Arda Turan has announced his retirement from international football after clashing with a journalist while flying back from Turkey’s goalless draw with Macedonia on Monday.
Reports in the Barcelona midfielder’s homeland said he verbally and physically attacked journalist Bilal Mese after being angered by articles the Milliyet newspaper reporter had written relating to a pay dispute at last summer’s European Championship.
Turan, 30, posted a long message on Instagram following the emergence of the reports in which he appeared to confirm an altercation had taken place, saying he could not forgive what he considers to be “slander” against him and his family.
Later on Monday, Turan called a news conference in which he confirmed his retirement from the Turkey national team.
“I’m leaving the national team, I will not play for Turkey any more,” he said. “It’s sad but I don’t have any regrets.
“I have played for Turkey at every age group, I love my country, my flag and my national team. I have made a lot of sacrifices, but it’s come to an end: I’m leaving the national team.”
About the clash with Mese, he wrote: “Did I do right yesterday? I don’t know! Maybe not right, but [it was] at least honest, honourable, esteemed behaviour. Did I get an answer? No … [He] filled up the pages for months, but in front of me he had no more than two words.”
Turan will therefore miss Sunday’s World Cup qualifier against Kosovo, as an international career which saw him earn 96 caps for his country reaches a disappointing conclusion.
Before the player’s announcement, Turkish newspaper Hurriyet reported coach Fatih Terim had asked Turan to leave the training camp in Slovenia ahead of the Kosovo match because of the incident with the journalist.
Terim had previously dropped Turan from the Turkey squad after the Barca player’s substandard displays at Euro 2016 saw him whistled by his own supporters. However, he returned to the fold for the qualifier against Kosovo last November and had been an ever-present since then.