There are so many reasons to love Turkish star Arda Turan: his love and respect for boyhood club Galatasary, the immaculate talent he possesses and of course that beard.
Whilst the talent has always been there, it is only in the past couple seasons that the Atletico Madrid magician has received the global praise that his talent deserves.
The reason for that being the case can be laid at Turan’s door. Always regarded as the best player at Galatasary, his sheer brilliance often led to him overdoing it at times, trying to carry the team rather than share the burden.
Turan’s mindset was set on beating that extra player or showcasing the vast of array skills in his locker rather than look for his team-mates.
The quality of Turan’s performances didn’t go unnoticed, however, and a move to Atletico was his reward. The bearded Turk has gone on to be an integral cog in the revolution started by Argentine Diego Simeone which shows no sign of slowing down anytime soon.
Since taking over in 2011, Simeone has displayed traits most commonly found in battle-hardened and seasoned managers to transform an ailing Atletico into one of Europe’s most-feared sides.
Turan is constantly a key fixture in the team and now far more of a team player - thanks to the management of Simeone - than during his Gala days. Playing on the left of a narrow 4-4-2, Turan is given the freedom and license to roam and find gaps in between the opponent's midfield and defence - where his outstanding vision can take centre stage.
Both Turan and young Spanish starlet Koke - who operates on the opposite flank - are tasked with playmaking duties, safe in the knowledge that the midfield duo of Gabi and Tiago are there, providing the steel to shield the back four.
The trickery, the skill and the ability to beat players with ease is something you never lose, but Simeone has instilled into Turan the old saying that there really is no ‘I in team’ and transformed him into the ultimate professional.
Six assists in this impressive season may not be world class statistics to grab your attention, but the link up play and individual skill the Turk possesses really do make up for it. Not only competent going forward, Turan is now noted for his hard work when Atletico aren’t in possession with the number 10 never afraid to go in for a tackle as well as harry and harass the opposition.
Just like Simeone in his playing days, Atletico are a side who play on the edge in a mirror image of their manager and Turan is very much the face of a team who are here to show that there isn’t just one outfit in Madrid.
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