Emre Belözoğlu (Turkish pronunciation: [emˈɾe beˈløzoːɫʊ], born 7 September 1980 in Istanbul) is a Turkish football midfielder who plays for İstanbul Başakşehir. A talented playmaker, his past clubs include Galatasaray, Inter Milan, Newcastle United, Atlético Madrid and Fenerbahçe.
Belözoğlu captaining Turkey in 2010
|Full name||Emre Belözoğlu|
|Date of birth||7 September 1980|
|Place of birth||İstanbul, Turkey|
|Height||1.70 m (5 ft 7 in)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 19 May 2018
‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 9 September 2014
Belözoğlu has been a part of the Turkey national team since 2000, earning over 90 caps and helping the team to the semi-finals at the 2002 World Cup and at Euro 2008. Pelé named him in the FIFA 100, a list of the 125 greatest living footballers as a part of FIFA's centenary celebrations.
Belözoğlu's inspiration came from his father, Mehmet, who introduced him to football at the Zeytinburnuspor training ground. Belözoğlu's mother, Fatma, had seen the problems that her husband had faced through his football career, and thus did not want their son to become a professional football player. His father, however, urged and inspired Belözoğlu to embark on a career. The fans of Zeytinburnuspor quickly took an interest in him, stating his wonderful control with his left foot. Coach Salih Bulgurlu noticed his talent and started giving him special training. Bulgurlu looked after Belözoğlu for four years, teaching him all the basic techniques, improving and harnessing his fitness and stamina dramatically. Belözoğlu was quickly discovered by former Galatasaray legend Bülent Ünder, a close friend of Galatasaray manager Fatih Terim. Bülent Ünder pleaded to Bulgurlu that Emre join Galatasaray: "Wait and see. In two years, this teenager will be playing proudly within the battlegrounds of Europe."
Belözoğlu officially became a Galatasaray player. His first appearance for the club's senior squad was as a sixteen-year-old in the 1996–97 season. The following year, he became a regular in the squad. Once he became a regular he won 4 Süper Lig titles, 2 Turkish Cups, 1 UEFA Cup, and 1 UEFA Super Cup all by the age of 21. Belözoğlu also played in the quarter-finals of the UEFA Champions League. Emre gained much popularity and fame, and also hate because of his aggressive behaviour.
In 2001, he moved to Inter Milan for £5 million. In the 2002–03 season, Belözoğlu became the 17th winner of the Pirata d'Oro (Golden Pirate), an annual award given for the Inter Milan player of the year. Inter made it through to the semi-finals of the Champions League that year, and that was as far as Belözoğlu would reach with the club. He gradually became out of favour at Inter due to persistent injuries, and after making just nineteen appearances during the 2004–05 season, he became available for transfer.
On 19 July 2005, Belözoğlu moved to Newcastle United on a five-year deal for a £3.8 million transfer fee. He made his debut on 3 August in a 2–1 home defeat to Deportivo La Coruña in the UEFA Intertoto Cup, and 11 days later started in Newcastle's first game of the Premier League season, a defeat to Arsenal. In his fourth game on 23 October, he set up the opening goal with a corner to Shola Ameobi, and later scored the winner with a free kick, in a 3–2 victory over Sunderland in the Tyne-Wear derby. Of 25 games in all competitions in his first season, 20 in the league, he scored just one more goal: a long range shot on 5 November to defeat Birmingham City 1–0.
Injuries limited Belözoğlu to only 35 Premier League appearances in his subsequent two seasons at Newcastle, in which he scored three goals. On 17 January 2008, in an FA Cup replay against Stoke City, he was sent off after 29 minutes for retaliating after being fouled by John Eustace.
In July 2008, Belözoğlu was unveiled at the Şükrü Saracoğlu Stadium in a signing ceremony. Fanatical Galatasaray supporters started many "anti-Belözoğlu" campaigns for transferring to their rival. However, Belözoğlu stated that he had always been a Fenerbahçe fan, which has been confirmed by some of his past team-mates, including Galatasaray legends Hakan Şükür and Hasan Şaş. After a disappointing first season, consistent performances in the next saw Emre rewarded with the Süper Lig player of the year for the 2009–10 season. He was effective at both ends of the pitch, his experience and combative style proving a valuable asset in taking his team so close in both league and cup. On 3 November 2010, Belözoğlu declared that he hung posters of Fenerbahçe players Aykut Kocaman, Rıdvan Dilmen and Džoni Novak on his walls at home.
Belözoğlu moved to Atlético Madrid, the reigning champions of the Europa League on 29 May 2012. He signed a 2-year contract and was warmly received by compatriot and midfield partner Arda Turan. On 7 July Belözoğlu trained with his new teammates before being unveiled by Atlético in a signing ceremony held in the Vicente Calderon stadium. He made his Atlético debut on 1 September 2012 in the UEFA Super Cup against Chelsea, coming on for the last three minutes in place of Radamel Falcao whose hat-trick contributed to Atletico's 4–1 victory.
Return to FenerbahçeEdit
İstanbul Başakşehir F.K.Edit
Since making his international debut against Norway in 2000, Belözoğlu has been a regular in the Turkish setup. Injury forced him out of the Euro 2000 but he was part of the Turkish squad that finished in third place at the 2002 FIFA World Cup. Belözoğlu played the opening match of UEFA Euro 2008, but an injury sidelined him for the rest of the tournament as Turkey progressed to the semi-finals.
Belözoğlu is a practising Muslim and has said; "like everyone else (who is Muslim), I'm trying to be as moderate as possible in this holy month. But the job I do is physically very hard, so on the day of a match and for one or two days previous I don't fast".
Post-match brawl in 2005Edit
After a post-match brawl in a 2006 World Cup qualification playoff match with Switzerland, Belözoğlu was banned for Turkey's next six matches and fined CHF 15,000 (£6,622) plus costs of CHF 1,000 (£440) for his alleged part in the brawl. The FIFA Appeal Committee later reduced the ban to four matches.
Racial abuse accusations in EnglandEdit
Belözoğlu was accused of using racist insults towards Everton's Joseph Yobo, Tim Howard and Joleon Lescott during a match on 30 December 2006. He was charged by The Football Association in January 2007 and found not guilty by an independent commission in March.
In February 2007, the FA announced another investigation into alleged racist remarks from Belözoğlu, this time aimed against Bolton Wanderers striker El-Hadji Diouf in a 2–1 win at St James' Park on 15 October 2006. Emre's agent denied the accusation. Diouf subsequently decided not to press charges.
Racial abuse incident with Didier ZokoraEdit
On 15 April 2012, Belözoğlu was accused of making racist comments on the pitch towards Trabzonspor's Didier Zokora. On 17 June 2014, Belözoğlu was sentenced to a two-and-a-half-month suspended prison sentence as a result of the abuse, with the crime constituted as an insult crime. He is the first Turkish footballer to be sentenced for racism.
|Club||Season||League||Cup[nb 1]||Europe[nb 2]||Total|
|Turkey national team|
|Emre – goals for Turkey|
|1.||2 September 2000||Istanbul, Turkey||Moldova||2–0||Win||2002 FIFA World Cup Qualification|
|2.||9 June 2002||Incheon, South Korea||Costa Rica||1–1||Draw||2002 FIFA World Cup|
|3.||20 November 2002||Pescara, Italy||Italy||1–1||Draw||Friendly|
|4.||17 November 2007||Oslo, Norway||Norway||1–2||Win||UEFA Euro 2008 Qualification|
|5.||10 September 2008||Istanbul, Turkey||Belgium||1–1||Draw||2010 FIFA World Cup Qualification|
|6.||9 September 2009||Zenica, Bosnia Herzegovina||Bosnia and Herzegovina||1–1||Draw||2010 FIFA World Cup Qualification|
|7.||11 August 2010||İstanbul, Turkey||Romania||2–0||Win||Friendly|
|8.||10 August 2011||İstanbul, Turkey||Estonia||1–0||Win||Friendly|
|9.||11 September 2012||İstanbul, Turkey||Estonia||1–0||Win||2014 FIFA World Cup Qualification|
- Turkish Süper Lig (3): 1997–98, 1998–99, 1999–2000
- Turkish Cup (2): 1998–99, 1999–2000
- Super Cup (1): 1997
- UEFA Cup (1): 1999–2000
- UEFA Super Cup (1): 2000
- Inter Milan
- Newcastle United
- Atlético Madrid
- "Inter Milan – Squad Profiles". ESPN FC. 11 February 2003. Retrieved 2 February 2017.
- "Emre Belözoglu Profile". ESPN Soccernet.com. Archived from the original on 11 June 2008.
- "Emre Biography". 123football.
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- "Newcastle finalise Belözoğlu transfer". BBC Sport. London. 19 July 2005. Retrieved 16 February 2007.
- "Newcastle 3–2 Sunderland". BBC Sport. 23 October 2005. Retrieved 17 June 2014.
- "Newcastle 1–0 Birmingham" (BBC Sport). 5 November 2005. Retrieved 17 June 2014.
- Mellor, Jason (17 January 2008). "Momentum of messiah leaves Stoke overawed". The Guardian. Retrieved 17 June 2014.
- "H.Şükür: Emre'nin FB'li olduğunu biliyordum!". Forum TR.
- "Hasan Şaş:Emre Fenerbahçe'liydi". Kanaltürk.
- Emre has A. Kocaman's posters hang on his walls Archived 14 March 2012 at the Wayback Machine.
- Doyle, Mark (29 May 2012). "Atletico Madrid confirm Emre signing". Goal.com. Retrieved 17 June 2014.
- "Chelsea 1–4 Atletico Madrid". BBC Sport. 1 September 2012. Retrieved 17 June 2014.
- Emre Belözoğlu returns from Atletico Madrid to FB Archived 7 January 2016 at the Wayback Machine. Turkish-football.com
- sitesi, milliyet.com.tr Türkiye'nin lider haber. "Emre Belözoğlu, Medipol Başakşehir'le anlaştı". milliyet.com.tr. Retrieved 23 March 2018.
- "Pride and prejudice?". Dadyal Online. 24 October 2006. Retrieved 31 December 2012.
- "Reduced penalties for Turkish football association, Huggel and Belözoğlu". FIFA. 24 June 2006. Archived from the original on 6 September 2006. Retrieved 16 February 2007.
- "Reaction to Lord Stevens' key findings". The Times. 15 June 2007.
In relation to Belözoğlu's move from Inter Milan, the inquiry was not prepared to clear the transfer as it was unable to obtain the co-operation of the lead agent, Ahmet Bulut
- "Emre cleared of racism charge". The Guardian. Press Association. 19 March 2007. Retrieved 10 February 2018.
- "FA to probe new Belözoğlu race claims". BBC Sport. London: bbc.co.uk. 16 February 2007. Retrieved 16 February 2007.
- "Diouf drops Emre racism allegation". The Bolton News. 2 March 2007. Retrieved 10 February 2018.
- "Belözoğlu faces new racism allegation". BBC Sport. London. 1 March 2007. Retrieved 14 April 2007.
- "Problem kid Emre to team up with Arda at Atletico". Hurriyet. 30 May 2012. Retrieved 10 February 2018.
- "Trabzonspor's Zokora accuses Belözoğlu of racist slur". goal.com. London. 15 April 2012. Retrieved 15 April 2012.
"Belözoğlu and I came face to face during the match. I'll tell you what he said word for word. He called me: 'A f*cking n*****'," Zokora told Lig TV after the match.
- "Emre Belözoglu imprisoned". BBC Sport.
- "Emre Belözoğlu". Turkish Football Federation. Retrieved 30 May 2012.
- "Emre Belözoğlu". National Football Teams. Benjamin Strack-Zimmerman. Retrieved 30 May 2012.
- "Emre Belözoglu – International Appearances". RSSSF. Retrieved 30 May 2012.
- Inter.it staff, inter(a t)inter.it (17 November 2006). "F.C. Internazionale Milano". Inter.it. Retrieved 14 October 2017.