Everything you need to know about Burak Yilmaz, joint top scorer in the Champions League
Despite the January arrival of international stars Wesley Sneijder and Didier Drogba in January, it was Burak Yilmaz who scored the first goal in Galatasaray’s 1-1 draw against Schalke in the first leg of their Champions League round of 16. That goal made Yilmaz, who was named the best player of the group stage by UEFA.com after scoring six of Galatasaray’s seven goals, the competition’s joint top scorer alongside Cristiano Ronaldo with seven goals in as many matches. Here is all the information we assume to be true about the prolific Turkish international.
-At 27 years old, Yilmaz has played for seven different clubs in Turkey and started his career as a winger. After joining Trabzonspor in 2009/10, he began playing as a striker and has now scored 60 goals in his last 70 league matches. He may or may not have also been bitten by a mutant spider and struck by nuclear lightning around the same time.
-Yilmaz scored 33 goals in 34 matches for Trabzonspor last season to become the Turkish Super Lig’s top scorer. The league’s four joint second best scorers had 15 goals each. When family members ask them how many goals behind the top guy they were, they all respond with this exact phrase every single time: “Oh, you know what, I don’t really remember. And no, you can’t Google it. All the stats were lost in a fire. It was weird. Stop asking questions. Seriously. Stop it.”
-He joined Galatasaray in July 2012 for a fee of €5 million. In his first season with the club, he has 12 goals in 16 league matches and is joint top scorer with teammate Umut Bulut and two others. He is probably just toying with them.
-Yilmaz earned his first four international caps in 2006 as a winger, but wasn’t recalled to the Turkish squad until he blossomed as a striker in 2010. He has since scored six goals in 17 international appearances.
-Prior to becoming the Champions League’s top scorer and notching more goals than any other Turkish player in a single Champions League campaign, Yilmaz had never scored in 16 previous appearances in the competition (including qualifying), according to UEFA.com.
-He reportedly had interest from Milan, Borussia Dortmund and Arsenal before opting to stay in Turkey and sign with Galatasaray. Interest from Steven Spielberg to have Yilmaz play the main character in “Lincoln” remains unconfirmed, though.
-Didier Drogba wants to be Burak Yilmaz when he grows up.
-When not scoring goals, Yilmaz occupies himself by scoring goals.
-Since joining Galatasaray, Yilmaz has not understood a single thing Emmanuel Eboue has said to him or anyone else.
-He wears the No. 17 shirt because shirt numbers are required.
-If you ask him nicely, he might lend you a yoga mat.