The story of Istanbul Basaksehir: Champions of Turkey

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The year 2020 has been of surprises, disappointments, and redemptions. Premier League giants, Liverpool, finally clinched their first league title in 30 years. Zinedine Zidane’s Real Madrid bounced back to win La Liga, putting last season’s disaster to rest.

Paris Saint-Germain were crowned Ligue 1 champions with 11 games still to play, following the COVID-19 outbreak. And finally, Euro 2020 was pushed back a year and is now set to take place in 2021. 

The Turkish Super Lig, despite housing some of the most decorated clubs in Europe, isn’t one of the top five leagues in the continent.

However, after the 2019-20 campaign, even the most elite are bound to take note and greet the newly-crowned champions of the Turkish Super Lig – Istanbul Basaksehir.

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Humble beginnings

Istanbul Basaksehir was founded in 1990 by the municipality’s water distributors under the name ISKI SK. As expected, the club didn’t have the hunger or motivation to climb to the very top and were happy to play in the Regional Amateur Football League.

The players, however, were surprisingly good in their respective positions, and helped the team to the third tier of Turkish football — TFF Second League. 

The club changed its name to Istanbul Basaksehir Belediyesi and performed well above expectations in the third division. Only a couple of seasons later, in 1993-94, the team earned the promotion to the second division.

They were demoted back to the third division a couple of seasons later, but once again bounced back to the second tier in 1997-98. Finally, in 2006-07, they finished 1st in the second division and deservedly won the right to call themselves a Super Lig aspirant. 

In 2013, they experienced their worst ever campaign in the Super Lig. Finishing 16th, they were demoted once again to the second division.

Fortunately, the team once again found its bearings and immediately bounced back to the first division with a new name —  Istanbul Basaksehir  — and an indomitable desire to reach the very top. 

Istanbul Basaksehir’s consistency

In 2014-15, playing as Istanbul Basaksehir for the first time in their history, the club managed to bring enticing attacking football to the table.

With 15 wins and 14 draws in the Super Lig, Istanbul Basaksehir finished in the fourth position — their best result yet. A season later, in 2016-17, they came agonisingly close to fulfilling their dream, finishing four points behind champions, Besiktas. 

They repeated the feat once again in 2018-19; this time completing the season only two points behind cross-town rivals, Galatasaray. 

After five painful seasons of near misses and close calls, Istanbul Basaksehir have finally done the impossible this season of lifting the Super Lig title with a game to spare.

Thanks to the ruthless efforts of Edin Visca (18 goals) and Demba Ba (14 goals) and solidity of former Premier League stars, Gael Clichy and Martin Skrtel in defence, Istanbul Basaksehir have clinched their first-ever Super Lig title, under the guidance of Okan Buruk, beating the traditional Turkish giants, Galatasaray, Fenerbahce and Besiktas in the race for the top honour. 

Istanbul Basaksehir’s triumph this season has firmly established them as one of the forces to be reckoned with in the Super Lig. The title triumph would allow them to bring more world-class stars into the mix in the future — players who would add immense value to the league.

As per reports, Arsenal‘s Mesut Ozil is currently contemplating a move to Turkey, to Istanbul Basaksehir.

From being a club owned by the municipality to a club in the running for an established Premier League star such as Mesut Ozil, Istanbul Basaksehir serve as an example for all aspiring clubs, proving time and again that perseverance pays off, always. 

Also Read: La Liga 2019-20: Season Review and Key Stats

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