Altintop speaks with Discoveryfootball.com in exclusive interview
Hamit Altintop is one of the most important footballers that Turkey has known since paying its football. He is a versatile midfielder who can play either in a defending or attacking role and on both wings, known for his creative flair and long-range shooting ability. He may have been born in Gelsenkirchen by immigrant parents and wore some of the world’s top clubs (Bayern Munich, Real Madrid) and Galatasaray, but everyone recognizes his great contribution to the Turkish national team.
Every time he was wearing his national teams colours, he was always playing with self-denial and mental strength. Now, Halil’s 10-minute younger brother is working for the football federation of his home country, aiming to achieve his own goal which is part of his high goals too, which are: Better people and to love what they are doing. Improve themselves as football players and do their best to reach their national team as high as possible.
Altıntop played in all five of Turkey’s matches at UEFA Euro 2008. He assisted all three goals in the comeback against the Czech Republic and in the quarter-finals against Croatia he scored the third penalty to make it 3–1 in the shoot out. After goalkeeper Rustu Recber saved the next Croatian penalty, Turkey advanced to the semi-finals against Germany.
Turkish coach Fatih Terim used him as a right defender in the first two games of the tournament, a move that was heavily criticized by the media since Altıntop was a midfielder for his club, Bayern Munich that time.
After the match against Switzerland, Terim switched him to midfield for the remaining tournament, which boosted both Turkey’s and his own performance. His bold playing style and decisive passes made him a dominant player in the Turkish midfield. He was awarded the Carlsberg Man of the Match award following the quarter-final match against Croatia. When the tournament ended, Altıntop was widely acknowledged to be one of the tournament’s stars, and was included in UEFA’s official 23-man «Team of the Tournament».
In January 2011, Altıntop won the FIFA Puskas Award for Goal of the Year of 2010 for his volley against Kazakhstan in September 2010 in a Euro 2012 qualifier.
He was captain of the national team for the first time on 30 March 2011 in a 2–0 victory against Austria.
Discoveryfootball.com had the opportunity to speak exclusively with Hamit Altintop in Bucharest, where the final of the 2020 European Championship had been drawn.
DF: Hamit tell us exactly what your responsibilities are now in the Turkish Football Federation
R/: «I am responsible for national teams from 12 years and over ..»
DF: What are the ambitions of this program?
R/: «First of all, we want to give children the opportunity to achieve high ambitions. They have talent, quality and we work with them to raise their level. «
DF: What are your ages?
R/: «From that of 12 years and over. It is a young team preparing to gain experience. We want to go in the right and small steps so that we can do something very good».
DF: How is your life now that you are out of football in the sense that you are no longer a footballer but in accordance with his policy…
R/: «I hope it’s a good start as I have been a member of the DS after my important career. Now things are completely different I’m out of the field».
France is the favourite for Altintop
DF: The final stage of the European Championship is approaching. Which are the teams that play a leading role?
R/: «France is the favourite. It holds the World Cup and has a strong team. Germany is also strong. Italy has won all its games. Belgium, which also had the absolute number of wins in 10 out of 10. It still has a very strong team with quality and experience. England has a young team and is constantly improving. «
DF: Let’s go back to the club level and talk about the UEFA Champions League. Will we have the usual and familiar teams again as the protagonists?
R/: «Certainly the teams that will compete and this year the trophy will be pretty much the same. Bayern, Real, Barcelona, Liverpool, Manchester City and maybe Paris Saint-Germain which have spent many millions … «
DF: The Tottenham Hotspur which we saw firing Pochettino and taking Mourinho what can it do?
R/: «Pochettino had a lot to offer and his job seems to be. It helped Tottenham reach its first Champions League final for the first time in their history and it makes sense for several teams to want to take him. Mourinho, on the other hand, is more experienced and can touch the players. Tottenham is sure to improve even further, as it has high aspirations for the UEFA Champions League. It’s definitely a good choice for Tottenham Hotspur«.
DF: How did you see the voting for the Golden Ball?
R/: «Great players both Messi and Van Dijk. Messi is a footballer who does a great job and of course, he makes a difference in his team. Van Dijk played an important role for Liverpool to win the Champions League, perhaps he should be given more attention».
DF: From what I learned, Turkey will again claim to take the final stage of 2028 European Championship, this time
R/: «It’s our big dream. We have great constructions, new stadiums, experience. We want to get a great event. Something that will empower the younger generation and help them for their future».
DF: Could it is a partnership with Greece, as it did in 2008 where Switzerland eventually, came to Austria?
R/: «Our relations could certainly have been even better and we have put together such a great event as the aforementioned and the Netherlands have done with Belgium. Why not in the future. After all, this can further strengthen the bonds of friendship between the two countries, since we all know that football unites».
Hamit has been married to Feyzal since 2014 and they have not one or two but four children: Aynal (4), Ahlam (2) , Ammar and Khalifa (a few months old)