Former Galatasaray star becomes most expensive Turkish player as he joins Barcelona
ANKARA – Arda Turan became the most expensive Turkish player ever bought on Friday when he signed a 41 million euro ($46 million) deal with La Liga and European champions Barcelona.
He added: “I’m very happy to be at the best club in the world. I wanted to play for Barcelona in my life.”
Turkey’s national captain, who began his professional career at Galatasaray, signed for the Catalan giants from Atletico Madrid but is unable to play until January due to a transfer ban imposed on Barcelona.
Posing with his new blue and red shirt, he told reporters: “I have wanted to play for Barcelona all my life.”
The attacking player has widely been tipped as the replacement for playmaker Xavi, who left the club for Al Sadd over the summer. “Xavi is everyone’s idol,” Turan said. “I am here to make special things but nobody will be like Xavi.”
On his other new team-mates, he added: “Messi is the best player in the world but my idol is Iniesta.”
The Turkish star was later greeted by fans, juggling the ball and posing for photographs.
Turan scored 22 goals in 177 matches during a four-year spell at Atletico, where he helped win the Europa Cup in his first season. In 2013, he was influential in winning them their first Copa del Rey in 17 years.
The following year saw the team win the Spanish league and qualify for Europe’s top club competition for the first time in 40 years.