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World-wise Webó enjoying Fenerbahçe task

Cameroon striker Pierre Webó has played in Uruguay and Spain, but may have hit his best form in Turkey, despite leaving his family in London, explaining: "I really love Istanbul."

Pierre Webó has hit the ground running since joining Fenerbahçe in January
Pierre Webó has hit the ground running since joining Fenerbahçe in January ©AFP

Pierre Webó has come a long way to shine for Fenerbahçe SK, but it has all been worthwhile for the Cameroonian striker, who said: "I love my job and live for football."

Now 31, the former CA Osasuna and RCD Mallorca man's career has taken him on some unusual paths. "I was born in Africa but I developed my game in Uruguay and Spain," he explained after joining his new club at the end of January. "I came to Fenerbahçe with over 400 matches under my belt. I am a professional who always play with 100% concentration and discipline. There's nothing on my mind besides winning and fighting on the pitch."

A member of the Cameroon side that featured at the 2010 FIFA World Cup, Webó has left his wife and two children in London to play in Istanbul, but is enjoying his solitary life in Turkey. "I really love Istanbul," he said. "I live on the European side and use the ferry every day to go to the Asian side where Fenerbahçe's facilities are. You sleep in Europe and move to Asia in the morning. Where apart from in Turkey could you do that?"

Webó has hit the ground running at his new club, but his fourth goal – all of them headers – for the Yellow Canaries may have been the most important one yet, since it gave his side a 1-0 win at FC Viktoria Plzeň in their UEFA Europa League round of 16 opener. "As a striker, I love scoring goals," he said afterwards. "I am not the hero – the whole team put in a heroic performance. Scoring the goal was good, though."

Fenerbahçe coach Aykut Kocaman, who signed Webó following the striker’s 18-month spell with modest İstanbul BB SK, is happy with the way he, Sow and fellow newcomer Dirk Kuyt have linked up. "Webó is world class," he said. "It makes sense to sign players who you are familiar with. Since the arrival of Webó, along with Dirk Kuyt and Moussa Sow, the team has started to defend from the front, and this increases the strength of our defence."

That resilience may come in useful on Thursday as Fenerbahçe look to ease their way into the quarter-final draw, and Webó knows that Plzeň will not be coming to Istanbul to sightsee. "Above all, Viktoria Plzeň deserve a great respect," he said. "They have reached the round of 16 and this means that they are as good as us. We need to prepare very well for the second leg."