Ex-Canary Alex is far away, but heart beats for Turkey
Former Fenerbahçe captain Alex de Souza has said that even though he is miles away from Turkey, his heart still beats for the country.

Alex said returning to his homeland of Brazil did not change his love for Fenerbahçe and he is now a passionate fan of the Yellow Canaries, as Fenerbahçe is commonly called.

The former captain of the İstanbul club said it was not easy for him to go back to Brazil after eight years in Turkey. "We lived in a beautiful atmosphere in Turkey for eight years. My departure was sad and fast and therefore not easy. But we are in our hometown with the people we know. We have to carry on," he said in remarks to the İstanbul-based Samanyolu television channel.

The 35 year old chose to return to his country in October following a disagreement with Fenerbahçe coach Aykut Kocaman and Chairman Aziz Yıldırım, who sided with Kocaman in a fight that divided Fenerbahçe fans into two. Alex later joined his former team, Coritiba of Brazil.

The Brazilian, who has a huge fan base in Turkey, said he had considered quitting professional football at Coritiba, which he left in 1997, but his days with Fenerbahçe changed his mind. However, an unfortunate end to his İstanbul career forced him to change his mind. "I was doubtful about where to retire. After the problem I had there [at Fenerbahçe], it was impossible to stay. Then without thinking of any other team, I came to Coritiba," he said.

In response to a question about his feelings towards Fenerbahçe, Alex said he is a fan of the team and prays for Fenerbahçe to be successful. "Like all fans do, I support Fenerbahçe from here and for them to achieve their goals. I owe the eight years I had in Fenerbahçe to our fans. Now I am one of them," he added.

Alex was harshly criticized by Yıldırım when the disagreement between the captain and the coach was revealed. Yıldırım accused Alex of being disrespectful to him by constantly playing with his mobile phone while the two had a private meeting regarding the matter. Coach Kocaman said it was either him or Alex who would leave after they were engaged in a disagreement.

At a press conference he held right before he left İstanbul, Alex said Yıldırım fired him two years ago after Fenerbahçe was eliminated from the European Champions League by Swiss side the Young Boys. The captain said Kocaman prevented his ouster.

Now Alex does not think about what happened between him and the heavyweights of the club. "I mind my own business. As a fan of the club [Fenerbahçe], I want Aykut Kocaman to achieve what he aims for and want him to be successful. I expect the players to do what he asks for on the pitch. I hope they'll succeed in the domestic league and in the UEFA Europa League."

The Brazilian did not wish to discuss if returning to Turkey is part of his future plans.

About the reports that appeared in Turkish media outlets about Alex's children missing the traditional Turkish fast food lahmacun, Alex was tougher. "These are all lies. How can they know what happens inside my house from Turkey? I live in Coritiba. I don't take the news written about me seriously."

The player said he is in contact with Turks living in Brazil. He attended an event celebrating Turkey's Republic Day on Oct. 29.

He now hopes that Turks will take an interest in Brazilian football. He said Coritiba has three players on its squad, including himself, who played for Turkish giants Fenerbahçe and Galatasaray.

About his meeting with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, a die-hard Fenerbahçe fan, before he left Turkey in October, Alex clarified that they only said goodbye and thanked each other. The player said Erdoğan told him that he would continue to watch his football games.

Alex is dubbed the best foreign player ever to play for Fenerbahçe. A statue of him was recently erected in İstanbul's Kadıköy district last November by the Fenerbahçe club upon a request from the fans.

He defended Fenerbahçe domestically and internationally after the club was battered by a massive match-fixing investigation that went on for a year starting in July 2011. (Cihan/Todays Zaman) CİHAN
Last Modified: 2012-11-25 18:00:01
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