Mehmet Topal (born 3 March 1986) is a Turkish professional footballer who plays for İstanbul Başakşehir F.K. as a defensive midfielder. He is nicknamed Örümcek (Spider), due to his ability to use his long legs to win loose balls or cut passes.[1][2]

Mehmet Topal
AUT vs. TUR 2016-03-29 (320).jpg
Topal with Turkey in 2016
Personal information
Full name Mehmet Topal
Date of birth (1986-03-03) 3 March 1986 (age 33)
Place of birth Malatya, Turkey
Height 1.87 m (6 ft 1 12 in)
Playing position Defensive midfielder
Club information
Current team
İstanbul Başakşehir
Number 5
Youth career
1999–2002 Malatyaspor
2002–2004 Dardanelspor
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
2004–2006 Dardanelspor 42 (4)
2006–2010 Galatasaray 82 (2)
2010–2012 Valencia 43 (1)
2012–2019 Fenerbahçe 206 (16)
2019– İstanbul Başakşehir 8 (0)
National team
2006–2007 Turkey U21 13 (1)
2008– Turkey 81 (2)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 22 November 2019
‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 20 November 2018

He has spent most of his career with Galatasaray and Fenerbahçe, winning five major trophies both clubs combined. He also had a two-year spell in La Liga, with Valencia.

A Turkish international since 2008, Topal represented the nation in two European Championships.

Club careerEdit

Early yearsEdit

Born in Malatya, Topal started his football career at local Malatya B.S. at the age of 13. He made his senior debuts with lowly Dardanel Spor A.Ş. in the third division.

In September 2006, Topal joined Süper Lig powerhouse Galatasaray SK, moving to the club alongside Japanese Junichi Inamoto.

GalatasarayEdit

Topal appeared in only 11 games in his first season in Istanbul. However, due to an injury to Swedish international Tobias Linderoth, he was handed his chance in the starting XI, later commenting on his teammate: "He helped me a lot, told me about the areas I should improve and how to do so. Sadly, I got my chance through his injury but I want him to recover in the shortest time possible."[3]

In April 2008, Topal extended his contract with Gala for five years, having played 26 matches during the campaign to help the team win the national championship and also reaching the Turkish national team in that timeframe. In the 2008 summer transfer window, there were rumours surrounding a move to Everton in the Premier League, with David Moyes apparently keen to bring the player to Goodison Park.[4][5][6]

Topal eventually stayed put, appearing in an average of 22 games in the following seasons but also having to deal with injury early into 2009–10.

ValenciaEdit

Topal signed for Valencia CF on 12 May 2010, for a fee believed to be in the region of 5.5 million.[7] On 14 September, he made he first UEFA Champions League appearance with his new club, playing the full 90 minutes against Turkish side Bursaspor in a 4–0 group stage win.[8]

Topal scored his first goal with the Che at Sporting de Gijón, on 25 September 2010 (2–0).[9] In the UEFA Europa League, he netted the game's only goal away against Stoke City on 17 February 2012 in the round of 32 to take his side through 2–0 on aggregate; the 30-yard strike was widely regarded as one of the best goals of that tournament.[10] He contributed with six games to help his team reach the semifinals of the latter competition, but overall played second-fiddle to legendary David Albelda during his stint even though the former was ostracized by manager Unai Emery for a period of time.[11][12]

FenerbahçeEdit

 
Topal with Fenerbahçe in 2016

On 1 July 2012, Topal moved to Fenerbahçe SK for a reported fee of €4.5 million. He signed a four-year contract with a €2 million annually salary, plus bonuses.[13][14][15] He contributed with 27 games and three goals in his second season, as the club won the national championship after a three-year wait.

On 11 August 2015, whilst he drove home after training accompanied by youth player Uygar Mert, Topal's car was shot at by unknown men.[16][17] He appeared in 11 games in the Europa League round-of-16 run and, precisely in that stage, against S.C. Braga, he scored the only goal in the first leg at the Şükrü Saracoğlu Stadium;[18] in the second match, he was sent off for two bookable offenses – the second of which resulted in a penalty – as his team had a further two players ejected in an eventual 4–2 aggregate loss.[19]

On 26 June 2019, the 33-year-old Topal left by mutual consent.[20][21]

Istanbul BaşakşehirEdit

On 26 August 2019, Topal joined İstanbul Başakşehir F.K. on a two-year deal, the last one being optional.[22]

International careerEdit

Topal earned his first cap for Turkey on 6 February 2008, coming on for Emre Belözoğlu in the 78th minute of a 0–0 friendly home draw with Sweden. Shortly after, he was selected by manager Fatih Terim for his UEFA Euro 2008 squad,[23] playing all the games in Austria and Switzerland but one for the eventual semi-finalists.

On 22 May 2016, Topal captained the nation for the first time, in their 1–2 friendly loss to England at the City of Manchester Stadium.[24] A week later, he scored his first international goal on his 58th cap, the only one of a last-minute victory over Montenegro in Antalya.[25] Picked for Euro 2016,[26] he started in all the matches, featuring as a central defender in a 0–3 group stage defeat against Spain.[27]

Career statisticsEdit

ClubEdit

As of 26 June 2019[28][29]
Club Season League Cup[nb 1] Europe Total
Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Dardanelspor 2004–05 9 1 - - - - 9 1
2005–06 30 3 1 0 - - 31 3
Total 39 4 1 0 0 0 40 4
Galatasaray
2006–07 11 0 2 0 4 0 17 0
2007–08 26 1 8 1 5 0 39 2
2008–09 21 1 5 0 6 0 32 1
2009–10 24 0 4 0 8 1 36 1
Total 82 2 19 1 23 1 124 4
Valencia
2010–11 23 1 1 0 5 0 29 1
2011–12 20 0 1 0 9 2 30 2
Total 43 1 2 0 14 2 59 3
Fenerbahçe
2012–13 27 3 8 1 16 0 51 4
2013–14 27 3 1 0 3 0 31 3
2014–15 33 2 8 2 0 0 41 4
2015–16 33 1 7 0 13 2 53 3
2016–17 29 4 5 0 11 0 45 4
2017–18 29 2 8 1 4 0 41 3
2018–19 28 1 2 1 6 1 36 3
Total 206 16 37 5 47 3 290 24
Career total 370 23 59 6 84 6 513 35

InternationalEdit

 
Topal (left) alongside Ahmet Yılmaz Çalık
As of 20 November 2018[30]
Turkey
Year Apps Goals
2008 11 0
2009 2 0
2010 3 0
2011 6 0
2012 10 0
2013 8 0
2014 6 0
2015 8 0
2016 13 1
2017 6 0
2018 8 1
Total 81 2

International goalsEdit

As of 23 March 2018 (Turkey score listed first, score column indicates score after each Topal goal)[30]
International goals by date, venue, cap, opponent, score, result and competition
No. Date Venue Cap Opponent Score Result Competition
1 29 May 2016 Antalya Arena, Antalya, Turkey 58   Montenegro 1–0 1–0 Friendly
2 23 March 2018 Antalya Arena, Antalya, Turkey 74   Republic of Ireland 1–0 1–0 Friendly

HonoursEdit

Galatasaray[31]

Fenerbahçe[31]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Summerscales, Robert (20 April 2016). "Mehmet Topal to Tottenham on free transfer agreed in principle". Caught Offside. Retrieved 7 November 2017.
  2. ^ Sarigul, Emre (7 June 2016). "Shot at twice and still thriving: Mehmet 'The Spider' Topal is Turkey's rock". Bleacher Report. Retrieved 7 November 2017.
  3. ^ "Mehmet Topal GS TV'ye Konuştu" [Mehmet Topal GS TV chat] (in Turkish). Galatasaray SK. 19 May 2008. Retrieved 21 June 2012.
  4. ^ Hunter, Andy (29 August 2008). "Everton line up Topal as fall-back if Sporting rebuff Moutinho bid". The Guardian. Retrieved 21 June 2012.
  5. ^ "Everton may go for Turkey star Mehmet Topal". Liverpool Echo. 10 July 2008. Retrieved 21 June 2012.
  6. ^ "Everton FC are priced out of Mehmet Topal deal". Liverpool Daily Post. 17 July 2008. Retrieved 21 June 2012.
  7. ^ "Topal se suma al Valencia de Champions" [Topal added to Champions' Valencia]. Las Provincias (in Spanish). 13 May 2010. Retrieved 21 June 2012.
  8. ^ Pardo Latre, Clara (14 September 2010). "El Valencia sale líder del infierno turco" [Valencia emerge leader from Turkish hell]. Diario AS (in Spanish). Retrieved 27 July 2012.
  9. ^ Malagón, Manuel (25 September 2010). "El Valencia se gusta" [Valencia enjoying themselves]. Marca (in Spanish). Retrieved 21 June 2012.
  10. ^ "Potters undone at home". ESPN Soccernet. 16 February 2012. Retrieved 27 July 2012.
  11. ^ Calero, Toni (12 April 2012). "Topal: "Albelda es nuestro primer capitán, un jugador muy importante"" [Topal: "Albelda is our first captain, a very important player"]. Las Provincias (in Spanish). Retrieved 18 March 2016.
  12. ^ Ros, Cayetano (20 April 2012). "Emery entona el adiós" [Emery rehearses goodbye]. El País (in Spanish). Retrieved 18 March 2016.
  13. ^ "Topal signs four-year contract with Fenerbahçe". Hürriyet Daily News. 1 July 2012. Retrieved 1 July 2012.
  14. ^ "Mehmet Topal Fenerbahçe'de" [Mehmet Topal to Fenerbahçe] (in Turkish). Fenerbahçe SK. 1 July 2012. Retrieved 1 July 2012.
  15. ^ "Fenerbahce swoop for Valencia's Topal". ESPN Star Sports. 1 July 2012. Retrieved 1 July 2012.
  16. ^ Sarigul, Emre (11 August 2015). "Fenerbahce confirm Mehmet Topal's car was shot at in attack after training". The Guardian. Retrieved 12 August 2015.
  17. ^ "Fenerbahce midfielder Mehmet Topal's car shot at after training". ESPN FC. 11 August 2015. Retrieved 12 August 2015.
  18. ^ "Mehmet Topal gives Fenerbahçe edge over Braga". UEFA. 10 March 2016. Retrieved 18 March 2016.
  19. ^ "Braga put an end to Fenerbahçe hopes". UEFA. 17 March 2016. Retrieved 18 March 2016.
  20. ^ "Mehmet Topal'la yollar ayrıldı" [Mehmet Topal leaves organisation] (in Turkish). NTV Spor. 26 June 2019. Retrieved 26 June 2019.
  21. ^ "Mehmet Topal'a Teşekkürlerimizle" [Thanks and all the best for Mehmet Topal] (in Turkish). Fenerbahçe S.K. 26 June 2019. Retrieved 23 August 2019.
  22. ^ "Mehmet Topal, Medipol Başakşehir'de" [Mehmet Topal, to Medipol Başakşehir] (in Turkish). NTV Spor. 26 August 2019. Retrieved 30 August 2019.
  23. ^ "UEFA EURO 2008™ squad lists announced" (PDF). UEFA. 28 May 2008. Retrieved 17 June 2016.
  24. ^ Taylor, Daniel (22 May 2016). "Jamie Vardy pounces to give England win against Turkey in friendly". The Guardian. Retrieved 29 May 2016.
  25. ^ "International friendlies: Slovakia shock Germany, Spain stroll past Bosnia". Sport 360. 29 May 2016. Retrieved 29 May 2016.
  26. ^ "Barcelona's Arda Turan leads Turkey Euro 2016 squad". ESPN FC. 31 May 2016. Retrieved 17 June 2016.
  27. ^ "Spain cruise past Turkey to advance to knockout stage". ESPN FC. 17 June 2016. Retrieved 17 June 2016.
  28. ^ "Mehmet Topal" (in Turkish). Mackolik. Retrieved 21 June 2012.
  29. ^ "M. Topal". Soccerway. Retrieved 28 April 2014.
  30. ^ a b "Mehmet Topal". European Football. Retrieved 5 October 2015.
  31. ^ a b "M. Topal – Trophies". Soccerway. Retrieved 26 June 2016.

External linksEdit