The Turkish national team's new coach Mircea Lucescu included Turkey's former captain and Barcelona midfielder, Arda Turan, in the provisional squad for the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifiers as he unveiled the list on Friday.
The Romanian coach named 26 players for the two qualifiers in early September against Ukraine and Croatia. The two names that stood out in the squad were Turan, who announced his retirement from international football after being kicked out of a training camp by former coach Fatih Terim for allegedly verbally and physically abusing a journalist, and Emre Belözoğlu, the former Fenerbahçe veteran now playing for Medipol Başakşehir, who made his last appearance in the international arena three years ago.
The squad includes four players from Fenerbahçe, 3 players from Galatasaray, Borussia Dortmund and Trabzonspor each, and two from both Beşiktaş and Başakşehir. Lucescu also named one player each from Bursaspor, Milan, Fortuna Dusseldorf, Roma, Malaga, Freiburg, Barcelona, Villarreal, and Wolfsburg.
Soon after Lucescu replaced Terim, Turan expressed his willingness to return to national team duty. Lucescu also said that when he signed a two-year contract with a one-year renewal option he would request Turan to play again for the national team.
"The team needs him and he needs the team," he said.
Turan debuted in Turkey in 2006 when he was 19 years old.
Considered a key player for the national squad, Turan scored 16 goals and had 25 assists in 97 matches for the team.
The 2018 provisional Turkey squad:
Goalkeepers: Cenk Gönen (Malaga), Harun Tekin (Bursaspor), Volkan Babacan (Medipol Başakşehir)
Defenders: Kaan Ayhan (Fortuna Düsseldorf), Şener Özbayraklı (Fenerbahçe), Çağlar Söyüncü (Freiburg), Mehmet Topal (Fenerbahçe), İsmail Köybaşı (Fenerbahçe), Caner Erkin (Beşiktaş), Serdar Aziz (Galatasaray), Ömer Toprak (Borussia Dortmund)
Midfielders: Emre Belözoğlu (Medipol Başakşehir), Arda Turan (Barcelona), Emre Mor (Borussia Dortmund), Selçuk İnan (Galatasaray), Cengiz Ünder (Roma), Ozan Tufan (Fenerbahçe), Nuri Şahin (Borussia Dortmund), Yusuf Yazıcı (Trabzonspor), Yunus Mallı (Wolfsburg), Hakan Çalhanoğlu (Milan), Okay Yokuşlu (Trabzonspor), Tolga Ciğerci (Galatasaray)
Forwards: Enes Ünal (Villarreal), Burak Yılmaz (Trabzonspor), Cenk Tosun (Beşiktaş)