FC Barcelona and Turkey have strong links / FCB

It has been 12 years since a Turkish player pulled on an FC Barcelona shirt. Arda Turan will be the second player from that country to tread the turf at Camp Nou for Barça after goalkeeper Rustu Reçber. Even though only two players have played for the blaugrana first team, Barça have a considerable presence in Turkey and a more than considerable following.

Rustu was signed in the summer of 2003 after having shined the previous summer in the Japan and South Korea World Cup in a Turkey side that finished the tournament in third place. Unfortunately, the goalkeeper’s spell at Camp Nou was a short one. He made his official debut in the Copa Catalunya during a 4-0 win over Girona.

However, a young Victor Valdés ousted him from the first team and Rustu left for Fenerbahçe at the end of the 2004/05 season. In his two full seasons as a blaugrana he made 23 appearances.

Ilyasova at the Palau

Away from football, another Barça team has had a Turkish player in their squad. Ersan Ilyasova was signed in the summer of 2007 for a blaugrana team coached by Dusko Ivanovic. At just 20 years of age, the power forward arrived in Barcelona from NBA side Milwaukee Bucks. With the arrival of Xavi Pascual as coach in mid-season, Ilyaosva became a key part of the team, ending the campaign with an average of 6.9 points and 4.2 rebounds per game.

Commercial agreement with Beko and Lassa Tyres

The relationship between Barça and Turkey is extense and long established with Barça being one of the best supported teams in the country. In the commercial area, the Turkish white goods brand Beko is one of the Club’s global sponsors and the firm’s logo can be seen on the football team’s shirtsleeves for the next three seasons.

Furthermore, this season, the Club and Lassa Tyres have signed a global sponsorship agreement, with the company becoming the main sponsor of the professional sections and at the same time a official Club partner in the area of football for the next four years.

Turkey is one of the countries in the world with most Barça fans. If we look at social media we can see that the FC Barcelona official page on Facebook has 2.3m fans with Turkey seventh in the ranking. Istanbul boasts 534,000 Barça fans and is ninth on the list of cities with most blaugrana followers on Facebook. On the world’s biggest social network, Turkish is the seventh most used language.

Social media is an excellent way to bring the Club closer to its Turkish fans and now in Arda they will have a local figure to focus in the squad of the current European Champions.

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