bartu has died aged 83 after a successful career dedicated to football and basketball.

Born in 1936, Bartu began his sporting career as a basketball player with Fenerbahçe but, under the direction of then coach Fikret Arıcan, he switched to the football branch of the Istanbul club.

Can Bartu (back row, second left) on Turkey duty
Can Bartu (back row, second left) on Turkey duty©UEFA.com

Having started out professionally in 1956, Bartu joined Italian outfit Fiorentina in 1961 before further exploits in Italy with Venezia and Lazio. In 1967 he rejoined Fenerbahçe and retired from football three years later. During his Fenerbahçe days, he played 162 league matches and scored 62 goals.

A technically gifted midfielder with an excellent touch and the ability to operate on either wing, Bartu was capped 26 times by Turkey, scoring six goals. He earned the nickname 'Signor' because Italian fans called him 'Signor Bartu'.

Bartu became the first Turkish footballer to feature in a European club competition final when appearing for Fiorentina in the European Cup Winners' Cup final against Atlético Madrid on 10 May 1962.

The first Turkey player in a European club final!
The first Turkey player in a European club final!©UEFA.com

He was also the only Turkish athlete to represent his nation at senior level in both football and basketball. Although his basketball commitments waned once his football career began in earnest, occasionally he played – and scored – for Fenerbahçe's basketball and football sides on the same day.

Since retiring, Bartu had worked as a journalist and commentator for various media outlets and most recently worked for Fenerbahçe's official TV channel.

He also acted as ambassador for the 2009 UEFA Cup final, the last edition of that competition, which was held in Istanbul.

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