Legends: Hakan Sukur

Hakan Sukur was the man Tukish FA chose to nominate as their Golden Player when UEFA asked them to name one of their oustanding player of the past 50 years.

It is no accident that the rise of Turkish football in the early 1990s coincided with the emergence of the country’s newest football star. Sukur has amply fulfilled that early promise, enjoying unprecedented success in domestic and international football and becoming Turkey’s most recognisable player.

His country’s top scorer in international football, Hakan Sukur holds Turkey’s record for the most goals in European club competitions, and has been a prolific scorer in the Turkish league. In addition, he also had the honour of scoring the fastest goal in FIFA World Cup finals history when he struck after just eleven seconds of Turkey’s third-place play-off match against the Korean Republic in the 2002 finals, a game his side went on to win 3-2. He joined Galatasaray in 1999 and has recorded more than 200 goals in nearly 400 league matches, and was the Turkish Superleague’s top scorer on three occasions.

His time in Istanbul proved fruitful in more ways than one, with Galatasaray claiming six league titles and four Turkish Cups. In 1999-00, Galatasaray completed a domestic double for the second year in succession and claimed the UEFA Cup, the first Turkish side to claim a European title.

Sukur opted to play in Italy in 2002, trying his luck with first Inter Milan and then Parma. Neither move was successful however, and after scoring twice in nine games for English side Blackburn Rovers in 2002-03, he returned to Galatasaray, scoring 12 times in 28 league games in his first season back.