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Emre Belozoglu

Emre Belozoglu
Complete Name: Emre Belözoglu
Nationality: Turkish
Place of Birth: Istanbul, Turkey
Date of Birth: 07/09/1980
Height: 171 cm
Weight: 68 kg
National Team: Turkey- A
Current Club: Inter FC (Italy)
Position: Midfielder

Emre Belozoglu Career

Galatasaray (Turkey), Inter FC (Italy)

Emre Belozoglu Honours

2000 European SuperCup winner (Galatasaray)

Emre Belozoglu Pictures

Picture 1 Picture 2 Picture 3


Emre Belözoglu (born 7 September 1980 in Istanbul) is one of the greatest and most highly talented Turkish football players of all time, instrumental in Galatasaray's unbeaten run to a historic UEFA Cup victory in 2000, and Turkey's impressive third-place finish in the 2002 World Cup. He is currently one of the best attacking midfielders at Italian powerhouse Internazionale and the foremost stallion of the Turkish national team.

Belözoglu was discovered and developed by legendary Galatasaray manager Fatih Terim and Turkish giants Galatasaray, making his first appearance for the club's senior squad as a 16-year-old in the 1996-97 season. The following year, he became a regular, and continued with the club through the 2000-01 season, influential in their historic UEFA Cup victory in the year 2000. In 2001, Emre signed for Inter, where he has become a fan favourite, wooing and fascinating the San Siro squad with his passion, charisma, and skill. He was one of the foremost bearers of the Light that transcended a talented Turkish team which finished a surprising third at the 2002 World Cup.

Emre’s fascinating story dawned on the 8th of September 1980, in Apartment #29, at Zeytinburnu, situated within the Bahcekapi estate in Istanbul. His father was a professional football player known as the “Pilich Mehmet” (The Young One), whose career ranged from Yedikulespor, to Edirnespor and Ankara Demirspor. The greatest dream of “Pilich Mehmet” was to wear the famous Galatasaray shirt, but serious injury problems forbade him to achieve such an aspiration.

The Belözoglu family's only hope was little Emre, who at the tender age of 7, shined for his village team, Gunesspor, attracting the eye of many an interested onlooker. Emre's inspiration came from his ever-supportive father, who walked hand-in-hand with him and introduced him to football at the Zeytinburnuspor training ground. Dreams and smiles fill the eager face of the tender boy.

Fatma Belözoglu, Emre’s mother, had seen the problems that her husband had faced over his football career, and thus did not want little Emre to become a professional football player. But his father, ever inspirational and influential, supported Emre and urged him to try. Growing up, Emre started developing into a footballing connoisseur, an ardent fan of Spanish giants F.C. Barcelona, whose games he watched on the TV. He eagerly announced to his little friends at the village that he will one-day wear a Barcelona shirt.

The 29 March 1990 quickly approached, a big day for little Emre, for on this day he became a licensed footballer for Zeytinburnuspor, starting out as an amateur. The fans of Zeytinburnuspor quickly took an interest in Emre, stating his wonderful control with his left foot.

Emre was quickly spotted by the legendary Galatasaray trainer Salih Bulgurlu and noticing his amazing talent, started giving him special training. Bulgurlu, who trained the likes of Galatasaray legends Bulent Under, Mufit Erkasap, Cuneyt Tanman, Korkmaz Bulent, and Buruk Okan, looked after Emre for 4 years, teaching him all the basic techniques, improving and harnessing his fitness and stamina dramatically. When Emre turned 12, every football fan in Istanbul now know him perfectly, as one of the most exciting and startingly fresh players they had ever laid eyes on.

Emre was quickly discovered by the Galatasaray legend Bulent Under, a close friend of legendary Galatasaray manager, Fatih Terim. Under announced, “Wait and see, Salih Bulgurlu, in two years, this teenager will be playing proudly within the battlegrounds of Europe” and pleaded that Emre join Galatasaray.

Emre officially became a Galatasaray player during the 1995 season, fulfilling his and his father's dream. Salih Bulgurlu would now pick him up from school, run on a train to the Florya training grounds, and after the session was over, Bulgurlu would bring him back home.

Even in those early days, Emre dreamed of playing in Europe. He would always ask Bulent about the necessary arrangements one would need to develop for a future career in Europe. Bulent was however unenthusiastic on the matter of Europe, and wanted Emre to first graduate from school, but nevertheless got Emre's aunt to teach him English. During one point, Emre shared an English course with Buruk Okan and Arif. Their relationship was influential for Galatasaray's buildup to the Champions League, and later the Turkish club's historic UEFA Cup victory.

Emre gained much popularity and fame at Galatasaray, earning the reputation of one of the greatest player they had ever seen. During the early days, he would get the train from Zeytinburnu to Florya, but now, he would just skip lessons and take a quick taxi. During the 1998 season, when Emre turned 18, he got his driving license and bought his first ever car, a Mercedes A-140. The level-headed Galatasaray manager Fatih Terim approached Emre, and advised him not to live such a life at such an early stage.

At the end of the 1996-97 season, Galatasaray played against Besiktas. The score was dead-locked at 2-2 with the game nearly over, but Emre scored a screamer at the 83rd minute, winning Galatasaray the game, making them proud champions of the Turkish Championship. After the match, father-figure Terim met Emre, and after seeing a Ł4,000 Rolex watch on his wrist, shouted, “You haven’t even bought a house for your family, yet you’re going around wearing expensive watches, aren’t you at all ashamed of yourself?”. Emre’s eyes reportedly filled up with tears, saying shakily, “The watch is Arif’s, he gifted it to me after I scored the goal against Besiktas". Terim is extremely sorry and replies “Well done to Arif! We should have thought of that.”

Emre, after the two encounters with mentor Fatih Terim, became a changed and much more responsible man, buying a house for his family in 1999, moving to Florya.

Emre performs brilliantly for Galatasaray, combining with Buruk Okan and Hakan Sukur to guide and inspire a highly-talented Galatasaray squad towards a historic and un-beaten run to win the 2000 UEFA Cup, beating Arsenal on penalties to become the only squad in history to win the UEFA Cup un-beaten through-out the entire campaign. 19-year old Emre had by now gained a worldwide reputation as one of the most skillful and talented young players in the entire world, attracting the likes of Internazionale and Arsenal.

As Emre began to feel success, the most devastating moment of his life arrived on the 24th of October 2000. At 5.30 in the morning, Emre was driving from a Belgrad Woods training session with his friends to the Eyüp Cami, a renowned mosque in Istanbul, when he swerved to avoid a car which incorrectly crossed the motorway instead of going over the pedestrian bridge. He attempts to swerve away, but to no avail; he hit the car. Inside was a man that worked as a cleaner for the Gunes Hotel, who later dies. Emre was absolutely devastated, in deep and un-nerving pain. Immediately after the accident, he promised to help the workers family, granting them money, food, and aid, staying in-touch with them, keeping dear to a steadfast promise.

In 2001, Internazionale signed Belözoglu Emre alongside Buruk Okan and Hakan Sukur, forming a great bond between the three. Emre performed admirably, and quickly gained a great fanbase at the San Siro, proving himself as one of the most popular players at the San Siro.

Fatih Terim on Emre: "One morning we had a training session in Florya. In those days, Buruk Okan was a soldier in the army, and he was Emre’s adopted big brother. Whatever Okan said, Emre would do it, and he would never do any thing else. They are both late for training one day, Emre coming in 2 minutes earlier. I ask him where he'd been, and Emre replies that he is very sorry but he cannot tell me. Then Okan comes and says the same thing. But they hide the fact that they were together. I found out later that day that Okan had got permission to leave the army grounds and Emre had left to pick him up, but for some reason when they didn't leave Okan out early, Emre had waited for him the whole time. Of course, he didn’t tell that to me, since he knew I would tell Okan off. I loved this great bond between the two, but I still left out Emre of the lineup for the next game.

Emre had a large role in our UEFA Cup victory. I cannot forget the red card he got in the match against Leeds. We were ahead, and Leeds were lagging behind with 10 men. Then Emre conducted a slightly reckless challenge at a Leeds player, getting a red-card and sent off. When he walked towards the dugout, I pushed him on the back of his neck. For this action of mine, I received much criticism from the media, but I told Emre that I just wanted to bring into light the fact that the referee was right, the audience was right and he was just wrong. We can't all be always right. He was upset, but he accepted the criticism graciously later-on."

Emre was named by Brazilian legend Pelé as one of the top 125 greatest living footballers in March 2004.

Belözoglu is a devout Muslim, and good friends with Buruk Okan, Hakan Sukur, and mentor Fatih Terim.

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