TURKISH league leaders Istanbul Basaksehir have announced the signing of national hero Arda Turan on loan from Barcelona, with an incredible airport brawl breaking out on his arrival.
“Arda Turan is returning to his country wearing the orange kit (of Basaksehir). This is not just a transfer for Basaksehir, but a transfer for all of Turkey,” club president Goksel Gumusdag said in a statement.
Turan was welcomed by around a hundred supporters wearing orange scarves at Istanbul Ataturk airport on Saturday evening and holding “Welcome Arda Turan” signs.
However, a brawl erupted at one point between fans and the police as Turan arrived while one fan fainted.
The crowd shouted angry slogans at the police: “We are not terrorists but supporters!”
Turan was in high spirits, smiling and waving at the crowd, telling reporters he was “very happy” with the move.
“I’m here not just for short-term goals, but for long-term success,” he was quoted as saying by Hurriyet daily.
Basaksehir have risen rapidly over the last two seasons to rival the established Istanbul triumvirate of Besiktas, Fenerbahce and Galatasaray.
Turan issued a heartfelt farewell message on Twitter, explaining that playing for Barcelona was a “wildest dream” and he was “proud” to make it happen.
The 30-year-old joined Barcelona in 2015 after four successful seasons with Atletico Madrid but has been unable to hold down a first team place.
Turan receives an annual salary of around eight million euros at the Catalan club, according to Spanish media.
He quit international football last June after former coach Fatih Terim threw him out of a training camp following a fracas with a reporter on a plane.
Turan then declared two months later he was ready for a recall. Turan has also expressed open support for President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, attending rallies to back “my commander-in-chief” following the July 2016 attempted coup.
Meanwhile, Barcelona have unveiled new defender Yerry Mina, who took off his shoes and socks before stepping onto the field at Camp Nou Stadium during his official introduction to fans.
For the young Colombian, it was an important first step into his new home.
“There is a verse in life that says that the soles of your feet will touch the land that you want to conquer,” Mina said. “And I want to make history here. I want to triumph.”
MALIAN FORWARD DIABATE SIGNS FOR LEICESTER
Malian forward Fousseni Diabate signed for Premier League side Leicester City from French Ligue 2 outfit Ajaccio on Saturday the English club announced.
The France-born 22-year-old has represented Mali at Under-20 and under-23 level. “Leicester City Football Club have completed a deal to sign highly-rated attacker Fousseni Diabate from French Ligue 2 side Gazelec Ajaccio for an undisclosed fee,” read the club’s statement.
“The 22-year-old Mali youth international, who can play as both a central striker and on either wing, has signed a four-and-a-half-year deal at King Power Stadium.” Diabate has made 20 appearances for Ajaccio this term.
VAN PERSIE HEADING HOME TO FEYENOORD
Dutch striker and record goalscorer Robin van Persie is heading home to rejoin his boyhood club Feyenoord according to Dutch media reports.
“Not everything is completely sorted out yet, but it seems to be moving in the right direction,” a club official told the ANP news agency.
Van Persie is expected to undergo a medical at the weekend, Dutch media added. The 34-year-old former Arsenal captain and ex-Manchester United star is still under contract with Turkish giants Fenerbahce.
Once named as the Dutch Football Association’s young talent of the year, Van Persie remains the country’s top, all-timer scorer having scored 50 goals in 102 internationals.
After starting out with Excelsior, he made his debut for Feyenoord in 2002, before transferring to Arsenal in 2004, eventually becoming captain in 2011-2012.
He transferred to Manchester United in August 2012 for a fee of over £27 million (30 million euros). He moved to Fenerbahce in July 2015.
LANDON DONOVAN MAKES MEXICAN COMEBACK
Landon Donovan, the all-time US goals co-leader, has come out of retirement for a second time at age 35 to play for Mexican League club Leon.
Donovan, the all-time Major League Soccer scoring leader whose career included brief stints with Everton and Bayern Munich, confirmed the deal on Twitter after an overnight announcement on the Mexican team’s Twitter account.
“The brave don’t live forever but the cautious do not live at all. I’m excited for this new adventure,” Donovan tweeted.
It followed a Twitter exchange by Donovan in which he praised the city of Leon and mentioned a desire to wear green and win trophies for Leon, noting in Spanish: “I don’t believe in walls.”
He’s not a great believer in staying retired, either. He first comeback came in 2016 when he made six appearances for the Los Angeles Galaxy, returning to retirement after they were eliminated by Colorado in the MLS playoffs.
Donovan has 145 goals and set up 136 others in his MLS career, which began with the San Jose Earthquakes from 2001-2004 until he joined the Galaxy.
He captured two league titles with San Jose and four more with Los Angeles, the last of them in 2014 before his first retirement and after being snubbed by Jurgen Klinsmann for a spot on the 2014 Brazil World Cup squad.
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