5 Players Who Have Brought Galatasaray UCL Success
Galatasaray's Top 5 Players Who Have Ensured Qualification for the Sweet 16
Galatasaray have somehow managed to advance into the Round of 16 with the likes of Juventus and Real Madrid both being part of their group stage. They were battered twice against Madrid, but managed a draw and a crucial win against Juve on the final day to advance into the Round of 16.
Let's start by being honest: a team that ends up with seven points after six games does not deserve to advance by any means. Let's look at Napoli, who finished with a total of 12 and still exited as they finished behind Borussia Dortmund and Arsenal. We look at Galatasaray, who played mediocre soccer at best for most of the group stage, and they still managed to make it through. Now, they have to be even better as lady luck will not be by their side when it counts even more.
The team was without a couple of key figured for some of the games, and this is what caused them to play quite poorly at times. They do not have a squad that is as capable as Juventus in every single position. Truth be told, they won the match by chance as both teams were forced to play on a horrible pitch that fell victim to a hail storm a night before the match was resumed. In addition, the Italian side missed quite a few chances. If they earned a point at the very worst, they would have still managed to advance.
Folks, regardless of how the Turkish champions got there, this is a moment in history that they will never forget. Getting to the Round of 16 is better than dropping to the Europa League's round of 32. Even if they do get demolished by the likes of Manchester United, Chelsea, Barcelona, Atletico Madrid, Paris Saint-Germain, Bayern Munich or Dortmund, the fact that they reached this stage is remarkable.
Now, let's look at the top five guys that brought them all the way here:
5. Fernando Muslera
This keeper missed matchdays four and five and of course, his team lost on both occasions. Against Juve, he made some remarkable saves in the worst conditions (weather-wise), and should be given a lot of the credit for the 1-0 victory.
If this team is to advance even further, he will most likely have to stand on his head against some of the best clubs that Europe has to offer.
4. Emmanuel Eboue
This man has been asked to play as a right-back, but he is more of an attacking winger as he has proven time and time again. Whether he dribbles past players, holds the ball up or connects with rushing teammates, his presence on the right side of the field has been cemented into this team's DNA.
If he stays on his groove, the Round of 16 could be just a bit easier for this club.
3. Felipe Melo
Known as the "Pitt Bull" of the squad, this man has been an absolute rock in the midfield. His job has been to tackle away danger, hold the ball up, make some runs and set teammates up. If he misses any of the games in the next round, there will be a huge hole in the heart of the team's midfield. He is irreplaceable.
2. Wesley Sneijder
After missing some of the season due to a lingering injury, he returned just in time against Juventus and scored the game-winner inside the final 10 minutes. His running, skill, passing and daring attitude allowed him to erase any fear whatsoever to score that timely and impressive goal.
His strike will always be remembered as the one who defeated the best from Italy. He truly works hard for the club when he is healthy and that is exactly what matters. He deserves to wear the prestigious no. 10.
1. Didier Drogba
At the age of 35, he has been the dominant leader in the final third. At times, he has even dropped back to help the midfield and defense out of dangerous situations. He is the best from the Ivory Coast and is the starting number 11 for Galatasaray. His leadership is unmistakable and can never be challenged by anyone at the club, even the coaching staff.
As the oldest player on the roster and most influential, he truly is the no. 1 reason why Galatasaray have advanced to the Round of 16.