Name: Hakan Sükür
Date of birth: 1 September 1971
FIFA World Cup™ finals: -
Games played in FIFA World Cup™ finals: -
Clubs: Sakaryaspor, Bursaspor, Galatasaray, Torino, Inter Milan
Hakan Sükür is by far the most popular player in Turkey - but the road to glory has been a long one. Sükür first turned out for his home town side, Sakaryaspor, as a tender 16 year old. By the 1989/90 season, he was a regular in the side, and was snapped up by Bursaspor in the summer of 1990. His stay at Bursaspor was as successful as it was short-lived, for in 1992, Galatasaray, the giants from Istanbul, came knocking on his door.
Hakan Sükür took to his new life on the banks of the Bosphorus like a duck to water, hitting nineteen goals in his very first season, helping Galatasaray to yet another league title. It was only a matter of time before his all-round play and ruthlessness in front of goal would earn him his first call-up to the Turkish side. And so it was in March 1992, that Sükür took his bow on the international stage, making the step up with customary ease and helping the Turks to their first-ever qualification to the UEFA European Championships in 1996.
In May 1995, Hakar headed for a new challenge in Italy with Torino. Like many great foreign players, however, he couldn't settle in Serie A. A household name in his homeland, Hakar remained in relative obscurity in Italy, playing just five games and hitting the net only once. When Galatasaray offered to buy him back in November 1995, he jumped at the chance.
Back on home soil the player he was soon back in a rich vein of form, scoring no less than thirty eight times in a single season: a new European record. Turkey's favourite son had become a veritable hero.
Hakan's career at Galatasaray reached new heights in May 2000 when he picked up a UEFA Cup winners medal. By now Europe's biggest clubs were well aware of the striker's value: it was no surprise to anyone when he joined mighty Inter Milan for the 2000/2001 season.
Hakan will once again be central to Turkey's plans during the 2002 FIFA World Cup Korea/Japan™. His artistry was plain for all to see during the recent play-off against Austria when he bagged one incredible goal and made two others in his side's 5 - 0 win. The Turks - with Hakan Sükür onboard - will be competing in their second FIFA World Cup™ finals, their first since 1954.