Zeki Rıza Sporel: Turkey's first superstar striker

Please note: this video is in Turkish

Zeki Rıza Sporel was a Turkish football player and one of the greatest strikers in Turkish football history, spending his entire club career at Fenerbahçe in a 22-year career. He went onto win one Turkish Football Championships and four Istanbul Football League titles for Fener. For his nation, Sporel became Turkey’s first (and second) goalscorer in their first ever international match against Romania in 1923, which ended 2–2.

Notably, he also played in the General Harington Cup, a friendly match between Fenerbahçe and the Coldstream Guards comprising soldiers and pros. The cup got its name from General Charles Harington of the British Army. The match was special as it took place after Britain invaded Turkey:

When occupation forces lost the war, General Charles Harington, the British commander-in chief of the occupation forces wanted his forces to salvage some pride before their withdrawal from Istanbul.

He placed a newspaper advertisement challenging any Turkish football teams to take on his British forces team. Harington was confident that his team would easily win against any Turkish team because he brought some players from England to play in this game including the future Chelsea winger Willie Ferguson. Fenerbahçe accepted the challenge. The opener in the game came from Willie Ferguson. However, things changed on the second half. Zeki Rıza Sporel, an astonishing goal scorer of his time, found the net twice and brought the victory to Fenerbahçe.

via the official Fenerbahçe website

He went onto score 485 goals in 368 matches for club and country.

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