Hakan Sukur, Turkey’s FIFA 2002 World Cup star, has confessed that he now drives for Uber to make ends meet, after he was exiled from the country.
Sukur, 48, a former Inter Milan and Galatasaray striker, who led Turkey to a third place finish at the tournament hosted by both South Korea and Japan, also revealed that he also sells book to survive.
Things took a dramatic turn for Sukur after retirement, when he entered politics and was elected to Parliament. However, he fell out with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in 2011.
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Sukur, along with many others, were accused of participating in a failed coup, prompting him to go into exile.
Speaking to German newspaper, Welt am Sonntag, Sukur said:
“I have nothing left, Erdogan took everything: my right to liberty, freedom of expression and right to work.
“Nobody seems able to explain what my role in this coup was supposed to be. I never did anything illegal, I am not a traitor or a terrorist.
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“I might be an enemy this Government, but not the state or the Turkish nation. I love my country. After the split with Erdogan, I started to receive threats. My wife’s shop was attacked, my children were harassed, my father put in prison and all my assets confiscated.
“So I moved to the United States, initially running a café in California, but strange people kept coming into the bar. Now I drive for Uber and I sell books.”
Sukur played a key role as Galatasaray beat Arsenal in the final of the UEFA Cup, now Europa League, in 2000, becoming the first Turkish club to achieve the feat.
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On 29 June, 2002, he scored the fastest ever goal in a FIFA World Cup, netting against South Korea 10.8 seconds into the third-place play-off, which his country won 3-2 to pick up bronze at the mundial.