Former Beşiktaş captain İbrahim Üzülmez, who was fired for fighting with teammate İbrahim Toraman last month, said the Beşiktaş board should have waited until the end of the season to send him off.
Speaking on LİGTV this week, the 36-year-old footballer said he had asked the club’s president, Yıldırım Demirören, to let him stay until the end of the season. “I requested this of my president, but they made the decision anyway,” he said.
Üzülmez punched teammate Toraman at halftime during the Ankaragücü match in early February. The board gathered in an extraordinary meeting after the incident and gave him his marching orders, with the approval of then-coach Bernd Schuster. The two players also exchanged blows at a pre-season camp in Austria in 2008. A few days after this year’s incident, Üzülmez appeared in front of the cameras for a good-bye press conference. Surprisingly, Demirören accompanied him, which football pundits interpreted as a move to control the press conference and prevent Üzülmez from speaking negatively of anyone associated with the club.
“It was the president’s decision. I was going to be alone [at the press conference]. My president said he wanted to come and, out of respect, I went up there with him,” Üzülmez said.
The experienced footballer also argued that if it had been another coach he had worked with, instead of Schuster, the incident would not have ended up as it did. Üzülmez thanked the fans who supported him after his leave, adding that he is not angry and does not hate anyone, including Toraman.
The defender already misses the atmosphere of Fiyapı İnönü Stadium, where he played for a decade. He said that after this season ends he will decide between several options, all of which are related to football, including continuing to play, training to be a football coach and becoming a football commentator on TV. “I can play football but I want to rest now. I will decide on what to do later,” he added.
Üzülmez also spoke about his former team. He said the quality of the team, which includes world famous footballers such as Ricardo Quaresma and Guti Hernandez, is above the Spor Toto Super League, adding that coach Tayfur Havutçu, who was assistant coach under Schuster, must be supported.
“Beşiktaş has an amazing squad. There are many talented players who fight, but they must act as a team. They cannot play individually. Talent is important, but it must contribute to the team. There are important stars on the pitch, but if they can’t be a team, they won’t be successful. I believe Beşiktaş will rise with coach Tayfur,” he added.