Fatih Terim, former coach of Galatasaray and the National Team, gave an interview to GQ Turkey. Terim made statements about his time in Galatasaray, his days in the National Team, his admiration for Lionel Messi from the World Cup in Qatar, and his personal life.
The interview given by Fatih Terim, the former coach of Galatasaray And The National Team, When He Went To Qatar At The Invitation Of The Royal Family, Is As Follows:
10 years ago, you received the “Sports Man of the Year” award at the first Men Of The Year Award Ceremony organized by GQ magazine when it came to Turkey. Today we celebrate our 10th Anniversary in the magazine; We are interviewing you on the anniversary of the award and the magazine. We followed, but how was this 10 years of Fatih Terim?
When you say it like that, it sounds like a very long period, actually 10 years. In terms of numbers, 2012. When I think about what happened, I see that since that year, it has been an important milestone in my personal and coaching life. Why? After I returned to Galatasaray in the 2011-2012 season, I won two championships with my club in the first two years. We had a good adventure in the UEFA Champions League, we played the quarter-finals.
Sometimes I think, maybe if there was VAR, we could have made it to the semi-finals that season. Who knows! There was a phenomenal team in those two seasons. Then again with the National Team and after 2017, four more trophies with Galatasaray… Of course, I was very happy to win trophies, medals and successes throughout my career. However, the most valuable thing I gained during this period in terms of sports was the opportunity to embrace new generations. In the 90s and early 2000s, the National Team and Galatasaray, let’s go a little further, meeting the new generation of football fans and new Galatasaray fans who could not watch the adventures of Euro 2008, and being a part of their lives has been one of my greatest achievements.
This is the on-field part of the job, of course. Looking at the last 10 years, I am now a person with three grandchildren. The lives of my souls bind me tightly to life and motivate me. As well as happiness, of course there was also sadness. My role model, my greatest companion in this life, my father also left us with all the life lessons, principles and memories he left me. Yes, 10 years is easy when you say it all at once, but if everyone who reads these lines thinks about their own life, how long is it actually…
There is a profile of a coach who thinks, works and does not take a break when he talks about the UEFA Cup Championship, one of the most important football achievements in the country’s history. Never resting… You say about the evening of May 17, “After the match, I sighed and looked at the sky”…
I rest with my family, my job, my loved ones. In 1985, when I left football, when they said to me, “You are so tired,” I felt really tired, but at that moment you cannot grasp that you have a much longer road ahead of you than what you left behind. One year after ending my football career, my coaching career began. And then I never stopped. am i tired? Actually no. Because one of the most important elements that connects me to this life is football. In my 50 years of football life, I have never spent a single day other than football in a different place than my family. That’s why taking a break and getting tired never happened in my body. As I gained strength from my family, I focused on football. This is a frequently asked question, what did I feel at that moment? You do not know the exact moment, a weight is lifted from you, an extraordinary relief; your soul is getting lighter, you realize it. But it is not possible to fully explain. I also said that when I spoke to my family that day, like when I became a father for the first time, I had never been a European Champion before, so I can explain. There was one thing I knew, as the years passed, the value of that moment, of the match, would become more and more appreciated. Here, look, we’re still talking about it today.
When you quit football, you go to Mexico to write your impressions of the 1986 FIFA World Cup, and you say that you understand that football is your destiny. Can we say that football convinced you again?
It was a very good tournament, I assure you… So one step ahead of you is Maradona; all those big stars, different continents and geography. Apart from that, while watching all the matches, of course, football was on my mind and in my heart.
In fact, it was something that was not seen in those days because the photos taken when two people came together were served as “exclusive interviews”. Still, there was a serious team in Mexico. And I said the right thing was to go to Mexico. May they rest in heaven, we wrote our impressions together with the deceased Can (Bartu) Abi and Turgay (Şeren) Abi. It was very precious to be there with two of the most valuable names in Turkish football history. I stayed in Mexico throughout the tournament, after which my coaching career began. Football didn’t need to convince me, actually, it had been a long time since I was convinced of football…
Being a person who excites everyone without exception… Keeping all eyes on you and the expectation of surpassing yourself… What kind of person did this expectation of success make you?
Believe me, I’ve never complained about it, honestly. Sometimes you listen to people, they say, “I’m so overwhelmed, I can’t move anymore, I want to go outside easily”. You can experience such things momentarily, and I find it natural. But I know that for you, a routine moment, a 30 second, is an important memory that other people will carry throughout their lives. I can say that I feel it much more now. The expectation of self-transcendence is also linked to this. If people see you as a leader, you have to act accordingly. Sometimes my colleagues remind me that if I’m laughing or having a good day, everyone in the facility or in our workspace is affected by it, and vice versa. That’s why you believe not only in yourself, but in you,
Think about it, I’m 69 years old and every moment of my life has been recorded since I was 17. If everyone starts from himself and remembers his state, words, behaviors or lifestyle 10-15 years ago, he can understand this better. Every move I make, every word I say, every step I take… My life is always in a triangle; He passed on depending on his family, principles and work. This expectation of success did not change me, I always remained the same person; Along with all this, I have never forgotten my responsibility.
Everyone has an opinion about you, whether it’s football or not. We’re talking about millions of emotional bonds with you. Can you share the three moments in your career when you felt the most intense feelings of love, respect and hatred?
I do not want to put intense emotions such as love, respect, hatred into a certain class or order. I think you’re saying that I’m one of the most talked about names every day, at every Dinner table, any time two people get together. There are those who love success as well as those who don’t. I know this, but today, while talking to a grandfather at the same table, the fact that both his son and grandchild tell something about me and share his memory with me makes me so happy… Being able to touch people’s lives without realizing it, being able to influence them with what you say or your attitude, Being aware is very valuable to me.
Have you achieved the goal you set for yourself to be “a person who preserves his essence and values, is open and honest, but can combine them with a modern point of view”?
I have never changed. From the moment I was born, I continued my life with everything I know that made me who I am. But I’ve changed, a lot. I say this often too. People should never be afraid of transforming, and even go after it. I have always been open to innovations while staying the same in my core and protecting my values, acting honestly and justly. It is a very special feeling to experience the peace of mind of this today. Yes, I believe I have accomplished the goal you mentioned in this context.
As a person who is remembered for success, how do you stand up after failures? What is the impact of your reaction to failure on your success?
Very… If you are doing such a job, there may be failure as well as success. You have to know this, you have to take the risk of it. But you can’t be afraid to lose; If you set out with this concern, you cannot manage his psychology. After the Croatia game in Euro 2008, in a flash interview, they asked me, “Have you given your team a penalty?” I said “no”. We didn’t want to put that burden on my players before the game. Maybe there were players who took a penalty for the first time in their career, but we managed to reach the semi-finals by beating our opponent without missing a single penalty shot.
Successful people learn from their losses. Because sometimes failures can shorten the way you need to go to reach your goal. In defeats, I inflict the greatest punishment on myself. It has been a long time, “sir, you have won so many matches and trophies; I have heard my loved ones say, “You have the right to lose, too.” My family is the one who suffers the most in this regard; neither dinners, nor vacation plans… There have been many cancellations. But you can’t afford to stop. In those moments of disappointment when I stayed with myself, I got the strength to stand up again from my family, from my colleagues with whom I set out and whom I always trusted and who went together towards a single goal. It always gives strength to be with people who are sad with you and hug you at those moments.
Metin Oktay says, “Let’s not upset those who love us,” and you followed the same motto throughout your career. What is the place of the sense of belonging in the professional world? Would you be happier in the professional world without the burden of sharing the sorrows of belonging?
When I look back, I am happy with what I saw, this is the first feeling I felt. I’m not sure if there is more or less happiness. I always wanted to do more wherever I worked. Maybe, as you said, if I were a person who did the basic duties of coaching and went home that way, I could not have experienced emotions intensely and burdened myself less. However, in Galatasaray, the National Team, Italy, Göztepe, Ankaragücü and Adana Demirspor during my football career, I have always been very possessive.
When the place you serve professionally has a place in your social life, the sadness you experience as a supporter feels the same. But when I first signed for Galatasaray, Abi Metin (Oktay) was with me. While taking me from my home in Adana to Istanbul, my late father leaned over Metin Abi’s ear and said, “My son is entrusted to you, good luck; God forbid,” he said. I learned to be a Galatasaray fan from the best. That’s why their perspective on Galatasaray and their ownership of the club set an example for me. I guess it’s normal for me to act like them.
You say in the documentary of May 17, “If the decisions made in the first stumbling block were different, we would talk about something else”. I think this evaluation is a comment that shows the understanding of Turkish football management… Do you think that the impatience for success creates a football eco-system that pushes to make decisions so suddenly, or is it personal decisions that take precedence over institutional mechanisms?
Some of the nuances in football and the decisions you make about their results can determine the future. We laid the foundations of the four championships between 1996-2000 very well, the fruits of which were reaped. Decisions can be taken in a similar way, not only in Turkey, but also in Europe, which we have shown as an example in such cases. In connection with the question of belonging just now, we are in a football world where people we used to call “no, that name is the symbol of that community” are rapidly changing places. Now, while the agendas change very quickly, memories are erased more quickly. And some jackets are too big for some people.
Similarly, clubs prefer star names and make non-long-term decisions by downsizing investments in infrastructure. When you were the National Teams Football Director, you said, “Raising a player is more important than being a champion”. This assessment is also valid economically today. How do you see the latest situation in Turkey regarding infrastructure today?
The summary of what I believe in, even the ideal of this work, is in the question you ask. Today, however, there are issues and problems that await solutions in the superstructure before the infrastructure and can be considered the ABC of football. At the A-teams level, we still have clubs that do not have facilities, stadiums or do not meet the standards. Can we talk about fair competition in this environment? I can’t judge any club president or management about infrastructure while the establishment at the A-teams level, domestic and foreign agenda, compliance with UEFA financial criteria, spending limits, referee assignments, VAR discussions continue and cannot be resolved. Everyone knows and says that the solution is in the infrastructure, but there is no time, resources and energy left to save talent from trying to save the day beforehand.
You have worked with world stars and young actors who owe their careers to you. In this context, how do you compare the effect of technical and tactical management and people management on success?
It’s a road friendship. Look, we see the 11 players we watch on television or in the stadium once a week or once every 15 days. Think of a locker room, it is not easy to bring together 30 people from different cultures, different languages, and different faiths from all over the world in a few square meters of space for two or three hours a day, with high adrenaline, and make them focus on the same goal. Also, let’s not forget that the economy is involved. At the beginning of his career, a young player and a world star who has not won and left no success can sometimes undress side by side. From all this crowd, you can choose only 11 people each week. Ensuring that the survivors know their role well, believe in a purpose, and support what is on the pitch is an important issue for all coaches.
Although these people, the oldest of whom are 35 years old, are sometimes seen as emotionless robots, it should be remembered that each of them is human. In other words, there are good and bad times and difficulties that everyone may have to face in their life. On that day, it is a team effort to master all these so that he can perform well in his job and not to make him feel alone. Therefore, it is very important not only to form a team, but also to form a team behind the team. But when all this comes together, you can talk technique and tactics. Football is not a game where you can only give your player an opponent analysis, explain what needs to be done on the field and think that this will be enough. Because you take a player not only to your team, but also to your life. Sometimes you see more of your family than your loved ones. Footballer,
“I need time to mentally relax,” you said recently. How does Fatih Terim relax?
Can he stop without making a proper plan, without dreaming? You have heard from many football people, “When I come home, I don’t talk about football, I don’t watch any matches except my own, I think about football and I relax my mind.” I guess you want to tell me? No! (shaking index finger left and right) I live my mental relaxation by daydreaming, programming myself to achieve this dream. I don’t know how all this would have progressed if my family had not been so understanding, respectful and more concerned with my work. I am in love with football, even after watching football all day, if I come across a football match on a TV channel in the middle of the night, I am the happiest person in the world. That’s why I feed my mind and body with football and I relax with it. Besides, there are at least 40 years, I can’t sleep without reading something. Reading books motivates me to produce. In both my social life and my business life, I like to be with people who can do several things at the same time or have different skills; I’m one of those too. While watching and reading my favorite thing, I think a lot, I transform, I learn. Both exist as long as people dream; As long as I breathe, I will continue to do new things and work for them.
In one of your interviews, you mentioned how enjoyable your match conversations were and even that you wanted to reflect a similar feeling in the documentary… Which match is still most memorable today and it gives you pleasure to talk about that match to your heart’s content? Who would you like to be in that chat?
I love long tables, pleasant conversations, crowded houses, football talks. I trust my memory, I remember most games minute by minute, with the score, the goal scorer, the missed goal. My family and friends are similar to me in this regard. As a person, he takes pleasure when he finds someone like himself, whom he will receive in return when chatting. In response, I mean people who immediately understand your joke, speak the same language as you, and were happy and saddened by the same thing as you. Maybe you didn’t meet when that match was played, but years later, when talking about that day, he says something that tells you how you feel better than you. Like this. Why? Because you have succeeded in transferring that energy to those who are on the screen, in the stands, and to those who give their heart to you. Of course, besides that, our long tables would be a lot of fun. completely natural, lean and zero bias. Maybe we’ll shoot it one day and at least we’ll have a memory.
You have been an inspiration to popular culture and aphorisms for years. What was your favorite comment/joke/story about yourself that made you laugh?
Over the years, such a beautiful circle of love has formed with people… Sometimes it is delivered to me and I get emotional and laugh a lot and enjoy it. Especially what the new generation is doing, here are my young friends, whom I have had the opportunity to embrace and meet in the last 10 years I mentioned, it makes me feel very good. I can’t choose just one, but I can say that I see most of them.
Football and the fashion industry often cross paths these days. Those who follow you closely even make sense of the color of the shirt you wear. How would you describe Fatih Terim’s style on and off the field? Should I really make sense of your shirt after this interview?
All my life I believed in development and transformation. I did not lose my essence, but I tried to look at it from different angles. My style of dressing and my sense of fashion were also important in this transformation. I didn’t choose what I wore just because it was a brand or just because it was a trend that I thought would look good on me. I wanted them to express me. Over time, I made accessories such as watches, rings, handkerchiefs and bracelets a part of it. First, my wife and then my daughters always helped me see what was new and different in this regard. For example, I pay attention to color harmony. If I wear a shirt or jacket; my shoes, a bracelet on my arm or a watch, maybe a small detail on my trousers, you can see the same color there. Other than that, the answer to your question is “yes”. From the color of my shirt to the stance of his collar… Don’t think it’s a coincidence. Also, if I wear a white shirt, There may be things to watch out for. (laughs)
You have expressed the key to success with the concept of “mental integration” in the past. In your last statement in the documentary, you say, “I am a very crowded loner”. Have your successes made you lonely?
Mental integration is a precious word that emerges in our friendly conversations and affects me a lot. As I just mentioned, focusing a team, a club, a community with millions of people on a goal, comes with that integration. All the beauties are experienced in an environment where everyone can trust each other and stand behind them to support them. When you look at it today, eight Super Leagues, five Super Cups, three Turkish Cups, three TSYD Cups, UEFA Cups… It’s a picture that I’m proud of, but that seems easy when you put it like that. The credits you obtain are also earned through these achievements.
Did it make me lonely? Actually no. What I want to talk about there is very different. One of the heaviest feelings in this life is making a decision. I listen to everyone. From the youngest to the most experienced… Sometimes a person with no interest in football gives you the right idea. Everyone’s opinion is important to me. I don’t approach anyone saying “how would he know”. But ultimately someone has to decide. People live by the decisions they make or the choices they make. Sometimes you live so deeply that you do not know that they are the harbinger of future happiness. That’s why it’s heavy. The lines on your face increase, and you see the decisions you make in every line you look at.
The concept of family is always at the center of your life. Looking at the great family you have built today, what does Emperor Fatih Terim want to say to Fatih from Adana?
Life contains all kinds of emotions. Happiness, sadness, ups and downs, mergers, separations… He should be ready for all of them, never give up, remain himself with his mistakes and truths, continue to live for his family and friends as much as himself, and when he does all these, he will touch millions of people without even realizing it, I would say that he will be proud of the lives he has built and influenced, that he will have a life that he will not stop renewing himself because he knows that they will want more from him after every new success he has achieved, that he will have no account to give when he looks back, that he should keep his heart at ease, that he should continue to dream and work.
As the son of a father who called you “my destiny friend, my soul mate”, you made the whole world say, “The match is not over until the Turks get on the bus”. How would you describe the equivalent of not giving up in football, technically and tactically?
My father was my greatest teacher. As you said, from a very young age, I learned to struggle and not to give up from him. You will see that some of the principles that you have adopted in your life have equivalents on the field. This is a situation that is independent of technique or tactics, but must go with it. We always talk about our last team talk before the UEFA Cup final. It was the last scene of four years of hard work, hard work and memorization of the game for that team. If it’s a movie, you can also consider it a “teaser”. A story with great sacrifices behind it. Or our Euro 2008 adventure. You probably don’t think you can do what you say by saying “Come on guys, we’re not giving up”.
It may be possible to match the persistence in football with the constant search for solutions to win. Sometimes you can do things that no one thought of, to shock the team. You can change the formation, you can differentiate the positions. You take risks, you make the opponent feel that you want to win. The leader influences the people around him with a single action. You do not have the luxury of falling, you must not show your disappointment. You have to understand psychology, empathy. For this, you must ensure that everyone, employees, players, managers, professionals, fans focus on the same goal without any doubt. When all these come together, you can make people say, “The match is not over until the Turks get on the bus.”
For the first time in history, a FIFA World Cup will be held in winter. What is your assessment of Qatar 2022? What are your predictions about this tournament in terms of world football?
It will be a new experience for all of us; There will be innovations such as preparing the teams for a new geography and season change, determining the calendar they will come to Qatar before the tournament, holding the tournament while the league seasons continue, returning to the league race after the tournament, perhaps without a vacation. As many people are wondering about the weather, it is said that an ideal air temperature will be reached in that season. I had the opportunity to examine stadiums, training facilities and club structures in Doha. I’ve seen a lot of work being done to offer solutions even for hot weather. The giant air panels in the stadiums do not reflect that overwhelming effect on you inside, even if it is hot outside. Like everyone else, I’m looking forward to it.
Who is among the teams whose understanding of the game you like the most today? Who will you follow closely during the tournament?
The heart would like to; Let Turkey be in Qatar and support our country with great enthusiasm… We can count many teams. From Europe, South America. Even from other continents. But I’m a big Lionel Messi fan. You know, at a press conference, when I was asked, I reminded myself of an earlier statement. For me, there is also Messi, two Messi, three Messi… I watched him many times, and I still take care not to miss any of his matches. Even more so now; because he is now in his final years. That’s why he won the cup he missed in the final in 2014 and, in his own words, the last FIFA World Cup. I want him to be a champion in his organization. Apart from that, my former students and close friends will take part in the tournament. Of course, I will follow them with a different eye. I expect it to be a very enjoyable tournament.