Fenerbahçe parts ways with captain Emre Belözoğlu

DAILY SABAH
ISTANBUL
Published

Turkish Spor Toto Super League side Fenerbahçe has parted ways with captain Emre Belözoğlu. The Istanbul club said that the 34-year-old center midfielder is not in the team manager Vitor Pereira's future plans and his deal has not been renewed. Last season Belözoğlu tallied six goals and three assists in 28 matches for Fenerbahçe. Regarded as one of the integral parts of the Istanbul club, Belözoğlu scored 29 goals and produced 24 assists in 201 appearances during his time with Fenerbahçe. However, Belözoğlu received a suspended prison sentence earlier this month over an incident from April 2012 when he was accused of making racist remarks to Trabzonspor's Ivorian midfielder Didier Zokora.

The experienced midfielder won two Spor Toto Super League titles with the club in 2011 and 2014 as well as two back-to-back Ziraat Turkish Cup titles in 2012 and 2013. Belözoğlu joined the Istanbul team in 2008 from Newcastle United for 4.5 million euros ($5 million).

He moved to Atletico Madrid on a free transfer in 2012 before returning to Fenerbahçe in February 2013. Apart from Fenerbahçe, Belözoğlu also played for city rivals Galatasaray and Italian Serie A side Inter Milan. Belözoğlu has been a regular feature on the national team; he has been capped 93 times for Turkey since 2000 when he made his debut. Pele named him in the FIFA 100, a list of the 125 greatest living footballers as a part of FIFA's centenary celebrations. Belözoğlu is expected to join in Başakşehirspor in the next season. He is also famous for his controversial behaviours on pitch. After a post-match brawl in a 2006 World Cup qualification playoff match with Switzerland, Emre was banned for Turkey's next six matches. On Jan. 12, 2007, Emre was charged by The Football Association with using racially-aggravated abusive and/or insulting words in an incident during a 3-0 loss to Everton. On Feb. 16 2007, the FA announced another investigation into alleged racist remarks from Emre, this time aimed against Bolton Wanderers striker El Hadji Diouf. On Apr. 15, 2012, Emre was also accused of making racist comments on the pitch towards Trabzonspor's Didier Zokora.

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