Erdoğan accepted Alex and Fenerbahçe President Aziz Yıldırım at the Prime Ministry yesterday. At the gathering Alex personally asked the prime minister to become a Turkish citizen. Upon this request, Erdoğan jokingly asked Alex whether he had picked a Turkish name. Yıldırım gifted Erdoğan with four jerseys as the prime minister presented ties to his guests.
Even if the Brazilian star acquires Turkish citizenship, he will not be eligible to play for the Turkish national football team because he has already played for the Brazilian team. The 33-year-old has been playing for Fenerbahçe since 2004 and has scored more than 100 goals in these seven years. He renewed his contract with the İstanbul team on Feb. 9, 2011. Alex is accepted as one of the best foreign footballers who have played in Turkish football leagues. He has an important role in Fenerbahçe’s two domestic championship wins in 2005 and 2007. Another successful foreigner serving Turkish sports, Montenegrin-Italian coach Bogdan Tanjevic, under whose helm the Turkish national basketball team became the silver medalist in the 2010 World Basketball Championship held in Turkey, was granted Turkish citizenship along with his family last week upon President Abdullah Gül’s approval.