The Turkish super league – commonly seen as a two horse race between fierce rivals Galatasary and Fenerbahce; however this season the tide has turned, with several teams seperated by only eight points and all in the running to take the title. The current campaign has also seen the emergence of fresh goalscoring talent, but it seems one man familiar to Bolton fans looks poised to claim the Golden Boot – arise Ariza Makakula.
With 17 goals already to his name, loan ranger Ariza Makakula is making a name for himself at his current club Kayserispor. The Portuguese hitman currently leads the goalscoring chart, seven goals ahead of the field and is looking to make a further impression before returning to the North West at the end of the season to try to stake a claim in the Bolton side. His deadly goalscoring pedigree has seen him score 17 times in 23 games, maintaining a ratio of just under a goal per game. His current club Kayserispor stand in 5th, seven points behind leaders Galatasary and on the brink of a European place, however their title challenge has taken a dent recently, after only one win in their last five games. But having spent four and a half years at Portuguese giants Benfica, the Congo-born striker has vast experience of playing at a high level, making his goalscoring contribution vital in the outcome of Kayserispor’s season.
Also in the running for the golden boot is Turkish international Umut Bulut. The 26 year old, has 10 goals to his name and has been heavily influential in Trabzonspor’s rise to sixth in the league. The striker hit a purple patch towards the back end of 2009, finding the net in six consecutive games, before carrying his form into 2010 with a hat-trick in his sides’ 6-0 demolition of Denizli in the Turkish cup. Bulut is renowned for his fast pace and physical appearance, this could stand him in good stead for international selection and Trabzonspor’s push for a Europa league spot next season.
Over the years, one man has dominated Turkish Football; with 166 goals for Fenerbahce and nine for the season, you’d be foolish to rule out former Brazilian captain Alex. His European and international experience are second to none, winning 48 caps for Brazil up until 2005 and currently holding a club record for the most goals in European competitions. The 31 year-old attacking midfielder has had mixed fortunes so far this season though, seeing red in his sides’ 2-1 defeat to Istanbul BB despite getting on the scoresheet. His poor disciplinary record may halt his chances of topping the goalscoring chart, but a player of his quality can never be written off, meaning Alex is still in the hunt for yet more personal silverware.
The Turkcell Super lig has had its ups and downs over the past decade, but with big name players now opting to join Turkish clubs, its appears to be moving in the right direction. With 10 games to go, both the title race and the golden boot are wide open, with Galatasary and Makakula leading the way respectively. Anything could happen and in my eyes, it’s too tough to call.