The antagonistic footballer: Arda Turan’s fall from grace

Once lauded as the best his nation had to offer, following Arda Turan’s latest misdemeanour in an Istanbul nightclub, we cast a look over how a string of off-field antics and on-field aggression have contributed to the Turk’s stunning fall from grace.

To call Arda Turan’s move to Barcelona a failure would be an understatement. He arrived at Camp Nou as one of the hottest properties in La Liga, as he was a key cog in Diego Simeone’s Atletico machine. Brought in to add steel to Barcelona’s silk, his time at Barcelona has been anything but a success.

Turan however, seems to have a knack for getting himself caught up in the wrong place at the wrong time. Somewhere along his career, he’s made rash decisions that quickly turned him from an Atletico hero to a Blaugrana outcast.


Towards the end of his final season at Atletico in 2015, the red flags were clearly on show. Famed for their brutish approach on the pitch, Turan’s actions seemed a bit too much even by Atletico’s standards.

Battling Barcelona for a spot in the Copa del Rey semi-final, Atletico and Arda were in the midst of a fiery battle.

Having lost his boot in a tackle, Turan was incensed at not being awarded a free kick by the linesman and in a show of anger threw his boot straight at the him. The boot missed by more than a mile but what was more amusing was the referee’s refusal to send him off, instead deciding to issue only a yellow card. Although in the end it did little to change the result as Simeone’s men were knocked out of the competition 4-2 on aggregate, the seeds of Arda’s reputation had surely been sown by then.


Turan’s form for Barcelona was faltering and as a result he did not play a single minute for Barcelona in the 2017-18 season. The reasons for his exclusions were multifaceted, however, as they seemingly had to do as much with things off the pitch as they did with his on-field performances. What happened with the national team in June 2017 was perhaps ominous as Arda, enraged at an article penned about his pay dispute with the national side, attacked 70 year-old journalist Bilal Meşe.

“Tell me Bilal Meşe, were you there?”, Turan reportedly shouted, going on to grab Bilal by the throat before being restrained by teammates.

Turan’s actions were widely condemned and he announced his retirement from the national team following this incident (a decision he later back-tracked on).

He amazingly did not display any remorse over the incident, instead saying, “Do I regret it? No, I feel like a bird because I never forgot what was said about me.”


Having been loaned out to Istanbul Basaksehir for two and a half seasons in January 2018, Turan’s form seemed fairly stable until May, leading his club to within two points of leaders Galatasaray. He had, however, indeed saved another one of his famous meltdowns for his new side, getting right into the linesman’s face for his failure to award a perceived foul, before pushing him back using both of his hands. The referee immediately sent the former Atletico man off, having had a clear view of the incident.

The Turkish Federation’s disciplinary board followed this up by banning him for a total of 16 matches, making him miss the remaining matches of the season as well as almost half of the next season(this was later reduced to 10 on appeal).

Although seemingly harsh when viewed in isolation, anyone aware of Turan’s past behaviour might argue that such a strong punishment was necessary to put his head back into place. Whether that worked or not is a different story altogether.


Almost at the end of his ban for pushing the referee, Arda Turan felt like hogging the limelight once more. Simply put, he just doesn’t want to seem to stay out of the news. Turan allegedly made suggestive remarks about Berkay’s wife Özlem Şahin in an Istanbul nightclub, which understandably did not go down well with the singer, who sent his wife home so he could have a “man-to-man” with the footballer.

Turan’s version of events then suggest that he punched Berkey and broke his nose, apparently as retaliation for having held Turan from the back of his neck.

It doesn’t end there, with the footballer later having a change of heart, he went on to visit Berkey in the hospital. Unfortunately, his gun “accidentally” went off, all of which seems very suspicious.

At the moment, Turan seems to be swimming in very murky waters and if found guilty of assault could be jailed for as many as 15 years.