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The Most Famous


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This page contains a list of the greatest Turkish Soccer Players. The pantheon dataset contains 16,880 Soccer Players, 93 of which were born in Turkey. This makes Turkey the birth place of the 39th most number of Soccer Players behind Greece and Peru.

Top 10

The following people are considered by Pantheon to be the top 10 most legendary Turkish Soccer Players of all time. This list of famous Turkish Soccer Players is sorted by HPI (Historical Popularity Index), a metric that aggregates information on a biography’s online popularity. Visit the rankings page to view the entire list of Turkish Soccer Players.

Photo of Hakan Şükür

1. Hakan Şükür (1971 - )

With an HPI of 57.05, Hakan Şükür is the most famous Turkish Soccer Player.  His biography has been translated into 51 different languages on wikipedia.

Hakan Şükür (Albanian: Shykyr; born 1 September 1971) is a Turkish former professional footballer who played as a striker. Nicknamed the "Bull of the Bosphorus" and Kral (king), he spent the majority of his professional career with Galatasaray, being a three-time Gol Kralı (Goal King, title and award given to the annual top goalscorer of the Süper Lig), representing the club in three different spells and winning a total of 14 major titles.Şükür represented Turkey a total of 112 times, scoring 51 goals, making him the nation's top goalscorer and 19th in the world at the time of his retirement. One of the most prolific strikers of the modern era, he netted 383 goals throughout his club career as well as the fastest ever in a World Cup, in 2002. He retired from football in 2008.In the 2011 general elections, he was elected as an Istanbul MP for the Justice and Development Party. He resigned from the party in December 2013, to serve as an independent. He is wanted for arrest in Turkey since August 2016 for being a member of Gülen movement and has lived in exile in the United States since mid 2016.

Photo of Ali Sami Yen

2. Ali Sami Yen (1886 - 1951)

With an HPI of 55.12, Ali Sami Yen is the 2nd most famous Turkish Soccer Player.  His biography has been translated into 21 different languages.

Ali Sami Yen, born Ali Sami Frashëri (20 May 1886 – 29 July 1951) was an Albanian-Turkish sports official best known as the founder of the Galatasaray Sports Club. After the enactment of law on family names in 1934, he took the surname Yen, which literally means "win" in the Turkish language.

Photo of Rüştü Reçber

3. Rüştü Reçber (1973 - )

With an HPI of 54.16, Rüştü Reçber is the 3rd most famous Turkish Soccer Player.  His biography has been translated into 48 different languages.

Rüştü Reçber (pronounced [ˈɾyʃty ˈɾetʃbeɾ]; born 10 May 1973) is a Turkish former professional footballer and a current sports executive. During his professional career, he played as a goalkeeper for Antalyaspor, Fenerbahçe, Barcelona and Beşiktaş. Rüştü was part of the Turkey national squad that reached the semi-finals at the 2002 FIFA World Cup and UEFA Euro 2008. At the former, where Turkey finished third, his performances saw him selected for the tournament's all-star team. He is Turkey's record appearance holder, having earned 120 caps. He made his debut against Iceland in 1994 and his final appearance came against Finland in 2012.Rüştü was named the best goalkeeper in European competitions in 2002, selected for the 2002 UEFA Team of the Year by public vote. In 2004, he was selected to FIFA 100 by Pelé as one of the 125 best living footballers in the world.

Photo of Lefter Küçükandonyadis

4. Lefter Küçükandonyadis (1924 - 2012)

With an HPI of 53.81, Lefter Küçükandonyadis is the 4th most famous Turkish Soccer Player.  His biography has been translated into 20 different languages.

Lefter Küçükandonyadis (Greek: Λευτέρης Αντωνιάδης, Lefteris Antoniadis; 22 December 1925 – 13 January 2012) was a Turkish professional footballer of Greek descent, who played as a forward. He is often recognized as one of the greatest strikers to play for Fenerbahçe and Turkey. Having won several regional and national championship titles with Fenerbahçe and becoming Turkish top scorer twice in his career, he left an imprint on the history of the club. Lefter is one of a few players whose names are included in the Fenerbahçe Anthem. He was also known as "Ordinaryüs" (professor of professors) in Turkey.

Photo of Arda Turan

5. Arda Turan (1987 - )

With an HPI of 52.79, Arda Turan is the 5th most famous Turkish Soccer Player.  His biography has been translated into 65 different languages.

Arda Turan (born 30 January 1987) is a Turkish former professional footballer who played most notably as a winger. Turan is mostly known for his ball control, dribbling skills and vision. At age 21, prior to the 2009–10 season, he was named captain of Galatasaray. Following a successful UEFA Euro 2008 campaign, Turan was ranked eighth in a selection of the 100 Best Young Football Players in the World piece published by Spanish magazine Don Balón in July 2008. Turan was ranked 38th in "The 100 Best Footballers in the World" by The Guardian in 2014, the only player on the list to be born in Turkey. On 25 November 2014, Turan was nominated for the UEFA Team of the Year for 2014, among 39 other players.Turan holds 100 senior national caps and 17 goals for the Turkey national team, making him Turkey's fifth-most capped player of all-time.

Photo of Metin Oktay

6. Metin Oktay (1936 - 1991)

With an HPI of 52.48, Metin Oktay is the 6th most famous Turkish Soccer Player.  His biography has been translated into 18 different languages.

Metin Oktay (2 February 1936 – 13 September 1991) nicknamed the Uncrowned King (Turkish: Taçsız Kral) by Galatasaray fans, was a Turkish footballer and one of the most successful goal scorers in Turkey.

Photo of Mustafa Denizli

7. Mustafa Denizli (1949 - )

With an HPI of 52.22, Mustafa Denizli is the 7th most famous Turkish Soccer Player.  His biography has been translated into 21 different languages.

Mustafa Denizli (born 10 November 1949) is a Turkish football coach and former player. He has managed many notable Turkish football clubs, including "Istanbul Big Three" (Fenerbahçe, Galatasaray and Beşiktaş) and has won the Süper Lig title three times. He is the only manager in history to win the Süper Lig with three clubs.

Photo of Burak Yılmaz

8. Burak Yılmaz (1985 - )

With an HPI of 50.39, Burak Yılmaz is the 8th most famous Turkish Soccer Player.  His biography has been translated into 48 different languages.

Burak Yılmaz (born 15 July 1985) is a Turkish professional footballer who plays as a forward for and captains Eredivisie club Fortuna Sittard. Yılmaz is one of nine players to play for each of the Big Three clubs of Turkey, and one of only two players who have played for these three clubs as well as Trabzonspor (also referred as the "Big Four"), along with Sergen Yalçın.Born in Antalya, Turkey, son of former Antalyaspor goalkeeper Fikret Yılmaz, Burak Yılmaz started to play football at Antalyaspor, where he signed his first professional contract in July 2002 and made his professional debut in the 2002–03 season of the TFF First League. Following four seasons at Antalyaspor, Yılmaz joined Beşiktaş prior to the 2006–07 season, where he played one and a half seasons and was primarily deployed as a winger. Yılmaz had a short spell in Manisaspor before he joined Fenerbahçe for the 2008–09 Süper Lig season. Loaned out to Eskişehirspor for the following season, Yılmaz was transferred to Trabzonspor in the winter transfer window of 2009–10 season, where he made his major career breakthrough under the management of Şenol Güneş, becoming Süper Lig top scorer with 33 goals in the 2011–12 season.Following three seasons spent in Trabzonspor, where he won a Turkish Cup and Turkish Super Cup, Yılmaz joined Galatasaray, staying for four seasons and winning two Süper Lig titles in 2012–13 and 2014–15, as well as being Süper Lig top scorer for the second time in his career in the 2012–13 season. In 2016, Yılmaz joined Chinese Super League club Beijing Guoan for two seasons, where he scored 28 goals in total. Yılmaz then returned to Trabzonspor for a second spell which lasted two seasons. For the 2018–19 season, Yılmaz returned to Beşiktaş for another spell, scoring eleven and thirteen goals respectively in his two seasons back, before joining French Ligue 1 club Lille in 2020, helping the side win its first league title for ten years. Representing Turkey in different youth age groups between 2001 and 2006, Yılmaz made his senior debut in a friendly game against Azerbaijan in 2006. With 31 goals, Yılmaz is Turkey's second all-time highest goalscorer after Hakan Şükür. He played his last game for the national team in 2022.

Photo of Emre Belözoğlu

9. Emre Belözoğlu (1980 - )

With an HPI of 49.58, Emre Belözoğlu is the 9th most famous Turkish Soccer Player.  His biography has been translated into 47 different languages.

Emre Belözoğlu (Turkish pronunciation: [emˈɾe beˈlœzoːɫu], born 7 September 1980) is a Turkish former professional footballer and manager who is currently serving as the manager of İstanbul Başakşehir. During his playing career, he played as a midfielder. He was named in the FIFA 100, a list of the 125 greatest living footballers as a part of FIFA's centenary celebrations announced by Pelé. Although he was the Fenerbahçe football team captain known for being a Fenerbahçe fan, as a playmaker, his past clubs other than Fenerbahçe include Galatasaray, Inter Milan, Newcastle United, Atlético Madrid and İstanbul Başakşehir. Belözoğlu was a part of the Turkey national team from 2000 to 2019, earning over 100 caps and helping the team to the semi-finals at the 2002 World Cup and at Euro 2008.

Photo of Turgay Şeren

10. Turgay Şeren (1932 - 2016)

With an HPI of 49.18, Turgay Şeren is the 10th most famous Turkish Soccer Player.  His biography has been translated into 19 different languages.

Turkay Sabit Şeren (15 May 1932 – 7 July 2016) was a Turkish football player, who was a one-time goalkeeper of Galatasaray. He played for Galatasaray between 1947 and 1966 and was capped 52 times for Turkey, including two matches at the 1954 FIFA World Cup. His heroic saves against West Germany in 1951 in Berlin was what he is still remembered for. Turkey had won 2–1. Because of that unforgettable day, he is nicknamed as "Berlin Panteri" (Panther of Berlin). He also coached Galatasaray. Şeren was awarded a testimonial match by the club in 1967 in Istanbul, inviting players like Ion Pârcălab, Lev Yashin and Ion Nunweiller.After his retirement, Şeren became a football columnist and a television commentator. Şeren died at age 84 on 7 July 2016. He was interred at Zincirlikuyu Cemetery following a memorial service held at the Türk Telekom Arena and the religious funeral service at Teşvikiye Mosque on 9 July 2016. He was survived by his son Emre Şeren

Pantheon has 93 people classified as soccer players born between 1886 and 2001. Of these 93, 87 (93.55%) of them are still alive today. The most famous living soccer players include Hakan Şükür, Rüştü Reçber, and Arda Turan. The most famous deceased soccer players include Ali Sami Yen, Lefter Küçükandonyadis, and Metin Oktay. As of April 2022, 12 new soccer players have been added to Pantheon including Oğuz Çetin, İrfan Kahveci, and Okan Yılmaz.

Living Soccer Players

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Deceased Soccer Players

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Newly Added Soccer Players (2022)

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Which Soccer Players were alive at the same time? This visualization shows the lifespans of the 6 most globally memorable Soccer Players since 1700.