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Turkey, a tough country that has always produced stubborn and proud warriors. Generous men and very attached to the family, capable of igniting and losing all reason if only they feel insulted.
The boy from Bayrampaşa
Arda is not a player like any other, he cannot be. It represents the essence of modern Turkey, born poor but obstinate in taking its place in the world. Anyone who knows his story, that of a boy who grew up in the Bayrampaşa district of Istanbul and who learned to play in the square. Outdoors, among people, looking for redemption in his passion.
In 2000 he was bought by the youth of Galatasaray, his club, the most titled in Turkey, from there it will be an incorruptible and endless love. Find Fatih Terim on the bench, “the Imparator” is the one who gives him the basics, who discovers his superfine talent, already known to the men of his neighborhood. They are his first fans, the first to see in him the living transposition of the new Turkey.
All the red and white Madrid notices him, this strange player. He does not go to the disco out of respect for his faith and dictates the timing of the whole game, slows down the pace when others speed up, accelerates when others slow down. In Madrid he spends most of his time in a kebab listening to Turkish music, his friends are Turkish students who have come to Erasmus in Madrid and anyone who shares his values. Colchoneros love him, or rather love him: they venerate him.
Ardaturanismo was born, the first secular religion in Spain, with followers scattered in every fan and a book by Juan Rodriguez Garrido that will become their Bible. The first follower of this philosophy is an Argentine, colchonero in his heart, he does not practice this modus vivendi, but he is smart enough to understand that it blends perfectly with his idea of worker game.
It is thanks to the Cholo that Arda manages to bring Ardaturanism around the world, allowing the world to know what, in fact, is the spirit of the new Turkey. The soul of a combative and hard-working people, but an extreme lover of life, who has understood all too well that simplicity is the only weapon to this overwhelming globalization.
There is a point in the history of this extraordinary player, where being a symbol begins to become something heavy, tiring, even annoying. The descent begins with the change of jacket: enough with the humble colchoneros, we pass to the multi-titled Blaugrana. Immediately you feel that something has changed, Arda takes much more than in the past, is in a team that wins everything, but has lost its characteristic magic. He hardly ever plays and when he does it seems like one of many, his role now is that of a refined butler of Messi and his companions.
Arda feels it deeply, but does not want to admit it, he is somehow convinced that he has reached the top in Barcelona, that he has already completed his career. He lacks the lucidity of wanting to be Caesar in Gaul and this will be his downfall. Its history is the same as that of its people, when, after the First World War, it canceled its identity in favor of a progress which they said was impossible otherwise. And so the alphabet, its culture and its traditions were lost in favor of European ideals so different from them.
However, recent events show us that not all is lost, that the Arda man is not completely dead. After all, the reason is also the one from which this article started: last Tuesday Turan attacks a journalist guilty of having put the National team in a bad light. Bilal Mese a year ago wrote an article about the prizes that some Turkish players, including Arda, had claimed to play the European Championships. Astronomical figures for embarrassing results, Turkey doesn’t even pass the groups. But something is stirring in the heart of the Turk. He cannot accept that his love for the country is questioned.
When he sees Bilal again, he loses his head, puts his hands on him and screams everything and more, he cannot stand the humiliation he has suffered. Terim is forced to chase him out, he proudly leaves Turkey, he cannot stand the affront. He loves Turkey like no other, the bond he has with his land and his people almost puts goosebumps. The Turks feel it and they also understand that the luck and bad luck of the whole country are represented by the number 10. For this reason, in silence, almost ashamed, they find themselves forced to exult: Turkey is not dead but rather, it has found pride.
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