Galatasaray announced on its website that Sweden forward Johan Elmander, Czech forward Milan Baros, Ivory Coast midfielder Emmanuel Eboue, Uruguay goalkeeper Fernando Muslera, new transfer Cameroon midfielder Dany Nounkeu and Turkish stars Selçuk İnan and Engin Baytar did not join the team for the first training session as they were on vacation. Several other players did not take part as they were undergoing medical exams.
In related news, the coaches for Galatasaray, headed by former Turkey coach Fatih Terim, issued a message to fans on the club’s official website on Wednesday. The coaches said they aim to create a team the fans will embrace with pride, as they did last season. They added that the support of fans was the one of the most important factors that led to Galatasaray’s championship at the end of last season.
According to the message, Galatasaray is planning to acquire new players who will boost the morale of fans and enable them to reach goals in both the domestic league and UEFA Champions League in the upcoming season. Galatasaray renewed contracts with striker Necati Ateş and winger Sabri Sarıoğlu and added Toulouse striker Umut Bulut and Nounkeu to the squad after the end of last season.
The İstanbul-based club won the title last season, which was marred by a massive match-fixing scandal, beating archrival Fenerbahçe. Amid debates surrounding the scandal, a system of playoffs was launched. The teams that completed the season in the top four positions -- Galatasaray, Fenerbahçe, Beşiktaş and Trabzonspor -- qualified for the championship playoff group. Turkish Football Federation (TFF) President Yıldırım Demirören announced last season that the playoff system will remain in place for the upcoming season.