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Top scorer Mario Gomez set to leave Besiktas after Turkey coup attempt

Mario Gomez said 'there are no sporting or any other reasons that have made me make this decision. It is purely down to the terrible events that happened in the last few days,' referring to the coup. Photograph: (Getty)

AFP Istanbul, Turkey Jul 21, 2016, 03.03 PM (IST)
German striker Mario Gomez, the top scorer in Turkey's Super Lig last season, on Wednesday said he was leaving Istanbul club Besiktas after just one year due to the political situation in the wake of the failed coup.

"I have to tell you Besiktas fans personally that it is very heavy for me that I will not be playing for this great club in front of you wonderful fans in this unique stadium anymore," he said in a statement on his Facebook page.

"It is purely down to the terrible events that happened in the last few days. I hope you can understand that."

Gomez is so far the first big football name to quit Turkey after the coup, which resulted in terrifying scenes in Istanbul and Ankara. Several top European stars play in Istanbul, such as the Netherlands' Robin van Persie with Fenerbahce and Germany's Lukas Podolski at Galatasaray.

Gomez, who was on a one-season loan from Fiorentina but had been widely expected to stay on in a full transfer, helped Besiktas last season surge to their first Turkish title since 2009. He rapidly became a firm favourite with the club faithful, scoring 26 goals in a special season for Besiktas that also saw the club move to a sparkling new stadium on the shores of the Bosphorus.

"The reason for this is completely down to the political situation," said Gomez in the heavy-hearted statement. "There are no sporting or any other reasons that have made me make this decision. It is purely down to the terrible events that happened in the last few days," he added.

He said that "it was a fantastic year with the championship providing the absolute highlight".

"I hope that these political problems can be solved in a peaceful manner soon. Then it would be my great wish to play for Besiktas again. The club and the country grew very close to my heart in this past year."

(AFP)
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