Galatasaray and Turkey legend Hakan Sukur is well known for his achievements on the football pitch.
But since his retirement from the game, Sukur has been on an unfortunate journey that’s left him living in exile in the United States.
The former striker, who also played for Inter Milan and Blackburn Rovers, moved into politics after hanging up his boots.
However, a falling out with Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan forced Sukur to flee to the US.
Sukur joined Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) in 2011 but quit two years later to run as an independent.
Sukur: ‘I have nothing left’
But he was accused of participating in a failed coup and things started to go wrong from there.
In an interview with German publication Welt am Sonntag in 2020, Sukur explained how he lost everything as a result of his disagreement with Erdogan and fled to the US.
“I have nothing left, Erdogan took everything: my right to liberty, freedom of expression and right to work,” Sukur said, per the Daily Mail.
“Nobody seems able to explain what my role in this coup was supposed to be. I never did anything illegal, I am not a traitor or a terrorist.
Sukur now drives for Uber
“I might be an enemy [of] this government, but not the state or the Turkish nation. I love my country.
“After the split with Erdogan, I started to receive threats. My wife’s shop was attacked, my children were harassed, my father put in prison and all my assets confiscated.
“So I moved to the United States, initially running a cafe in California, but strange people kept coming into the bar. Now I drive for Uber and I sell books.”
It’s a bizarre story that’s also really sad.
In December 2021, The Sun provided an update on Sukur and according to them he’s still working as an Uber driver.
Sukur is still fondly remembered by football fans in Turkey after scoring 51 goals in 112 appearances for his country.
He starred at the 2002 World Cup, guiding Turkey to a third-placed finish in the Japan and South Korea tournament.
Sukur also scored the fastest ever goal in a World Cup finals at the tournament, netting after just 11 seconds in the third place play-off win against South Korea.