The new blaugrana has particular memories of Barça’s game against Galatasaray in the Ali Sami Yen stadium from March 2002. The blaugranes won 1-0 thanks to a solitary goal from Luis Enrique.
In Turkey they call him ‘koca kafa’ (bighead), affectionately of course. Arda Turan is a reference point for the Turkish fans and one the key figures in the current Turkey side. The man who is Barça’s latest signing has had football in his blood since he was a youngster and he has plenty of experience in the Champions League. His first contact with Europe’s premier club competition came when he featured as a ball boy at the Ali Sami Yen stadium, Galatasaray’s infamous ground, during his time in the youth teams at the club.
Arda and Barça’s paths crossed on 19 March 2002 when the Istanbul club and the blaugranes met in the group stage of that season’s Champions League. That night FC Barcelona won thanks to the only goal of the game scored by none other than Luis Enrique.
The current Barça coach made the most of a loose ball following a save by Mondragón to score in the 58th minute.
One of the ball boys for that game was a 15 year old Arda who after the game went off in search of a keepsake from the Barça players. The French defender Christanval gave him some gloves at the end of the game. The gloves still have a place in the Turan family home in the neighbourhood of Bayrampasa in Istanbul amongst memories of Arda’s time as a Galatasaray ball boy.