A working class Istanbul suburb on Wednesday announced it would name one of its streets in honour of one its most famous sons, the Turkish football star Arda Turan who this week signed for Barcelona.
Turan, 28, was born in the Istanbul suburb of Bayrampasa in 1987, and his first matches were for the gritty western district’s lowly local team Altintepsi Makelspor.
He was snapped up by Istanbul giants Galatasaray in 2005 and then moved on in 2011 to Atletico Madrid, becoming a huge favourite with fans and an icon of Turkish football.
His signing for Barcelona makes him just the second Turkish player to join the Catalan giants after goalkeeper Rustu Recber in 2003 and the move was hailed by Turkey’s national press.
“We are going to make Arda one or two surprises,” said the mayor of Bayrampasa Atila Aydiner as he hosted Turan on a visit to his home district.
“We are going to call Ordu (Military) Street Arda Turan Street. We have sent our decision to the Istanbul municipality,” he said in comments broadcast on Turkish television.
“We are now going to hang a plaque there together with our Arda. Because Arda is our pride,” said the mayor, who was warmly thanked by Turan.
The street in Bayrampasa is where Turan grew up.
Turan has been quoted in the press expressing his admiration for Turkey’s Islamic-rooted President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, saying in February this year that the football loving-leader was “like a friend”.
While Turan’s signing for Barcelona — on a five-year deal for a fee that could reach 41 million euros — has been hailed as a breakthrough for a Turkish footballer, he will have to wait several months for his first performance at the Camp Nou.
Barcelona were banned from making new signings in 2015 after FIFA found them guilty of breaching rules on the transfers of players aged under 18.
This means that Turan will have to wait a half season before making his Barcelona debut in early 2016.