Greek footballer feels at home in Turkey

Samsunspor striker Georgios Samaras says two countries share similar food, culture and music

Greek footballer feels at home in Turkey

By Ilyas Gun

SAMSUN, Turkey

A Greek footballer who is now playing for Turkish club Samsunspor said on Monday he feels at home in Turkey.

Georgios Samaras, 33, told Anadolu Agency he left Greece for the Netherlands when he was 16 years old and struggled in a culture he was alien to.

The former Manchester City and Celtic striker said he faced the same trouble when he later moved to England.

"But in Turkey, especially in recent months, I began to feel at home," he said.

He added that Turkey and Greece shared many similarities.

"They welcomed me with great hospitality in Turkey. I did not worry before coming to Turkey. There isn't any problem between Turkish and Greek people. The tension is completely political in nature," Samaras said.

"We express our feelings in the same way. Our food and music is nearly the same. When I travel to Istanbul, Izmir and Adana, I see similar things that I saw in Greece. We are neighbors and there are many mutual things."

He said he loved baklava, a Turkish dessert.

Samaras moved to Turkey last August when Samsunspor signed him on a free transfer.

"Turkish people love football as much as Greek people do. I am supporting Fenerbahce in Turkey. But the best player in Turkey is Besiktas' Ricardo Quaresma," Samaras said.

He is Samsunspor's second Greek player after Theofanis Gekas.

Referring to Turkey coming third in 2002 FIFA World Cup, he said: "Now there's a change in Turkish National Team. New faces, new players appear. We won Euro 2004 title and started anew. I think Turkish National Team is renewing itself."

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