Barcelona's Turkish star Arda Turan quits international football
Ankara: Turkey's national team captain and Barcelona star Arda Turan has announced his retirement from international football after he allegedly abused a journalist on the Turkish team's plane.
The 30-year-old Barcelona midfielder was reported to have verbally and physically abused Bilal Mese on a flight following a friendly against Macedonia in Skopje on Monday.
Turan was immediately kicked out of a training camp in Slovenia by coach Fatih Terim and quit the national team hours later.
On the plane, he allegedly had to be restrained by teammates as he grabbed the journalist by the throat, swearing at him.
"Turan reportedly launched an angry rant at Mese, calling him 'shameless' and insulting him before accusing him of writing lies," according to witnesses, who subsequently talked to TV channels. They also claimed that Turan choked the journalist and had to be restrained by his teammates.
Turan, during a press conference boycotted by Turkish journalists in solidarity of their colleague stated, "I think the time has come.I have done wrong while wearing the jersey of my (national) team and I am ending my career with the national team."
"I really love my country. I really love my flag. I have always said if that's what you want, I will retire," he added at the press conference.
Turan, who has played 96 times for Turkey since 2006, reportedly approached the journalist before take-off about a story he had published on the bonuses the team received during the European Championships in France last year, where the player was criticised by media and fans for his poor performance.
Turan, who is one of the most admired sportsmen of the country said that he felt no remorse and was quite calm.