Fatih Terim, still "Emperor" of Galatasaray

Fatih Terim, Galatasaray coach, in the first Champions League match in Brugge on 18 September 2019.
Fatih Terim, Galatasaray coach, in the first Champions League match in Bruges, 18 September 2019. François Lenoir / Reuters

He already has the ardor and style that is serious, dark suit and long tie, the rare hair on the top of the skull and the slight roundness of the one who stopped the sport of high level. Fatih Terim is not yet "the Emperor"; Jean-Michel Larqué, to the comments of this Paris Saint-Germain-Galatasaray, calls it Terim Fatih. This is the time of the Coupe des Coupes on Thursday evening, European matches in the clear on TF1, fumigants dozens that cost nothing to clubs.

23 years ago, in October 1996, Galatasaray Istanbul and Paris Saint-Germain meet for the first time, in the round of 16 of a competition where Paris will only stumble in the final, against FC Barcelona (this post leaving Patrice Loko …). Of this double hot confrontation (4-2 in Istanbul, 4-0 in Paris), remain three actors this Tuesday evening at the Parc des Princes: Leonardo, scorer and twice smuggler, went from the lawn to the stands; Ümit Davala, from the grass to the sideline; and Fatih Terim, still on the bench.

Since Arsene Wenger has left Arsenal, no coach is as good as his club. This is his fourth term as coach of the Cimbom. When he's not there, he's leading the Turkish selection.

He was before that player and captain of Galatasaray (327 games played). When he came back in 1996, for his first club coaching job, he orchestrated the work of the training camp and converted his former player's room into an office. He boasts of having chosen the plants of the complex.

On the wall of his office, wrote in 2018 the magazine Soccer Bible, is suspended a photo representing him in front of a wall of smoke, during a training session at Türk Telekom stadium. He had invited the ultras club, he was able to put in his pocket, a few days of a derby in Fenerbahce.

"This club is my only destination, it's a go without a return. Of course, I left physically, but the club has always stayed somewhere in me. Fatih Terim

"The truth is that I do not consider Galatasaray the place where I signed a contract in 1974 and did my job. I am dedicated to the club and I feel a sense of belonging, which defines me and my whole life, he said to Soccer Bible. I hear things like "the first time he's gone "," his second comeback "," his third comeback ", but I've never seen it as departures or returns. This club is my only destination, it is a go without return. Of course, I left physically, but the club has always stayed somewhere in me. "

Then, because he is rarely modest: "I had lots of offers, of course, offers that many would dream of, and I could have accepted them if I saw things rationally. But I do not always lead my life rationally, I lead it with my heart and my soul. So I do not leave this place. "

Can we say no to a club that calls you The Emperor and where fans wave giant flags to your image? The victory in the UEFA Cup won in 2000 against the Frenchies of Arsenal (Wenger, Henry, Vieira and others) has been a totem of immunity for two decades. He does not need one: eight championships won out of ten possible. His returns to the club provoke the riot. Terim is the only star of Galatasaray.

"He's clearly the boss. When we went out on the move, he was the last to board the bus or the plane and behind him, the doors closed, recalls Congolese Ali Lukunku, who was his center forward during the 2002-2003 season. He has his style, but he does not have a huge ego. "

"A good half of the population can not stand it anymore"

"It is very old school and some, especially Galatasaray supporters, love its charisma and aggressiveness, observes John McManus, anthropologist at the British Institute of Ankara and author of a book on football in Turkish society, "Welcome to Hell?" (W & N, 2018, 400 p., Untranslated). In terms of values, he embodies the older generation of Turkish men. Seen from abroad, we imagine that all Turks appreciate this style impetuous, provocative, but this is no longer the case: it divides the opinion and a good half of the population can not stand it for more than ten years. "

Nobel Prize winner Orhan Pamuk in 2016 criticized his exacerbated nationalism. Terim replied that Pamuk was not enough. In permanent war, especially against the press to protect its players, Terim embodies the figure of Kabadayi, a term of the nineteenth century designating impulsive men, attached to the code of honor and ready to fight to defend their loved ones.

His exacerbated manhood, at 66, is still a problem. Seven suspension games last season for getting involved in a fight against Fenerbahce. Returned to the stands in the title match against Basaksehir. Two years ago, he was caught in a scandal after traveling 500 kilometers with friends to punch. The victim was in conflict with his son-in-law for … a restaurant business. Fatih Terim was dismissed from his coaching post.

Communicative trust

In a Turkish football jostled by the economic crisis, Terim remains a landmark. It has a communicative confidence, which has often led to dramatic turnarounds. He uses the majesty we. He retains from his short stint in Italy (2000-01) his title of Commendatore of the Order of Merit, more than his relational failures at Fiorentina and AC Milan.

During his four reigns on the European side of the Bosphorus, he has never been a player to rise up against him or criticize his management. "He has a very important aura. When you're in a locker room, you only want to follow him, says Ali Lukunku, now a consultant for the Belgian channel Voo Sport. He is an extraordinary motivator. Before each match, his speech was like a gunshot. Nobody wants to disappoint him, because he has a father-son relationship with all his players, and he works a lot tactically. "

The heroes of the 2000 campaign always accompany him in his staff – Ümit Davala, Hasan Sas and Claudio Taffarel are his assistants. At 66, for having alienated the federation and all other major Turkish clubs, his future seems to be in Galatasaray and nowhere else. But, warns John McManus, "You can never rule out Fatih Terim. He came back from situations that ordinary people would never come back to. "


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