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Stars of UEFA EURO 2016: Arda Turan

Barcelona midfielder Arda Turan will have been a senior Turkish international for nearly a decade by the time UEFA EURO 2016 comes around – he is perhaps more pivotal than ever.

Arda Turan celebrates Turkey's dramatic qualification for UEFA EURO 2016
Arda Turan celebrates Turkey's dramatic qualification for UEFA EURO 2016 ©Getty Images

At a glance
Without doubt the best Turkish player of his generation, captain and playmaker Arda Turan is preparing to spearhead another EURO challenge – just as he did during qualifying. Only 11 caps shy of his century, the creative left-sided midfielder joined Barcelona from Atlético last summer and, a decade on from his senior international debut, is as talismanic as ever.

EURO pedigree
Arda was just 21 when he first played at a European finals, enjoying an excellent UEFA EURO 2008. He had a key role in Turkey's 2-1 comeback victory over co-hosts Switzerland, scoring the last-minute winner. He also struck against the Czech Republic and converted his team's first penalty in the quarter-final shoot-out against Croatia. He missed the semi against Germany through suspension but had already made his mark.

What he offers

Turkey’s EURO star: Arda Turan

Importance for Turkey
Arda's technique, vision and anticipation are evident to most, yet his influence and leadership are difficult to overstate. The 29-year-old has a splendid knack of taking the initiative in difficult circumstances. Had he not notched a late winner away to Kazakhstan last summer, for example, Turkey might not be heading to France. His flexibility – he can play on the left or right – is also a bonus for Fatih Terim. He has matured as a player since moving to Spain in 2011.

International career
Debut: Luxembourg 0-1 Turkey (16 August 2006, friendly)
Appearances: 89
Goals: 18

EURO final tournament
Appearances: 3
Goals: 2
Record: W2 D1* L0

*Ended in victory on penalties (v Croatia in UEFA EURO 2008 quarter-finals)

Watch the best five goals from Turkey's UEFA EURO 2016 qualifying campaign