Galatasaray legend Hakan Sukur was once one of football‘s most iconic names – spoken alongside the likes of Batistuta and Stoitchkov – but now he works as an Uber driver in the United States.
The legendary Turkey and Galatasaray forward holds the record for fastest ever goal in a World Cup finals, but he’s now living in exile – and if Sukur steps foot in his own country, it’s likely he’ll face the death penalty or life in prison, which is why he lives in exile in the US.
Hakan Sukur, now 50, lives in California, in the wealthy area of Palo Alto in Silicon Valley, on the outskirts of San Francisco. While Silicon Valley is famous for its hi-tech app companies, Sukur is an Uber driver and formerly ran a cafe.
He told German outlet, Welt am Sonntag:
“I moved to the United States, initially running a cafe in California, but strange people kept coming into the bar. Now I drive for Uber and I sell books.”
Sukur used to run a popular bakery called Tuts, which received rave reviews on rating website Yelp, but none of which mentioned that one of the men behind the cafe was Turkish football legend Hakan Sukur.
Back in Turkey, while revered by football fans nationwide in the ’90s, he was linked with Fethullah Gulen, a Turkish Islamic scholar and rival of Erdogan, whom the Turkish President blamed for a bloody attempted coup in 2016 and was categorised as a “fugitive member of the Fetullah Terrorist Organisation (FETO)” despite reportedly denouncing the coup.
“Nobody seems able to explain what my role in this coup was supposed to be. I never did anything illegal, I am not a traitor or a terrorist.”
Hakan Sukur scored 295 goals in three spells with Turkish giants Galatasaray, and played Premier League football with Blackburn for a season and in Serie A for Torino. Sukur has a record 51 international goals for Turkey.