Football Features

13 players you (probably) forgot played for Fenerbahce

By Muhammad Butt

Published: 16:10, 19 January 2021

Mesut Ozil is set to bring a six-and-a-half-year association with Arsenal to an end, at which point he will join Fenerbahce.

The Arsenal playmaker has been a Premier League legend, but now he is close to securing a move to the Turkish giants. Fenerbahce are one of the three big sides in Turkey and will be out to reclaim the Turkish Super League having not won it since 2018.

Ozil will be the star of the squad and the latest Premier League import to play for the Istanbul side (among the current roster are Papiss Cissé and Enner Valencia). In fact Fenerbahce have had a lot of big name players featuring for them, including some names you might have actually forgotten. So we’ve come up with a list of 13 players that you may have forgotten have worn the yellow and navy of Fenerbahce.

Mesut Ozil

  • Age: 32
  • Club: Arsenal
  • Position: Attacking midfield
  • Football Index value: £0.33 (Sell)  £0.44 (Buy)
  • Premier League stats (since 2017/18): | Touches: 4,643 (fourth-highest at the club) | Chances created: 166 (highest) | Big Chances Created: 17 (third-highest) | Assists: 12 (fourth-highest)

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Jay-Jay Okocha

Fenerbahce appearances: 76
Fenerbahce trophies: 1998 Prime Minister’s Cup, 1998 Ataturk Cup

Everyone remembers Jay-Jay Okocha for his spell with Bolton Wanderers, and of course the famous story that they signed him from PSG. Then his exploits with the Nigerian national side are legendary. What people tend to forget though is that prior to joining PSG, just after winning Olympic Gold with Nigeria in 1996, Okocha spent two years in Turkey playing for Fenerbahce.


Fenerbahce appearances: 194
Fenerbahce trophies: Super Lig (3)

Tuncay was the most expressive player on a workhorse Stoke side. The one player with a bit of flair. Before that he thrilled for Middlesbrough as well. Of course, prior to his Premier League exploits he spent five years playing for Fenerbahce, winning three leagues in four years.

Pierre van Hooijdonk

Fenerbahce appearances: 60
Fenerbahce trophies: Super Lig (2)

The iconic Pierre van Hooijdonk was brilliant for Celtic and fractious but fantastic for Nottingham Forest. He continued to hammer goals in when he left, notably for Dutch club Feyenoord where he won the UEFA Cup. But he followed his two-year spell back in his native Netherlands with two years playing for Fenerbahce. Van Hooijdonk thrived, scoring 34 times in 60 games and winning two league titles.

Nicolas Anelka

Fenerbahce appearances: 57
Fenerbahce trophies: 2004/05 Super Lig

Nicolas Anelka is one of football’s great journeymen having taken his sublime, world-class talents around 12 different clubs. It’s hard to pinpoint a club you’d most closely associate with Anelka (Arsenal or Chelsea, most likely) but one you wouldn’t associate with him is Fenerbahce because he was neither brilliant nor bad there, merely sort of okay.

Mateja Kezman

Fenerbahce appearances: 69
Fenerbahce trophies: 2006/07 Super Lig, 2007 Turkish Super Cup

After flopping in the Premier League with Chelsea, Mateja Kezman sought to repair his reputation with Atlético Madrid. It didn’t work. After that he tried with Fenerbahce and had more success, scoring 30 goals in 69 games and winning titles. However, Kezman followed that up with a dismal spell at PSG so it was lost to history as failure to build on his PSV prowess became the dominant story of Kezman’s career.

Roberto Carlos

Fenerbahce appearances: 104
Fenerbahce trophies: Turkish Super Cup (2)

Roberto Carlos left Real Madrid in 2007 and spent two-and-a-half years playing for Fenerbahce. He won two Turkish Super Cups in that time which isn’t bad, but who even remembers that? There’s only one thing you think of when you think of Roberto Carlos and it’s Real Madrid and the Brazilian national team. Cups in Turkey could never move that needle.

Joseph Yobo

Fenerbahce appearances: 114
Fenerbahce trophies: 2010/11 Super Lig, Turkish Cup (2)

Joseph Yobo is a man you associate with Everton, particularly David Moyes’ Everton. He played over 200 times for The Toffees in a career spanning eight years on Merseyside. He won nothing with Everton yet won a league title and two cups (as well as an African Cup of Nations with Nigeria) in four years as a Fenerbahce player, first on loan and then permanent. But do you think of Yobo in yellow and navy? No, you think of him in blue.

Dirk Kuyt

Fenerbahce appearances: 130
Fenerbahce trophies: 2013/14 Super Lig, 2012/13 Turkish Cup, 2014 Turkish Super Cup

Across Stanley Park we have Liverpool legend Dirk Kuyt. The man who couldn’t stop scoring in the Eredivisie became a “defensive forward” during his time with Liverpool which saw them reach the 2007 Champions League final and almost win the 2008/09 Premier League. You either remember Kuyt the goalscorer for Feyenoord or Kuyt the workhorse for Liverpool, you don’t remember Kuyt playing three years for Fenerbahce.

Raul Meireles

Fenerbahce appearances: 105
Fenerbahce trophies: 2013/14 Super Lig, 2012/13 Turkish Cup, 2014 Turkish Super Cup

Raul Meireles played just two and a half years in the Premier League but his haircut, beard and tattoos left such a stark visual impression (this was before every player and their mum had full sleeves) that one finds it hard to think of what happened to him after he left Chelsea. Turns out he went to Fenerbahce where he spent the final four years of his career but could never match the exposure of his England days nor the footballing dominance of his time with Porto (winning four straight league titles at one point).

Bruno Alves

Fenerbahce appearances: 101
Fenerbahce trophies: 2013/14 Super Lig, 2014 Turkish Super Cup
Football Index value: £0 (Sell)  £0.13 (Buy)

The human golem and world-class purveyor of violence, Bruno Alves is an iconic central defender you associate with Porto, the Portuguese national side and maybe Zenit St. Petersburg. His three year jaunt for Fenerbahce gets lost in between his time in Russia and his latter years playing in Serie A and Scotland with Rangers.

Robin van Persie

Fenerbahce appearances: 87
Fenerbahce trophies: n/a

Ooooohhh Robin van Persie! The Dutchman should have been a Manchester United legend when Louis van Gaal arrived as coach but despite being compatriots with Van Persie, Van Gaal picked Wayne Rooney as his “guy” and this ended up forcing the former Arsenal man to leave the club he followed his inner-child to join. That he went to Fenerbahce is almost forgotten because he won nothing and then left there to go home to Feyenoord, bookending his storied career including a long spell with Arsenal by leading the line and winning cups for his boyhood club.

Martin Skrtel

Fenerbahce appearances: 119
Fenerbahce trophies: n/a

Martin Skrtel is a powerhouse of a centre-back and nearly managed a decade on Merseyside with Liverpool. He is so instantly and iconically a Liverpool player and remains the only footballer to score a goal in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (in Iron Man 3). If Skrtel is comic book films then Liverpool is his MCU and Fenerbahce is his DCEU; shorter, less impressive, nowhere near as successful or memorable and something people try to forget exists if they have the misfortune of being reminded of its existence.


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