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I’ve played at Anfield, San Siro and Ibrox and hostile Turkish stadium tops them


Steven Caulker has a football passport many would dream of and one trip left him in awe more than any other.

The defender played for Premier League giants Liverpool and Tottenham before going to Scotland, Turkey and now Spain where he plays for Malaga City.


Caulker has had the crowd on their feet in some of the UK’s best stadiumsCredit: Getty

The 32-year-old also boasts one goal in one game for England, but he’s since taken up the opportunity to play for Sierra Leone.

An incredible career has seen Caulker play in legendary stadiums like Anfield, San Siro, Old Trafford and Ibrox.

However, one stands out above the rest from his time in Turkey.

“The best atmosphere I played under was when we went to Fenerbahce,” he told talkSPORT. “It’s a close stadium, the fans are rocking.

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“But it’s the whistling for 95 minutes, the intensity of it, they’re not afraid to throw things at you, it’s a lot more hostile.”

Fenerbahce were involved in unsavoury scenes recently when its players were attacked by Trabzonspor supporters in the latest violent fan incident.

Despite Caulker’s praise for the big Istanbul sides, he also pointed out that incredible atmospheres aren’t completely widespread in the Turkish Super Lig.

“It beats English football for that side of it, but it doesn’t in terms of when you go to Burnley and it’s packed out with 30 or 40 thousand, you don’t have that there,” he said.

Caulker rates Fenerbahce's Ulker Stadium as the best atmosphere he's experienced


Caulker rates Fenerbahce’s Ulker Stadium as the best atmosphere he’s experiencedCredit: Getty

“Not every week [the Turkish stadiums are amazing] we look at Besiktas, Galatasaray, Fenerbahce but you go to a lot of grounds and it’s empty.

“When I played under [Andrea] Pirlo [at Fatih Karagumruk] we had a 60,000 stadium but there were under 1000 fans, the stadium was incredible but the atmosphere was zero.”

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That didn’t stop Caulker enjoying his experience under the legendary Italian though.

“Working under Pirlo was an amazing experience,” the defender recalled.

“He didn’t talk to much, he wasn’t necessarily a man manager, he focused a lot on fitness which I found interesting because he used to play at such ease, but the Italian way, or his way, was that we had to be fit so that was a great experience.

“When he gave you an example in training everyone thought ‘OK, that’s the level’ when he’s in midfield and he’s showing how to turn out and hit a diagonal he did it with ease but that was his level so everyone took a step back when he showed examples as he knew what he was talking about.”

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