Nov 20, 2007

Turkey Centerback Alpay Headed To MLS?

Özalan Alpay, a former Turkish international who currently plays for Second Bundesliga side Cologne, is apparently headed to Major League Soccer. This tidbit comes courtesy of Germany's, which cites an interview Alpay did with Turkish television. Other details are elusive, except that Alpay said he will not be going to L.A. Galaxy (who apparently are more preoccupied with signing guys like Clint Mathis anyway) and that lack of playing time at Christoph Daum's club is to blame for his impending departure.

Alpay is a 34 year-old centerback who had surgery this summer and has not played for the first team this season. He was a member of Turkey's 2002 World Cup team that went all the way to the semifinals. He has been a controversial figure since, feuding with managers (Graham Taylor, among others) and fans during a three year stint at Aston Villa. He was also a central figure in the brawl between Turkish and Swiss players after their 2006 World Cup qualifying playoff--a role that got him a six game suspension from FIFA. But a decade earlier, he was given a fair play award at Euro 96.

Here's an interesting note that might be worth keeping an eye on: Alpay's Villa stint (2000-2003) overlapped with a certain Colombian striker now in the services of the New York Red Bulls, the same team that just sent Mathis to L.A. in an apparent salary-clearing move. A Red Bulls spokesman declined to comment, citing the team's policy on players under contract with other clubs.

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