An Interview With: Yiğithan Güveli

Yiğithan Güveli, at only 19 years old, is tipped to be become one of the best young centre-backs in Europe. Currently playing for Fenerbahce, with squad number 53, he has just broken into the first team to play alongside star players such as Skrtel and van Persie. We interviewed him about his influences growing up and the most important question of all, ‘Do you sign yourself on Football Manager?’.


First of all, we have to ask you about shirts. What was your first football shirt?

Y. Barcelona 2007-08 home by Nike. My big brother bought me the shirt with Ronaldinho printing when I was a kid. I loved it and wore it most times I played football that year.

From this point onward, outside of Turkey, my team was Barcelona. I’d say the main reason was actually owning the Ronaldinho shirt. He was a magician on the ball and amazing to watch. He was unplayable at times at Barca. I’d say he’s one of the best players ever in my eyes.

Do you have a collection of swapped shirts?

Y: I have a few. I’m only young so haven’t built-up a big collection of jerseys yet, but will hopefully have some in the future. I’d like to keep all the shirts from the big games of my career and some of the great players I will hopefully play with and against. I’ve got a Robin van Persie shirt so that’s a good start!

Who are your favourite players?

Y: I have always seen John Terry as a role model for myself. Being a centre-back myself I tried to mould myself into a strong and determined player like Terry. If I had a chance to play with him it would have been fantastic. I like those type of leading defenders.

I follow him on social media, although I’m not sure if he knows who I am yet. Hopefully soon!

Another player I really look up to is Simon Kjaer, who has recently moved from Fenerbache to Sevilla. I was lucky enough to play with him for the last few years. He knows how to control the team on the pitch, which was great for me to learn how to be a future captain. Maybe one day!

You are a real fans’ favourite at Fenerbahce. Is it nice having your name chanted by the crowds?

Y: Of course I am very happy getting huge support from our fans. It affects me in a very positive way and I make sure I work hard to make them happy.

Who is your roommate for away games?

Y: Well, everybody has their own rooms now. Not like the old days where you’d share with another player. It’s much easier to focus on the upcoming game, and get some sleep!

Which was your favourite International tournament?

Y: I’d have to say Euro 2008. Mainly because the Turkish National team were great in Austria/Switzerland. I’ll never forget the way they made it all the way to the semi-final through effort and determination. This was one of the first tournaments I remember. It did inspire a generation of youngsters in Turkey to work hard to get to the top in football. Hopefully, we’ll see a lot of really good talent reaching the top leagues in Europe in the next few years.

What is the funniest moment you have ever had at Fenerbahce?

Y: I haven’t played too many first team games yet but it’s always funny getting on-pitch advise from non Turkish or English speakers.

A great example of this is when we were playing against Genclerbirligi in the Turkish Cup and I scored a goal. After the goal, Fernandao was telling me something, in Portuguese. I didn’t understand anything he was saying, I just laughed and nodded. It seemed to work.

You play with a lot of experienced players, Martin Skrtel and Roman Neustadter in your position and Robin van Persie. Do they help you to improve your skills?

Y: The players in my position in the squad are really helpful. All of them have advice for me. They are brilliant defenders and amazing people off the pitch. I’d have to say it is Martin Skrtel who is the one who has shown me the most attention. I believe he knows the best way to conduct yourself on and off the field, as he has proven himself by playing at top clubs like Liverpool for eight years.

It is great to have someone like Robin van Persie on your team. It is very important for a young player like me to share the pitch with such quality. His turning and finishing are amazing. It’s helping me develop as a defender as I’m constantly trying to stop him in training. I’d like to think I’m winning most of the battles!

Do you sign yourself to the club you are managing on Football Manager?

Y: Haha. Yes, Always. It does not matter which team I start with, I always sign myself and use myself in the starting 11. I am actually good in the game! My value seems to go up to €20M in 2 years, which is great to see. Some kid on Instagram once told me, “Wherever I go on Football Manager I take you with me!”. I guess most of Football Managers fans do the same with me.

Finally, Can you tell us your all time favourite starting 11?

Y: I’ve always wanted to do one of these. I prefer a 4-2-3-1 formation. In goal, Buffon. On the right back Cafu. Right centre back John Terry, left centre back Nesta, left back Roberto Carlos. The duo in midfield is Steven Gerrard and Zidane. In the number ten position is Ronaldinho. Right wing would be Messi with Cristiano Ronaldo on the left and the phenomenon Ronaldo as striker.

Thanks to İlkay Aslan for the interview

See all our Fenerbahce shirts here