Turkish Super Lig

Trabzonspor European ban
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Turkish leaders Trabzonspor hit with European ban

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Trabzonspor’s outstanding season put it on the verge of a return to European football, but the Turkish Super Lig leaders won’t get to enjoy the spoils of victory.

Trabzonspor has failed to meet the terms of a Financial Fair Play agreement made with UEFA in 2016, according to the BBC, and will miss out on Europe should they qualify in either of the next two seasons.

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Trabzonspor is comfortably in the top four, ahead of Istanbul Basaksehir on goal differential and nine points clear of fifth-place Besiktas.

The news is plenty good for Besiktas, Alanyaspor, and Fenerbahce, who all sit within four points of fifth place but another five beyond the top four.

There have been plenty of familiar faces in Trabzonspor’s run to the top of the TSL table, though Daniel Sturridge’s starring role is over. His contract with Trabzonspor was voided after he was banned from football until mid-June and fined nearly $200,000 for providing his brother with “inside information” regarding a possible summer transfer to Sevilla.

Ex-Crystal Palace striker Alexander Sorloth leads the club with 25 goals and long-time Chelsea man John Mikel Obi mans the midfielder. Badou Ndiaye, Ogenyi Onazi, and Joao Pereira are also on the team, and may not have the patience for a year without Europe.

Report: Sturridge linked with move to DC United or Inter Miami

Daniel Sturridge
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The next time we see Daniel Sturridge memorable goal celebration, it could be on North American soil.

Goal.com says Sturridge, 30, is already training in America, and links DC United and Inter Miami with the striker.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

It would be a Designated Player situation at both clubs, and Sturridge won’t have to go far for information on the clubs. Fellow English national team alum David Beckham runs Miami, while Three Lions teammate Wayne Rooney spent a dominant spell with DC.

It has been a challenging year for Sturridge, whose contract with Trabzonspor was voided after he was banned from football until mid-June and fined nearly $200,000 for providing his brother with “inside information” regarding a possible summer transfer to Sevilla.

But Sturridge also showed his class, scoring seven goals with four assists in 16 appearances for the Turkish club. He also had more injury troubles. Though not long-term, Sturridge missed between one and three league matches on five separate occasions.

Sturridge was once amongst the most lethal strikers in the world when healthy, a loaded conditional. His first two seasons at Liverpool saw him score 36 goals and 14 assists in 49 appearances. That’s really good.

All-told, the Man City Academy product has 77 goals and 29 assists in 218 Premier League appearances between City, Liverpool, Chelsea, and Bolton (He failed to score in a short-term loan to West Brom to complete his set of six clubs so far).

He’ll score when healthy, no doubt, but will MLS clubs be spending the same once they come out of coronavirus pause. It doesn’t seem prudent if there are no fans in the stands, as the league’s clubs make a good deal of their money on match day.

Turkish legend Rustu Recber isolated in hospital with coronavirus

Rustu Recber coronavirus
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Turkey’s all-time caps leader has been hospitalized while fighting coronavirus.

Rustu Recber is in isolation and his wife said “while everything was normal, we are still in shock by the sudden and rapidly developing symptoms.”

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Rustu played for Fenerbahce, Antalyaspor, and Besiktas in a 24-year career which saw him earn 120 caps. He also had a 7-match cameo with Barcelona in 2003/04 and started his career with Burdurgucu.

Rustu’s wife Isil and his two children tested negative, according to the BBC.

From Sky Sports:

Isil Recber said her husband was isolated at the hospital and that they were not allowed to visit. “This is a critical period and very difficult. May God give a speedy recovery to all the patients, including my husband,” she said.

He was a member of the World Cup All-Star team and UEFA Team of the Year in 2002, when he led Turkey to third place at the World Cup. He also helped Turkey to quarterfinal and semifinal runs at EURO.

Rustu won four Turkish Super Lig titles with Fenerbahce and one more with Besiktas.

USMNT winger Boyd shows well in first Besiktas-Gala derby

Tyler Boyd
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USMNT winger Tyler Boyd was one of very few American players in action this weekend, as the Turkish Super Lig continued behind closed doors.

Boyd went 90 minutes in his first Istanbul derby between Besiktas and Galatasaray. He was an unused sub when Besiktas won the reverse fixture in October.

The sides drew 0-0 on Sunday at Vodafone Park.

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Boyd had a strong match, winning 11 of 16 duels and converting two of this dribbles. He had 41 touches, six tackles, three interceptions, and two clearances.

Ex-Liverpool keeper made four saves for Besiktas.

The draw will leave both sides unhappy

Gala moves onto 50 points, matching the point won by drawing co-leaders Trabzonspor and Istanbul Basaksehir who both have 53.

Besitkas moves into fifth, a point ahead of Alanyaspor but five back of fourth-place Sivasspor. Turkey’s top two make the Champions League, while third and fourth go to the Europa League.

Sturridge releases video explanation, appeal after worldwide ban

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Daniel Sturridge explained his side of the story after being banned from football until mid-June for a gambling breach.

Sturridge was also fined nearly $200,000 for providing his brother with “inside information” regarding a possible summer transfer to Sevilla.

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The player ended up going to Trabzonspor in Turkey, where he scored seven goals with four assists in 16 appearances before canceling his contract due to the suspension.

Sturridge is upset that the appeal panel has overturned a “highly qualified” original panel.

“I’m going to continue to campaign for professional footballers to be able to speak to their families and friends freely without the real risk of being charged.

“The betting companies and the practice and process of people being able to place bets on people moving clubs has to be stopped. Although the appeal panel has recognized that I hadn’t bet and nobody else had bet, I was still charged.”

On the surface, Sturridge has a point that no one should be able to bet on a player’s next destination. His brother broke rules by betting on his potential move and Sturridge originally served two weeks of a six-week punishment last summer.

The 30-year-old has been linked with a move to Major League Soccer since the termination, but teams will face quite a wait to add the talented but injury-hampered star.

Here is his full statement.