Barcelona's Arda says he's living his dream

Barcelona's Turkish midfielder Arda Turan talks to Catalunya Radio and says he is living his dream while 'playing with Messi on the same pitch'

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Barcelona's Lionel Messi, left, and debutant Arda Turan celebrate their win over Espanyol

Spanish football giants Barcelona's Turkish midfielder Arda Turan expressed his excitement about playing for "Barca" for the first time in his statement to Catalunya Radio on Thursday.

"I am living my dream at Barcelona. Just imagine, you are playing with Messi on the same pitch. Nothing is more important than this," Arda said.

Making his debut for Barcelona in Copa del Rey (Spanish King's Cup) Round of 16 first leg against city rivals Espanyol on Jan. 6, Turan said he was very happy to play for Barca and winning was important.

He said being sidelined for six months because of a FIFA-imposed transfer ban on Barca was difficult.

"When you don't play with the team, it is very difficult to coordinate with the teammates on the pitch. I did not feel bad [while I was not playing] because everyone helped me a lot," the Turkish international said.

Arda also praised the Argentine star of the team, Lionel Messi.

“I have not changed my mind since I saw him for the first time. Messi is the best football player in the world. But watch out, Neymar is coming,” the 28-year-old midfielder said.

Arda, who won the 2013-14 La Liga title with Atletico Madrid, said he had good memories in Barcelona's home ground Nou Camp.

Madrid triumphed last year by getting a draw against Barcelona at Nou Camp in the last match of the season.

"It was one of the most difficult titles in world history because we outshone Real Madrid and Barcelona despite both having the best players. We believed and did an excellent job," Arda said.

Asked about the Barcelona - Atletico Madrid league game on Jan. 30, Arda said it will be emotional for him to play against his former team.

"It is much better to play against Atletico at home rather than at Vicente Calderon," he said.

Arda said a Turkish international playing for Barcelona was important for a new generation of players in Turkey.

"Playing for Barcelona is very important for me and the Turkish kids as they start to believe they could be successful following my lead and working hard," he said.

Born in Istanbul, Arda Turan started playing football in Bayrampasa district. When he was only 12, he joined Galatasaray in 2000, where he stood out. In the 2004-05 season, he was promoted to the first team.

Arda made his debut for the Turkish national team in August 2006. He played for Turkey for the first time against Luxembourg in a friendly match that Turkey won 1-0.

In the 2006-07 season, he became one of Galatasaray's most essential players. He claimed his first Super Lig title in 2008. In the beginning of the 2009-10 season, Arda Turan became the captain of one of Turkey’s biggest football clubs at the age of 22.

After the 2010-11 season, when Galatasaray finished at a lowly eighth place, he left Istanbul. Spanish club Atletico Madrid scooped him up for 12 million euros ($13.1 million) in August 2011. The 24-year-old scored 44 goals and made 76 assists in 190 matches for Galatasaray.

In his first season in Atletico Madrid, Arda won the UEFA Europa League and the UEFA Super Cup. In 2013, the Turkish star witnessed his club's first Copa del Rey title win in 17 years.

Atletico regular played an important role for his team's league title victory in the 2013-14 season.

That same season, Atletico Madrid qualified for the Champions League final for the first time in 40 years. 

Turkish star Arda Turan scored 22 goals and had 32 assists in 177 matches in his four-year spell at Atletico Madrid.

With a transfer fee at 34 million euros on July 6, Barcelona signing became the most valuable Turkish player in history.