Barcelona midfielder Arda Turan has played for Turkey 97 times, making him the fourth most capped player in national team history. He is only 30 years old, so he was probably headed for the all-time record, but Turan announced yesterday his immediate plans to quit the national team for good after he got into some sort of scuffle with Turkish journalist Bilal Meşe on the team’s flight back from their game in Macedonia.
Turan posted a lengthy statement on Instagram, denouncing journalists who lie and slander his family and confirming that he got into it a bit with “one of those personalities I saw on the national team plane for the first time yesterday.” Reports out of Turkey claim that Turan got mad at Meşe over a column he wrote about the team’s pay dispute with the Turkish Football Federation during Euro 2016 (Turan said last year that negative articles made his mother cry.) Turkish newspaper Hurriyet reports that Turan yelled at Meşe and grabbed his throat before other Turkish players intervened, and that Turan was told by the national team’s coach to leave camp. Turan called his own behavior “honorable” and “esteemed.”
“Did I do right yesterday? I don’t know! Maybe not right, but [it was] at least honest, honorable, esteemed behavior. Did I get an answer? No ... [He] filled up the pages for months, but in front of me he had no more than two words.”
Turan was kicked out of his team’s training camp this morning and announced his retirement shortly after.
Meanwhile, the Barcelona outcast is the subject of transfer rumors, and he may head to the Premier League. Good thing the press there is so well-behaved and hands-off.