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|Birthday||September 5, 1988|
Tipped for greatness from an early age, Sahin was born in Germany but plays for Turkey at international level and was snapped up by Real Madrid in the summer of 2011.
His starring performance in the Turkey side that won the 2005 UEFA European Under-17 Championship in Italy saw him in the spotlight and he soon became the youngest player to have played in the Bundesliga – when he made his debut in August 2005 at the age of 16 years and 334 days.
However, despite making the breakthrough into the senior Turkish side, he could not cement his place at Dortmund and, in July 2007, he joined Feyenoord on loan. It was a move that would reinvigorate his career and, under Bert van Marwijk, who gave him his break while in charge at Dortmund, he helped the club end a six-year trophy drought to win the Dutch Cup.
Returning to Dortmund, Sahin established himself as a first team player and his ability to sit deep and dictate the play drew comparisons with Andrea Pirlo and Bastian Schweinsteiger. His form lifted Dortmund to the 2010-11 German title and attracted the attention of Real Madrid, who swooped with a €10 million bid that matched a clause in his expiring contract.
Strengths: An incisive passer, Sahin’s ability to play a killer ball marks him out from his peers. His vision is excellent and can dictate the tempo of the game. Also an excellent dead ball specialist.
Weaknesses: One-footed, with an aversion to using his right foot, and also weak in the air.
Career high: Winning the 2010-11 German Bundesliga title, leading him to proclaim: “This is my best day ever football-wise.”
Career low: His exit on loan to Feyenoord could have been the end of his Dortmund career.
Style: Incisive, skilful, a visionary midfielder with a great eye for a pass.
Quotes: “Sahin is a huge talent. There’s absolutely no doubt about that. He’s still pretty young and has plenty of time to think about his career. I have to admit that he’s been developing very well recently. Nuri is a player of extraordinary quality.” Turkey boss Guus Hiddink, February 2011.
Trivia: Sahin was allowed to move to Real Madrid for €10 million after a clause in his contract allowed him to move abroad.