Say it ain’t so, Burak.
While it’s no surprise when a 36-year-old footballer retires from international football, it’ll be a real shame if living Turkish legend Burak Yilmaz calls it a day on his national team career following a heart-wrenching penalty miss on Thursday.
Yilmaz, 36, sent an 85th-minute penalty off and over the bar in Turkey’s World Cup qualifying playoff against Portugal, a tie that could’ve gone to 2-2 and instead finished 3-1 when Matheus Nunes scored in stoppage time.
And so it’ll be a fifth-consecutive World Cup since Turkey’s second appearance, which ended with a surprising third-place finish in 2002.
It’s too much for Yilmaz to handle, he said. He’s done. From the BBC:
“If I had scored, it would have been difficult for Portugal. I missed, but why? I’m in shock as well,” Yilmaz said. “I would like to cut to the point. Today was my last match with the national team. There needs to be a change. It is a final decision stripped of emotions, one that is taken rationally. This change needs to happen.”
Yilmaz, who is also leaving Lille at season’s end, would retire with the second-most goals in Turkish history. Only Hakan Sukur, a star of the 2002 World Cup, has more than Yilmaz’s 31 in 77 caps.
He won Ligue 1 with Lille and has a pair of Turkish Super Lig titles with Galatasaray, also winning the Turkish Cup with three clubs.