– Sukur joined politics right after retiring from football tips in 2008
– He, however, landed on the wrong side of the president’s books and was exiled from his country
– Having fled to the US, the former player whose Turkey team was second runner up in the 2002 World Cup now operates an Uber
A number of footballing grace to grass stories have been told for years but perhaps none is as disheartening as the dramatic fall of Turkey legend Hakan Sukur.
Sukur, who was an icon in Turkish football in the 2000s, now works as an Uber driver after he was exiled from his own country.
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So where did it all go wrong for a man who was once the most prolific goal scorer in Europe?
Things apparently took a bizarre turn for the 48-year-old once he retired from the beautiful game in 2008.
In an interview with German newspaper, Welt am Sonntag, Sukur revealed that his woes started with a fall out with the Turkey President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
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According to the 2002 World cup second runner up, the fallout was coupled with threats, intimidation and blockage of funds his way.
He plunged into politics immediately after football, winning a seat in Turkey’s Parliament as a member of Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party .
However, things threatened to go south after his alleged association with Fethullah Gulen, a Turkish Islamic scholar and rival of Erdogan.
Having become a member of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey in 2011, Sukur soon learnt that politics was a cruel, dirty game as he was viewed as a public enemy by the president over an alleged coup which he was part of in 2016.
He eventually left his post in 2015 and fled the country for the US in 2017.
“I have nothing left, Erdogan took everything: my right to liberty, freedom of expression and right to work,” he said in the interview.
Currently, the former Turkey legend who scored 51 goals in 112 appearances for Turkey between 1992 and 2007 is surviving on an Uber job in America.
“I moved to the United States, initially running a cafe in California, but strange people kept coming into the bar,” he told Welt am Sonntag. “Now I drive for Uber and I sell books.”
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