Galatasaray to face Bordeaux, new Kewell interview

Sunday, 21st December, 2008
The UEFA Cup Round of 32 has been drawn and Galatasaray will be meeting French side Girondins de Bordeaux. This will be the third time in as many years that the two teams have had to meet. Last year Bordeaux defeated Galatasaray 2-1 in the UEFA Cup group stage whilst the year before that they meet in the Champions League group stage with Galatasaray drawing with the French team at home in Istanbul and suffering a 3-1 defeat away in Bordeaux. Bordeaux, who finished behind Roma and Chelsea in their group of the Champions League, are coach by former France international Laurent Blanc. Blanc is quietly confident that Bordeaux can get past Galatasaray saying "They're a team we know very well since we faced them last year. There have been some changes in personnel, ofcourse...It is an interesting draw but it is a game that is winnabble." The first match will be played at Bordeaux on either the 18th or 19th of February with the return leg pencilled for the 26th of February in Istanbul. The winner will then proceed to the Round of 16 in March where they will face either NEC Nijmegen of the Netherlands or Germany's Hamburger SV. Whilst the draw Galatasaray has received is not all that easy, reaching the quarterfinals is an acheivable task considering the wealth of talent the team possesses in comparison with the other teams.

The Sun-Herald ran an interview with Harry today and the transcript can be found here and it has also been added to the 'Interviews' section. The interview touches on a range of subjects including Australia's bid for the 2018 World Cup, the possibility of finishing his career in the A-League and life at Galatasaray.

Harry heads to the UK as Gala entertain Besiktas

Friday, 19th December, 2008
Harry will be leaving Sydney tomorrow to return home to Manchester so he can spend time with his family over the Christmas period. Harry will then return to Turkey on the 3rd of January where he will meet up with his teammates and begin his rehabilitation program. Following Gala's Fortis Turkish Cup match on the 7th of January, the team will fly to Antalya where they will have a 1 week training camp. During the camp the team will compete alongside Russian outfit Rubin Kazan, German team Werder Bremen and Bursapor for the Radyospor Cup. It is unlikely Harry would be participating in any of the games as it is more likely that he won't be featuring for the team until February. Turkish new reports show Harry is looking forward to getting back on the pitch and especially performing for Gala's fans as he said "I can say to our fans that I miss them already".

Back in Istanbul, Galatasaray will be hosting Besiktas on Sunday and will have a packed house at the match. Tickets for the derby sold out in just a few hours with fans expecting a good performance from the home side. Galatasaray will also be waiting on the results of UEFA Cup's Matchday 5 where Metalist Kharkiv play Benfica. A win for the Ukrainian side would see Galatasaray come second in Group B whilst a draw or loss would result in Galatasaray topping Group B. In the Round of 32 that begins in February, the 1st placed teams of each group play the 3rd placed teams of another group whilst the 2nd placed teams play a 3rd placed team from the Champions League groups. 

For those who didn't know, Harry has been listed as a candidate for the 'World's Most Popular Footballer Amongst Currently Active Players in 2008'. Harry joins his Gala teammate Arda Turan as well as fellow Aussie John Aloisi on the list. Only 100 players have been selected and the public are able to vote so click here to vote for Harry or one of your other favourite footballers! Voting for the award closes on the 3rd of January.

SBS's show 'The World Game' will be showing a Harry Kewell interview on Sunday during the show. The interview which took place yesterday features Harry talking about life at Galatasaray and his recent injury and surgery. It will be broadcast at 5pm AEDT Sunday. The interview will also be available online following the show so links will be posted so that everyone will be able to watch it.

A big thank you must be mentioned to one Harry Kewell fan, Ahmet, who has kindly offered his services of providing translations for Turkish news articles about Harry. With Harry being an important sporting figure in Istanbul, he is often featured in the sports section of the local papers so having Ahmet will allow this website to provide more current and greater amounts of news on Harry. Thanks again Ahmet!

Harry on the mend

Thursday, December 18th, 2008
Harry had a successful surgery for his hernia at the beginning of the week and is now getting some much needed rest in Sydney. Australia's national coach Pim Verbeek spoke to the press about Harry saying "Harry is fine and is aiming to start training again in three to four weeks' time". Such news would be music to the ears of both Galatasaray and Australia fans with the UEFA Cup Round of 32 and Australia's World Cup Qualifier match against Japan taking place in February. Pim added "Harry's a tough customer, and is used to playing with, and through injury over most of his career. But this is an injury that could be dealt with efficiently. I know from talking to Harry that he is very happy with the medical treatment he received and he is hoping to be on the park ahead of schedule."

Surgery on Monday, Gala win, new club rumours!

Sunday, December 14th, 2008
Galatasaray's official website reported that Harry will be having his operation tomorrow in Sydney, though it is still unsure how long it will take him to recover. Right now though, it is believed he will be out til at least mid January.

In great news for the team, Galatasaray came from a goal behind to win 3-1 against Genclerbirligi on Friday evening. Shabani Nonda who was playing in Harry's absence was instrumental in setting up a couple of the 3 goals. All goals came in the opening half with Lincoln, Baros and Arda getting onto the scoresheet. Extended highlights of the match can be viewed here. Australians Bruce Djite and James Troisi both featured for Genclerbirigi with Troisi replacing Djite at the beginning of the second half. The win sees Galatasaray hold their position in third place on the Turkish Lig table, though now they are only 1 point behind Sivasspor and Trabzonspor following their matches last night.

Sydney's Sun-Herald today reported a rumour of a possible switch of clubs for Harry during the upcoming transfer period. Danny Wiedler wrote "Don't rule out another change of clubs for out biggest football star, Harry Kewell, in coming months. Word is several European clubs are circling - and we are talking some of the biggest in the sport...His manager Bernie Mandic tried to pour water on the mail. "I don't know where you are getting that from but it's pure scuttlebutt"...Kewell's family is yet to move to Turkey and he's spending Christmas with them in Manchester...They might end up in another European location." Whilst it isn't surprising that Harry's performance has raised interest from several European clubs, I'm sure Galatasaray would like to hold onto him considering what a great assest he has been to the club. With their eyes focused on UEFA Cup glory, Galatasaray would like to keep the core of their team in tact. However, if they were offered a lucrative amount for Harry who they got for free, they may also want to cash in on his goal scoring success by selling him for a tidy profit.

Kewell surgery in next 48hrs, listed 2nd on BRW Rich list

Thursday, 11th December, 2008
Harry's collision with Gaziantepspor's keeper in Gala's 3-1 win on the second of November is to blame for Harry's surgery. Harry will be undergoing a minor hernia operation in the next 48 hours to repair an abdominal muscle that was torn during his collision with the goalie. The collision also saw Harry land awkwardly giving him a twisted ankle and broken toe. Over the past month, the torn muscle created a hernia for which Harry has been putting up with in games and training. It is still unknown just exactly how long it will take Harry to recover but there is still a chance he will make it back in time for Australia's clash with Japan on the 12th of February.

In other and more cheerful news for Harry, he has been ranked second on the BRW Top 50 sports earners list for Australia. The year of 2008 saw Harry make AUD$10.5 million, down from AUD$11 million last year where he was also second placed behind golfer Greg Norman who is enjoying his 12th year in a row headlining the top earners. Fellow Aussie footballers Lucas Neill and Mark Viduka were ranked 6th and 7th with earnings of AUD$7.7 million and AUS$7.1 million respectively.

Injury update: Kewell out for 2 months

Tuesday, 9th December, 2008
One of Turkey's national paper, SABAH, has reported that Harry will be out for two months after he undergoes an operation in Australia to correct his hernia. The report says "Kewell will be forced to stay away from the field for two months following his operation" and that "under the best circumstances, Kewell will return in the month of February for the 19th week of the league to play against Kayserispor." They say Harry has had to endure a lot of pain over the past few weeks but still soldiered on. Medical tests were conducted following the Hertha Berlin match and indicated that he would require surgery. Nevertheless, Harry played the full 90 minutes of Ankaragucu match in pain and has now received the green light to return to Australia for surgery. It is believed Harry will then return to Istanbul in January to take part in the team's training camp.

Harry's hernia may have returned

Harry may be having an earlier than expected Christmas break with reports from Galatasaray's official site saying that his inguinal hernia may have recurred. Harry has been experiencing pains between his right abdomen and right thigh and they may be due to his old hernia problem that haunted him during 2005 at Liverpool. Harry will be returning back home to Australia so the doctors who had previously operated on the hernia can inspect the problem and hopefully treat it.

Whilst this is bad news for Galatasaray and Australia alike, it is fortunate the timing of this possible injury has been during the Christmas period as Galatasaray will nearly have a months break from the Turkish Lig and nearly three weeks before their Fortis Cup match following the league match against Besiktas on the 21st of December. The injury will come as a surprise to most as Harry has just started playing full 90 minute matches and looked in top form following his goal on the weekend.

Kewell scores a scorcher in 3-0 victory

Monday, 8th December, 2008
Harry scored a great goal last night as he fired the ball into the top right hand corner from outside the box as Galatasaray defeated Ankaragucu 3-0. The goal, Harry's 9th for the team in all competitions, came in between two Milan Baros goals. Brazilian Lincoln was the provider for all three goals which happened in the 61st, 62nd and 65th minute respectively.

Harry played the full 90 minutes for the second game in a row. After a goal-less first half where Baros could have scored from a Kewell cross, Galatasaray came out looking to grab some goals and gain three points. Lincoln had the first real opportunity but his cheeky back heel from an Arda cross was not high or wide enough to skip the keeper. Not long after, Lincoln had the ball in the box and fed it off to Baros for the quick finish which made it 1-0. Following Ankaragucu's kickoff after the goal, Harry who was playing down the right side intercepted a pass at the half way line, ran up the field and did a 1-2 with Lincoln before netting the second goal of the match. The third goal came a few minutes later as Kewell who was in the box did a classy 1-2 with Lincoln who passed it over to Baros for his second goal of the match. Ankaragucu had several shots on goal in the remaining thirty minutes but the defense and Gala's keeper Morgan De Sanctis made sure the home team wouldn't get a goal. Late in the second half, Nonda who was substituted for Baros had a good chance to make it 4-0 but his header went straight off the ground and into the keeper's hands. Harry now moves up to fourth place on the Turkish Lig goal scoring leaders list whilst Galatasaray move up to third place in the Turkish Lig following Besiktas' defeat to Ankaraspor.

Twenty photos from the match have been added to the Turkcell Lig gallery whilst the video of Harry's goal can be viewed below. For those looking for Harry related gifts this Christmas, either for yourselves or friends and family eBay can sometimes be a good source. One seller has the new orange coloured Galatasaray shirt with Kewell on the back for sale, another has a new Galatasaray training jersey up for sale whilst last season's Liverpool home kit bearing Kewell's name can be bought here and here.

Gala go home with 1-0 victory, place in the next round

Friday, 5th December, 2008
Harry and the boys picked up all three points in freezing conditions in Berlin to finish their campaign of Group B with 9 points from four games. Playing in front of an estimated 40,000 Galatasaray supporters, nearly double the number of Hertha Berlin supporters, Galatasaray were in an attacking mood straight from the kick off. Harry attempted a free kick that was layed off to him in the early stages however it flew a few metres above the crossbar. Gala's midfielder Lincoln, given the captain's armband in Ayhan Akman's absence due to suspension, led most of the attack. He tested the opposing keeper twice in the opening thirty minutes, with Harry setting him up on both occasions. Lincoln also picked up a yellow card in the first half for diving. Hertha Berlin came out in the second half with a little more spring in their step but were unable to get the ball past keeper Morgan De Sanctis despite having several opportunities. In the 68th minute, Harry attempted a cross into the middle of the box but the ball was handled by a Hertha Berlin player. The referee awarded Galatasaray a penalty which was calmly put away by Milan Baros. Having established a lead, Galatasaray decided the defend for the rest of the match and Hertha Berlin came close on several occasions, especially from Josip Simunic's header which was tipped over the goal. The remaining twenty minutes was tense but Galatasaray held on for the victory, with Harry playing all 90 minutes of the match. Photos from the match have been added to the UEFA gallery.

The win leaves Galatasaray on top of Group B, however that could change if Metalish Kharkiv defeat Benfica in the UEFA Cup's Matchday 5. Following the next set of matches, the top 3 teams enter a knockout round of 32, with the top placed team of each group playing a third placed team of another whilst the second placed team plays against the third placed teams from the Champions League's group stage. Since the next round isn't til February, Galatasaray will be given the chance to focus back onto their domestic duties, beginning this Sunday when they travel to take on 13th placed Ankaragucu. Whilst it is an away match, the good news for Galatasaray is that Ankaragucu are yet to have won a match at home.

Galatasaray head to Berlin

Wednesday, 3rd December, 2008
Harry will be facing former Liverpool team mate Andriy Voronin tonight, on loan to Hertha Berlin as Galatasaray play their final match of their UEFA Cup group stage. No matter the result, Galatasaray should be able to make it into the next round. However, after being embarrased in their previous UEFA Cup match by Metalist Kharkiv at home, the Lions will be wanting to finish the group stage on a high note. Galatasaray's manager Michael Skibbe's extensive knowledge of German football will be extremely useful in getting a win as will be the fact that there is a large contingent of Galatasaray supporters in Germany. Hertha Berline have the advantage of a fully fit squad whilst Galatasaray have been forced to leave several players back in Galatasaray to recuperate from their various injuries.

Photos from the past few games have been uploaded to various galleries. Photos of the last two league matches, a draw with Ankaraspor and a 3-1 win over Genclerbirligi OFTAS thanks to a Milan Baros hat-trick have been added here whilst photos from Gala's shock loss to Metalis Kharkiv has been uploaded to the UEFA gallery.

Match Details
Stadium: Olympicstadion
Date: Wednesday, 20:45 December 3rd, 2008 (Thursday 06:45 AEDT)
Referee: Nicola Rizzoli
Weather: Potential sleet with temperatures ranging from -1 to 3 degrees Celcius.

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