A ridiculous XI of players you had no idea are playing in the Turkish Super Lig
The Turkish Super Lig has produced some real gems over the years, but the likes of Galatasaray, Fenerbahce and Besiktas have also been welcoming to the stars of yesteryear.
Galatasaray have been the outstanding side in the league this year as they currently hold a six-point lead at the top. There’s still plenty to play for though and there’s bound to be some twists and turns to come.
We’ve taken a look throughout the league and compiled an XI of players that you will have probably forgotten are playing in Turkey.
GK: Runar Alex Runarsson
The Icelandic goalkeeper had a tough debut season for Arsenal in 2020-21 and he’s since been shipped out on loan. Now plying his trade for Alanyaspor, he has been given a regular starting spot.
He’s been kept busy between the sticks as he has faced 111 shots throughout the season, which is the second-most in the league.
RB: Bright Osayi-Samuel
Believe it or not, but the former QPR winger is now being utilised as a right-back for Fenerbahce. But he hasn’t been a regular starter this season and has been linked with a move back to England.
There’s no stopping him when he’s in full flow.
👏 QPR's Bright Osayi-Samuel showing just why he's one of the best dribblers in the Championship.
— Sporting Life 🎯🔴🎾⛳️🥊🏏🏉 🏈🏀 (@SportingLifeFC) November 25, 2020
CB: Romain Saiss
The Moroccan captain had a fine World Cup in Qatar and after several successful years with Wolves, he is now playing for Besiktas. Having made over 200 appearances for Wolves, he’ll always be welcome back at Molineux.
CB: Marc Bartra
The Spanish defender was at Barcelona during a great period of success as he won 13 trophies during his seven years with the first team. Bartra was often regarded as the third or fourth choice and so he left in 2016 in search of a starting spot.
After stints with Borussia Dortmund and Real Betis, he now finds himself in Turkey. He has played 1,623 minutes for Trabzonspor this season which is more than he ever managed for Barcelona in a single campaign.
LB: Ezgjan Alioski
Ah Alioski, we still miss his moments of madness at Leeds United. Now playing for Fenerbahce on loan from Al-Ahli, the Premier League isn’t quite the same without him.
Alioski next. A player SO respectful he applauds cardboard fans 👏 pic.twitter.com/alV21UNXgy
— Nooruddean (@BeardedGenius) June 13, 2021
CM: Marek Hamsik
The Slovakian midfielder still holds the record for the most appearances for Napoli with 520. After spending 12 years with the Italian club, he moved on in 2019 and after stints in China and Sweden, he is now in Turkey.
At 35 years old, he’s still got some magic left in his boots yet. This year he has been in and out of the Trabzonspor starting line up and has chipped in with three goal contributions.
CM: Dele Alli
Okay, in fairness you probably did know the former England international is currently out on loan at Besiktas. But we’re including him as he’s a classic WTF Super Lig signing.
Where did it all go wrong for Alli? The Everton loanee has more or less been banished from the Besiktas squad for the rest of the season and his next move is anyone’s guess.
To be fair to him, he’s still capable of producing a moment or two.
CM: Lucas Torreira
It’s a shame things didn’t quite work out for Torreira at Arsenal. The scrappy holding midfielder enjoyed loan spells with Atletico Madrid and Fiorentina before he made a permanent switch to Galatasaray in the summer.
RW: Adnan Januzaj
The former Manchester United wonderkid has crafted a solid career since leaving Old Trafford in 2017. After five years with Real Sociedad he moved to Sevilla in the summer and is now on loan with Istanbul Basaksehir.
It only seems like yesterday that he was the new kid on the block in Manchester.
LW: Nathan Redmond
Redmond’s move to Besiktas last summer somewhat went under the radar. After six solid years with Southampton, he opted for a change of scenery this season.
In 18 league appearances, Redmond has four goal contributions so far and has been used in a variety of positions across the forward line.
— English Players Abroad (@EnglishAbroad1) March 19, 2023
ST: Dries Mertens
Known best for his Napoli days, Mertens will be loving life at the top of the league with Galatasaray. The Belgian forward has formed a formidable partnership with Mauro Icardi and looks likely to get his hands on some silverware this year.