Burak Yılmaz's sudden growth into a superstar in Ligue 1
Turkish star Burak Yılmaz is on the older side of the spectrum. At 35 years of age, Burak has proven that he’s a top player for Lille and Turkey. He was the star of Lille’s journey towards the Ligue 1 trophy which also ended Paris SG’s run at the top.
Burak is the classic case of the underdog story because he was never seen as a top player when he was younger. When he made the move to Lille, he made his name known in the football world when he led an overlooked squad to the top of the French league.
Lille is not the only underdog team he plays for because Turkey is also a dark horse in international competitions. He is their main striker and he continues to fire goals into the net as their star number nine. His best performance for Turkey was back in March 2021, when he scored a hat trick against the Netherlands in a World Cup qualifier.
Burak was never a headline player since he only played in Turkey and a brief spell in China before making the move to France. He surprised so many people when he started to power Lille’s offence. People thought it was a fluke but when he kept scoring, he kept Lille in the Ligue 1 title race.
Former teammate Jem Karacan talked about why Turkish players were not surprised when Burak broke out in the 2020-21 season.
‘His nickname in Turkey is “Kral”, which means king. That says it all’, Jem said. ‘He guarantees you goals and anyone who goes to a club and gets as many as he does will ensure he is appreciated. Whoever comes knocking, there is no animosity towards him, they just know that they've got’.
That kind of reputation plays a big factor for any player. If he draws that kind of reaction from some players, you should know they’re the real deal. Even if he’s 35, Burak is an amazing talent and with the ongoing European Championships, people can watch his brilliance in Turkey’s games. Hopefully, people can recognize his talents on such a big stage.
Words: Cholo Martin