Meira happy with Galatasaray switch PDF Print E-mail

Turkish club "bigger than Stuttgart" says defender.

MeiraFernando Meira has revealed his reasons for leaving German side Stuttgart for Turkey’s Galatasaray during the summer, and says he is happy with life in Istanbul.

The Portuguese defender signed a four-year contract at the Ali Sami-Yen stadium, bringing an end to a spell in the Bundesliga which spanned seven years and saw Meira crowned German champions in 2007. However, the former Benfica man insists it was the right time to move to a more ambitious club.

“I came here mainly because it's a club that fights every year to win the league,” Meira said. “I wanted to leave Germany, where I'd spent almost seven years and I wanted to move to a great club, where I could be a champion again. Turkey is a country where people live football with a big passion and I just hope to win more trophies with Galatasaray.

“Stuttgart is a great club in Germany, but Galatasaray tries to win every competition they play, it's an ambitious and a top club. Stuttgart try the best they can but their main goal is a place in the UEFA Cup. Galatasaray always fights to be champion and that makes them bigger than Stuttgart.”

Meira was also quick to pay tribute to the club’s fans, who are renowned for their passionate support and the electric atmosphere created at Galatasaray’s famed Ali Sami Yen Stadium. “The stadium is amazing! In my whole career as a footballer, I've never experienced such an atmosphere. It was one of the things that attracted me most, to know the fans are crazy about football here. It's great for someone that plays at the top level to feel the support from a 12th player.

“It's hard to describe the emotions and the strength that our fans give us. I have a great relationship with them. They are special fans, who support and live for their team. They've encouraged me from the beginning and I will try to pay them back with good performances and much success.”

As for the future, Meira is keen to remain in Turkey for the next four years, but hopes to one day return to Vitoria Guimaraes, the place where he started his career. Meira left his hometown club in 2000 to join Benfica, but would like to return to the northwest of Portugal one day in some capacity.

“I do see myself as a manager,” he said. “It's one of my ambitions. I'm a very organised person and I'm very persistent when I'm chasing goals. When I start a project, I do it with all my commitment and I won't rest until I succeed.

“My goal right now is to achieve all the success for Galatasaray for four years and later to go back to the club I support, which is Vitória Guimaraes. I hope when I leave Turkey that I still have the strength to help Vitória as a player, because that's my desire. And I will only play after my contract with Galatasaray expires, if I still have the desire and joy from playing football. If I don't, then I will try to help Vitória in some other role.”

November 2008, Sean Gillen

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