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Snap shot: Galatasaray steal a march at Benfica

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.

Snap shot: Galatasaray steal a march at Benfica
Snap shot: Galatasaray steal a march at Benfica ©Getty Images

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.

UEFA Champions League history

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.

Arda Turan of Barcelona
Arda Turan of Barcelona©Getty Images

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.

©Getty Images

5. Luisão
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.

©Getty Images

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