Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Galatasaray Greatest All-Time Team

2000 UEFA Cup

Please also see my All-Time World Cup Team Index.

GalatasarayFenerbahçe SKBeşiktaş
German Turks 
Galatasaray All-Time Team for foreigners

This is my selection of a 25 member all-time team for the club.  The number 25 was chosen because it is the official squad size for the Champions' League.

Galatasaray is the most successful Turkish football club.  It is one of three teams to have participated in all seasons of the Süper Lig since 1959. Internationally, Galatasaray has won the UEFA Cup and UEFA Super Cup in 2000, becoming the first and only Turkish team to win a major UEFA competition. In the 1999–2000 season, the club achieved the rare feat of completing a quadruple by winning the Süper Lig, the Turkish Cup, the UEFA Cup and the UEFA Super Cup in a single season. Galatasaray is also the only Turkish club to have been ranked first on the IFFHS World Rankings
2015 Super Lig
GK: Turgay Seren (Turkey)
Turgay Seren played his entire career with Galatasaray between 1947 and 1966.  He  was the starting keepers for 15 seasons. He held the most appearance record for the club. He was capped 52 times for Turkey.  He was nicknamed "Berlin Panther" after Turkey upset West Germany 2-1 in in Berlin 1951.  He went to the World Cup Finals in 1954 and played two matches there.

GK: Claudio Taffarel (Brazil)

Claudio Taffarel earned over 100 caps.  He was the starting goalkeeper for the World Cup winning team in 1994. During an 18-year career, he played professionally for six clubs, including Parma, Internacional, Atlético Mineiro and Galatasaray. He won an UEFA Cup with Galatasaray, which was the first ever European trophy for a Turkish club team.

GK: Zoran Simovic (Yugoslavia)
In his professional career, Zoran Simović played for Napredak in Serbia, NK Hajduk Split in Croatia and Galatasaray in Turkey. He was named Yugoslav Footballer of the Year in 1983. He is best remembered as one of the most legendary goalkeepers of Galatasaray S.K., where he played between 1984-1990. He won two championships with Galatasaray in seasons of 1986-87 and 1987-88.  He played 10 times for Yugoslavia between 1983 and 1984.
 Zoran Simovic 
RB: Ümit Davala (Turkey)
Born in Germany, Ümit Davala played mainly in Turkey before joining Galatasaray in 1996. He was a part of their UEFA Cup and UEFA Super Cup winning team in 2000.  He also had stints with both AC Milan and Inter Milan, but never played a single game for Inter Milan.  He was capped 41 times for Turkey. He was in the squad of Euro 2000 and the 2002 FIFA World Cup.

CB: Bülent Korkmaz (Turkey)
Bülent Korkmaz was an all-time great at Galatasaray.  He started his career in 1987 and the fans nicknamed him "Büyük Kaptan" (the Great Captain) there.  He won 29 trophies with the club.  During the 2000 UEFA Cup Final, he dislocated his shoulder, but he refused to leave the field as Galatasaray won the Cup. He is the first player from Turkey to earn 100 caps. He went to the 2002 World Cup Finals.
Bülent Korkmaz 
CB: Gheorghe Popescu  (Romania)
Gheorghe Popescu was perhaps the most famous Romanian defender and the second most important player during Romania's Golden Generation in the 1990's.  He was Romanian Player of the Year 6 times.  He played for a string of European clubs in his career, including Barcelona where he was their captain and a four-year stint at PSV Eindhoven. In 2000, he helped Galatasaray to win the UEFA Cup, the first time ever for a Turkish club. 

CB: Cüneyt Tanman (Turkey)
With the exception of the 1975-76 season where he was loaned to Giresunspor, Cüneyt Tanman played for Galatasaray S.K. during his entire football career. Between 1974 and 1991, he played 533 games for Galatasaray, most of them as the team captain. He also played most positions for the team throughtoutbhis career. For Turkey, he played 19 times.

CB: Capone (Brazil)
Carlos Alberto de Oliveira was better known as Capone. He played for a number of clubs in Brazil, Japan,Turkey and Israel.  Most of his spells did not last more than a season.   However, between 1999 and 2001, he played for Galatasaray in Turkey, where he won the UEFA Cup in 2000 and European Super Cup. It was also his longest stint anywhere in his career.

SW: Fatih Terim (Turkey)
Fatih Terim played for Turkey 51 times between 1974 and 1985 and was the national team captain for 35 international games, setting the national record in both categories at that time. In 1969, Terim began his career with Adana Demirspor. He joined Galatasaray in 1974 and ended his playing career in 1985.  He was also their captain, but he never won the league title.  Today, he is better for being the greatest coach ever from Turkey.
Fatih Terim
LB: Ergün Penbe (Turkey)
Known for his "fair play" approach to the game, having gone through two seasons of football without a single booking. He also received the nickname Kemik (the bone), because of his calmness and ability to hold the team together. He spent most of his professional career with Galatasaray, winning a total of 12 titles. Ergün eared all 48 of his caps coming whilst he was at Galatasaray, in a 12-year span. He  played for Turkey at both UEFA Euro 2000 and the 2002 World Cup.

DM: Emre Belozoglu (Turkey)
In Turkey, Emre Belozoglu spent most of his career with Fenerbahçe and Galatasaray. His past clubs also included Inter Milan, Newcastle United and Atlético Madrid.  He won the UEFA Cup in 2000 with Galatasaray.  With Inter Milan, he was their player of the year for 2002-2003 season, but his later career with them was affected by injuries. He played with Turkey that went to the semi-finals at the 2002 World Cup and at Euro 2008.

DM: Suat Kaya (Turkey)
Suat Kaya's career was all but associated with Galatasaray, with which he won major titles including and the 2000 UEFA Cup. Over the course of 16 seasons, he amassed Süper Lig totals of 353 games and 44 goals.  He also played for Konyaspor from 1987 to 1992. He earned 15 caps.  He represented Turkey at the European Championship in 2000.

CM: Tugay Kerimoglu (Turkey)

Tugay Kerimoglu was a part of Turkey's Golden Generation in 2000's.  He was capped 94 times for Turkey between 1992 and 2006.  He went to the Euro 1996, Euro 2000 and the 2002 World Cup.  He was a deep-lying midfielder who played mainly with Galatasaray and Blackburn Rovers.  He had a brief stint with Rangers in Scotland. He was the youngest ever captain at Galatasaray. He was named Blackburn's Player of the Year in the 2003–04 campaign. 
Tugay Kerimoglu

RM: Okan Buruk (Turkey)
Okan played for Galatasaray between 1991 and 2001, winning six Turkish Süper Lig titles and the 1999–2000 UEFA Cup. He was also named man of the match as Galatasary upset Real Madrid 2–1 to win the 2000 UEFA Super Cup. In 2001, he was signed by Intyer Milan. He also played for Beşiktaş and İstanbul Büyükşehir Belediyespor.  Okay was capped 58 times, representing Turkey at Euro 2000 and the 2002 World Cup. 

LW: Xhevat Prekazi (Yugoslavia)
Of Kosovar Albanian descent, Xhevat Prekazi started his career with Partizan Belgrade in 1976, but it was his career with Galatasaray that defined him.  He played for them between 1985 and 1991. He is considered one of the club's greatest player.  He led them to the semi-final of the European Cup in 1989. He only played youth international matches.

LW/RW/AM: Arda Turan (Turkey)

At the time of writing, he earned 78 caps for Turkey.  He started his career with Galatasaray and moved to Atletico Madrid in 2011.  He had a major role as Atletico Madrid won the La Liga title and reached the Champions' league Final in the 2013 to 2014 season. Turan transfered to Barcelona in 2015, despite Barcelona had a transfer ban. He also won Turkey's Player of the Year 3 times.

LW/FW: Hasan Şas (Turkey)

Hasan Şas had 40 caps for Turkey.  He was best remembered as a member of Turkey's Golden Generation that finished 3rd at the World Cup  Finals in 2002. H scored a goal against Brazil. He was voted into the team of the tournament.  He played mainly with Galatasaray, where he won the UEFA Cup and European Super Cup in 2000.  He never played outside of Turkey. He retired in 2009.

AM: Gheorghe Hagi (Romania)

Nicknamed "The Maradona of the Carpathians", Gheorghe Hagi  was probably the best player in Romanian football history.  He was named Romanian Footballer of the Year seven times.  He had 124 caps. He led Romania to the quarter-final in the1994 World Cup Finals.  He scored one of the most memorable goals of that tournament.  Fir club football, he was best remembered for wining the UEFA Cup with Galatasaray, the first ever Euopean trophy by a Turkish club.
Gheorghe Hagi

AM: Wesley Sneijder (Netherlands)
Sneijder emerged from the Ajax Academy before making to the first team in 2002.  He moved to Real Madrid in 2007, where he won a La Liga title in 2006-2007.  He also won a Champions' League title with Inter Milan in 2009-2010.  At the time of writing, he has 114 caps for Holland.  He was the star player for Holland as they reached the Final of South Africa 2010. He won the Silver Ball.  He moved to Galatasaray in 2013.
Wesley Sneijder 
FW: Gündüz Kılıç (Turkey)
Gündüz Kılıç started his career in 1934 with Galatasaray and stayed there until 1953. He took a break from his career in 1938, moving to Germany for a university education. He represented Turkey 11 times.  He was known as the most influential coach in Turkish football's history.  His influence was known as the "Gündüz Kılıç Revolution".

FW: Suat Mamat (Turkey)
Suat Mamat played in Turkey for Ankara Demirspor, Galatasaray S.K., Beşiktaş J.K. and Vefa S.K. Mamat made 27 appearances for the full Turkey national football team, including appearing in two matches at the 1954 FIFA World Cup finals.  Against West Germany, he scored Turkey's first ever goal in World Cup history. 

FW: Gökmen Özdenak (Turkey)
Gökmen Özdenak started with İstanbulspor. From 1967 to 1972, he played for Galatasaray. He won 4 league championship and 2 Turkish Cup.  He was capped 9 times between 1972 and 1979. His only goal for Turkey came in 1975 against Romania. His nickname was "Ayı Gökmen" (English, "Gökmen the Bear"). Both of his brothers were footballers. 

ST:  Metin Oktay (Turkey)
Metin Oktay was an idol during his time.  He even starred himself in his own movie about his own life.  He was a prolific goal scorer.  He almost broke every single record in Turkish football during his career.  He is the all-time leading scorer for the club.  In 1960, Oktay divorced his wife Oya Sarı because she wanted him to play for his old club İzmirspor.  He was capped 36 times.  He spent most of his career with Galatasaray, but also spent the 1961-1962 season in Italy with Palermo.  
Metin Oktay
ST: Tanju Colak (Turkey)
Tanju Colak  had a lifetime total of 240 goals and took over the title of top goal scorer in the Turkish Super League by breaking the legendary record of Metin Oktay.  With Galatasaray, he scored 37 goals in 1987-1988, winning the European Golden Boot, the only Turkish player to win the award.  Galatasaray also reached the semi-final of the 1988-1989 European Cup. He also played for  Samsunspor, Fenerbahçe and İstanbulspor.  Capped 31 times.

ST: Hakan Sukur  (Turkey)

Nicknamed the "Bull of the Bosphorus", Hakan Sukur is the all-time leading scorer for Turkey.  He represented Turkey at UEFA Euro 1996 , Euro 2000  and the 2002 FIFA World Cup.  In Japan/Korea, Turkey finished 3rd, their greatest achievement in international football. He helped Galatasaray to win the first European trophy for a Turkish club when it won the UEFA Cup in 1999. He also played for Inter Milan, Parma and Blackburn Rovers.
Hakan Sukur 
Honorable Mention
Faryd Mondragón (Colombia), Reinhard Stumpf (Germnay), Kubilay Türkyýlmaz (Switzerland), Ulrich van Gobbel (Netherlands), Mario Jardel (Brazil), Bülent Eken (Turkey), Cüneyt Tanman (Turkey), Yusuf Altıntaş (Turkey), Coşkun Özarı (Turkey), Arif Erdem (Turkey), Lincoln (Brazil), Semih Yuvakuran (Turkey), Hakan Ünsal (Turkey), Emre Aşık (Turkey), Arif Erdem (Turkey), Boris Nikolov (Bulgaria), Nihat Bekdik (Turkey), Yasin Özdenak (Turkey), Fernando Muslera (Uruguay).

Squad Explanation
-- Galatasaray won the UEFA Cup in 2000.  The trophy was the club's highest honour.  It was also Turkey's greatest moment in football's history.  I selected twelve players on that team to be on my all-time team: Claudio Taffarel, Hakan Sukur, Emre Belozoglu, Bülent Korkmaz, Ümit Davala, Gheorghe Popescu, Capone, Suat Kaya, Ergün Penbe, Okan Buruk, Hasan Şas and of course, Gheorghe Hagi. Those players also have better name recognition outside of Turkey, due to exposure because of the UEFA Cup as well as winning the UEFA Super Cup later that year.  Galatasaray also featured 5 players at the 2002 World Cup Finals in which Turkey finish third.  They were the Golden Generation of Turkish football.
-- Gheorghe Hagi joined the club at the age of 31.  He was already known as the greatest Romanian player ever.  However, his club career outside Romania failed to live up expectations. With Galatasaray, he found his club successes. He captained the side that won the UEFA Cup in 2000.  He won the Turkish Footballer of the Year award three times: 1996, 1999, 2000.  He is probably the club's greatest player.  His brother-in-law and Romanian teammate Gheorghe Popescu was also one of the club's greatest foreign signings.
-- Hakan Şükür is widely considered to be Turkey's greatest player in the modern era.  He is the second leading scorer for Galatasaray as well as second in appearance.  
-- Galatasaray reached the semi-final of 1988-1989 European Cup. Zoran Simović, Xhevat Prekazi and Tanju Colak were their leading players. Tanju Colak won the European Golden Boot that season. 
-- Faryd Mondragón often got mentioned among the best ever keeper for the club, but I went with Claudio Taffarel.  He was rewarded for the UEFA Cup in 2000.  Zoran Simović was also rewarded for the 1989 semi-final performance at the European Cup.  So I have no room for Mondragon.  Yasin Özdenak got some name recognition due to the fact that he played with NY Cosmos in the 1970's with Pele and Franz Beckenbauer. He was also Turkish Football of the Year in 1969.  In NASL, he used the name Erol Yasin. He is on my honourable mention, but his brother Gökmen Özdenak is on this all-time team.  Gökmen Özdenak played for the club between 1967 and 1980.
-- Goalkeeper Turgay Seren played his entire career with Galatasaray between 1947 and 1966. He starred for the national team as well.  
-- Bülent Korkmaz won 29 trophies with the club.  He was known for his leadership.
-- Fatih Terim is probably Turkey's greatest coach.  As a player, he spent 10 seasons with Galatasaray.  He played 428 matches for the club.  
-- Bülent Korkmaz shared a similar moment.  His nickname was "Cengaver" (Warrior).  He refused to leave the field after dislocating his shoulder in the 2000 UEFA Cup Final against Arsenal.  With Gheorghe Hagi sent off and all three substitutes used, he helped the club to force a penalty shootout.
-- Wesley Sneijder's selection probably had to do with his name recognition.  Didier Drogba was another big name who played for this club, but he only played a single season here.
-- Nicknamed the Taçsız Kral or "King without a crown", Metin Oktay is the all-time leading scorer for the club.   During a Derby match against Galatasaray's archrivals Fenerbahçe in 1959, he hit the ball hard enough to open a hole in the opponents' goal net. 
-- Boris Nikolov is honoured with a place on the honourable mention list for his contributions to the early history of the club.  He was one of the club's founders as well as the team's first player-manager.  He was believed to be one of the founders of PFC Slavia Sofia in Bulgaria too.
-- Bülent Eken and Yusuf Altıntaş were all good centerbacks, but no space for them.
-- I decided to take 5 centerbacks.  Semih Yuvakuran who usually played left back was not selected.
-- Gündüz Kılıç was selected as a pioneer for the club.  He was at one point a player-coach.  His coaching career here was nicknamed "Gündüz Kılıç Revolution".  He led the club into a new dawn.



  1. That is not the best team for Galatasaray I have been a galatasaray fan my whole life that is definetly not it

  2. Hi Lincoln.
    First of all, I admire your efforts on building such a great soccer blog.
    As a Turkish soccer and sports history lover, I would like to give you some suggestions on Turkish all time teams if you mind. Here I go with Galatasaray :
    *** To begin with, goalkeeper should be "Fernando Muslera" at all costs. 5 league trophies in 8 seasons, and a couple of local trophies; magnificent! The Uruguayan has already stolen hearts of entire Galatasaray fans. Europen matches are statistically deceptive as Galatasaray has played with weaker teams recent years. Other selections for this position should be 'Taffarel' and 'Simovic'.
    Turgay Şeren, Mondragon and Yasin Özdenak would better set for honorable mentions.
    *** I agree with your selection of "Ümit Davala" for right back spot, as he is good both defensive ve offensively as a wing-back, while Brazilian 'Capone' should set for alternative.
    Sabri Sarıoğlu, Fatih Akyel, İsmail Demiriz and Emmanuel Eboue should be set for honorable mentions.
    *** Left back should be "Hakan Ünsal" slightly in front of 'Ergün Penbe', as he contributes greatly to team attacks, having a powerful left feet.
    Hakan Balta, Semih Yuvakuran, Albert Riera and Yuto Nagatomo should set for honorable mentions.
    *** Central defenders ought to be "big captain" "Bülent Korkmaz" and "Gheorghe Popescu", as they cannot be considered seperate from each other for Galatasaray history. Korkmaz was a devoted and well attributed defender, while Popescu was good with ball and playmaking from back. 'Tomas Ujfalusi', and one-club man 'Cüneyt Tanman' would be strong alternatives for your 25-men main squad.
    Deutschman Reinhald Stumpf, Rigobert Song, Emre Aşık, Yusuf Altıntaş, Erhan Önal, Servet Çetin, Vedat İnceefe, Gökhan Zan and Mert Korkmaz would be great fits for honorable mentions. Fatih Terim was not as a great footballer compared to his coaching career.
    *** Such as the the central defender couple, defensive/central midfield position is also owned by 2 main men: "Suat Kaya" and "Tugay Kerimoğlu". This couple is a Turkish version of Ac Milan's Gattuso and Pirlo, respectively. Tugay was so good as a deep-lying playmaker. Brazilian 'Felipe Melo' and 'Selçuk İnan' would make strong alternatives, while these two are complementary as well. Selçuk İnan was labeled as 'Turkish Xavi' at his prime.
    Fernando Reges, Muhammed Altıntaş, and Hamza Hamzaoğlu should set for honorable mentions. Emre Belözoğlu should be omitted as he is infamous among Galatasaray fans, as he has signed for rivals Fenerbahçe and built his local prime career there.
    *** For central/attacking midfield positions, 3 big star should be take in serious consideration: Romanian legend "Gheorge Hagi", "Wesley Sneijder" and Kosovan "Xhevat Prekazi". No description is needed for these 3 Galatasaray legends.
    Cassio Lincoln, Falko Götz, Younes Belhanda and Uğur Tütüneker should make up honorable mentions.
    *** For winger and side midfield spots, 'Hasan Şaş', 'Arda Turan' and 'Okan Buruk' should make up your 25 men squad.
    Harry Kewell, Abdul Kader Keita, Sofiane Feghouli, Engin Baytar and Emre Çolak should be placed as honorable mentions...

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    2. *** Galatasaray has had so many great strikers throughout their history. All time striker should be "Metin Oktay" as he is the symbol of Galatasaray history with his scoring virtues and 'one-club' passionate personality. He had immediately rejected a far more higher contract offer from rivals Fenerbahçe. He has a statue in İzmir. 'Hakan Şükür', 'Mario Jardel' and ‘Gündüz Kılıç’ should be taken as alternatives of your 25 men squad.
      Tanju Çolak has also played for rivals Fenerbahçe as one of his prime levels, so he should be dropped to honorable mentions in my opinion. Besides Çolak; Didier Drogba, Milan Baros, Ümit Karan, Burak Yılmaz, Arif Erdem, Necati Ateş, Johan Elmander, Shabani Nonda, Bafetimbi Gomis, Lukas Podolski, Umut Bulut, Adrian Ilie, Kubilay Türkyılmaz and Saffet Sancaklı should make up your honorable mentions.

      >>> To sum up, Galatasaray All Time team should play as a 4-2-3-1 direct wingless formation, thanks to presence of attacking wing-backs Hakan Ünsal and Ümit Davala, to play wide when desired. There were so many great captains, but Bülent Korkmaz deserves the main spot. Manager should be Fatih Terim and his mastermind Jupp Derwall.

      >>> Thanks for reading and you may take this in consideration if you would like.
      Keep up the good work Lincoln.

    3. OVERVIEW:
      ümit davala, (c)bülent korkmaz, popescu, hakan ünsal
      suat kaya, tugay
      hagi, sneijder, prekazi
      metin oktay.
      (manager: fatih terim).

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  4. Simović
    Davala Popescu Korkmaz Ünsal
    A.Turan Tugay Hagi
    T.Çolak Şükür

    Simović was three times player of the year, squaring with Hagi.
    Tanju Çolak may have played for other clubs. But he was key for Galataseray's best ever EC1 performance. And he was European top scorer 1st place with 39 goals in 1987–1988 and European top scorer 2nd place , with 31 goals in 1990–1991 while at Galatasaray.
    Oktay was a hard hitting striker. He took many shots and did well in the local competition. However, he did not succeed abroad and won little when the national league formalized. He is the third striker.
    Hakan Şükür, with a record 5 times player of the year award, cannot be ommited.