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.
Article top media content
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.
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
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.
Debut: Luxembourg 0-1 Turkey (16 August 2006, friendly)
EURO final tournament
Record: W2 D1* L0
*Ended in victory on penalties (v Croatia in UEFA EURO 2008 quarter-finals)