Hakan Sukur is probably best known for scoring the fastest goal in a World Cup for Turkey in 2002. The 46-year-old, known by fans as the Bull from the Bosphorous, holds the all time goalscoring record for his nation, but has had to make a sudden career move after Turkey's coup of 2016.
Sukur entered politics after his playing career ended, and was elected as an Istanbul MP for the Justice and Development Party before later serving as an independent candidate. But the Turkish football legend is currently making coffee in Palo Alto, San Francisco after being charged with insulting president Erdoğan on Twitter in 2016. A warrant was issued for his arrest and he was accused of "being a member of an armed terror group".
Sukur was interviewed about his predicament by the New York Times and revealed how his decision to emigrate came about:
I would have lived a very good life and become a minister if I had played the game accordingly, if I did what they say. But now I am selling coffee.
It’s my country; I love my people, even though their ideas about me are distorted by controlled media. Maybe in the future we will go there and visit.
Sukur was once an ally of Erdogan, having served in the same political party, but the 64-year-old started to become wary of Sukur's fame and political ties and the former Inter Milan striker has that said his houses, businesses and bank accounts have all been seized by Erdogan’s government.
Sukur now part-owns a coffee shop in California and revealed that the move has been a positive one for him and his family:
I want them to be free, to be independent people. Being in Turkey, the children of a famous person, maybe they are treated differently. I wanted my kids to go to other countries, learn different cultures, meet different people and stand up as individuals. That was one reason we came here. And once things got worse in Turkey, we thought it was a good time.
H/T: New York Times