Snap shot: Galatasaray steal a march at Benfica
Sunday, November 1, 2015
With Galatasaray travelling to Benfica, we look at the players involved in their last Lisbon meeting and find coaches, a TV pundit, a €34m midfielder and a defender still going strong.
Article top media content
Galatasaray are in action away to Benfica this week and, though the UEFA Champions League has not provided much for their fans to smile about this season, this fixture might. Seven years ago almost to the day, the sides met in Lisbon in the UEFA Cup and it was all about the visitors, second-half strikes from Emre Aşık and Ümit Karan securing victory to more or less seal their progress.
1. Ümit Karan
A prolific striker, Berlin-born Ümit was snapped up by Galatasaray in 2001 after emerging at another Istanbul side, Gençlerbirliği. He spent seven of the next eight years there, racking up goals and underlining his reputation for spectacular strikes – overhead kicks and long-range efforts being his forte. He managed 71 goals and three league titles with the club, and after a spell with Eskişehirspor retired in 2011. Ümit initially stayed on as director of football but these days works as a television pundit.
2. Emre Aşık
A hard-tackling midfielder and one of an elite band of players to represent Fenerbahçe, Galatasaray and Beşiktaş. The Benfica game was among his finest performances, an exceptional defensive display capped by a goal. A member of the Turkey side that reached the semi-finals of the 2002 FIFA World Cup and UEFA EURO 2008, Emre briefly worked as a TV pundit before switching to coaching. He is now assistant to Turkey Under-21 boss Abdullah Ercan.
3. Arda Turan
Perhaps Turkey's finest player of this millennium. Arda joined Galatasaray aged 12 and by the time he left for Atlético Madrid 12 years later, his reputation as a midfielder with great vision, technique and leadership skills was assured. In Spain he has gained broader appreciation with Atleti winning the Liga championship in 2013/14, and last summer it took Barcelona a fee of €34m to prise him from the capital. That made Arda, already capped over 80 times aged 28, the most expensive Turkish footballer ever.
4. Ayhan Akman
Ayhan's career was threatening to stagnate when, at 24, he arrived at Galatasaray in 2001 following an injury-plagued spell at Beşiktaş that failed to match his transfer valuation. Under Mircea Lucescu and later Erik Gerets – and deployed in defensive midfield, on the left and only occasionally in his former playmaker role – he rediscovered his best. Over 200 games and four titles later, Ayhan retired in 2012 with his reputation restored and 22 caps for Turkey. He now coaches third-tier Sarıyer.
A few Benfica fans wondered what they had bought in 2003 as the towering Brazil centre-back – 44 caps – initially struggled to settle in Portugal. He contemplated a return to his homeland after his first term but decided to stay and, over a decade later, is still there. Now Benfica's longest-serving captain, Luisão has accrued a trophy per season in Lisbon. Younger brother Alex Silva also played for Brazil.
UEFA Champions League
Snap shot: Ronaldo gets off the mark for Madrid
Snap shot: Mourinho's Porto win Champions League
Snap shot: When Paris beat Barcelona's dream team
Snap shot: Trezeguet sets up Juve for Madrid win
Snap shot: When Monaco stunned mighty Madrid
Snap shot: Barcelona silence Madrid at the Bernabéu
Snap shot: Ronaldo's Old Trafford standing ovation
Snap shot: Liverpool's Istanbul heroes
Snap shot: Juve snatch last-eight spot from Werder
Snap shot: When Ajax overcame 3-1 loss
Snap shot: Maccabi's last group stage in 2004
Snap shot: Northern Ireland reach '86 World Cup
Snap shot: Ireland v Scotland in 1986
Snap shot: Wales qualify for 1958 World Cup
Snap shot: Italy survive to reach World Cup final
UEFA Cup/UEFA Europa League
Snap shot: Maradona's Napoli reign supreme, 1989
Snap shot: Sevilla's first UEFA Cup triumph
Snap shot: Galatasaray win historic UEFA Cup
Snap shot: Tottenham's 1984 UEFA Cup heroes
Snap shot: Batistuta ends Roma's long title wait
Snap shot: Chelsea's 2005 title winners a decade on
Snap shot: When Benfica beat Mourinho's Porto
Snap shot: Portugal beat Germany in 2004 U21s
Snap shot: England's epic 2009 semi-final win
Snap shot: Benzema and Nasri among 2004 vintage