Welcome to our new series: Newcastle’s Forgotten Man. This series will focus on talented players who used to play for Newcastle United, but some fans might have forgotten that they played at St. James’ Park.
For a club in the North East that is often geographically isolated from the rest of the Premier League, Newcastle United have done a phenomenal job of signing talented players from across the world. It is easy to remember the club’s record signings and best players, but as years go by fans, especially those among younger generations, lose track of certain players.
To start this series, I decided to turn the clock back to 2005 when Newcastle United signed one of Turkey’s best midfielders at the time, Emre Belozoglu. Remember him? If not, let’s take a trip down memory lane.
Newcastle United purchased Emre in the summer of 2005 from Inter Milan for £4m. The defensive midfielder was often compared to Italian midfielder Gennaro Gattuso for his aggressive style of play and ability to score goals from distance. Well, he certainly lived up to that association when he wore the black and white stripes of Newcastle United.
The Turkish midfielder made 58 Premier League appearances for Newcastle United and he was named a starter on 46 occasions. In total, Emre scored five goals and bagged nine assists in three seasons with the Magpies.
Injuries kept him sidelined more than he would have liked, especially in his final season with the club, but, when healthy, Emre was the definition of a blue collar midfielder. Standing at only 5’7″ (1.70m), Emre would bully players towering over him by recovering the ball with ease. Moreover, he had quick feet and great technical skills as a dribbler, which allowed him to set up big plays for others around him in the final third of the pitch.
His most memorable moment as a Magpie occurred in the Tyne-Wear Derby against Sunderland. Emre was a key player in this derby as he delivered a sharp corner that found Shola Ameobi to open the scoring. Later in the game (62nd minute), Emre scored a brilliant free kick to break the deadlock and win the game 3-2 for Newcastle United.
Where Is He Now?
Emre is now 39-years-old, but he has not retired. The former Turkish international is playing for Fenerbahce in the top flight of his home country. The former Newcastle United man has made 14 appearances for the Turkish giants this season.
View more information regarding Emre and his career here.