Whatever Happened to Burak Yılmaz?

Created on Feb. 07, 2014 2:22 PM EST

Burak Yılmaz, does that name ring a bell? This was the guy who made headlines last year by scoring eight goals in the UEFA Champions League for Turkish club Galatasaray. He emerged as one of the most prolific scorers in Europe after scoring 30 goals in 34 Turkish Super Lig matches in the 2011-2012 season, followed by 24 goals in 30 match the following year.

The Antalya native was pursued by Chelsea FC and Liverpool later in the summer, but in an interesting turn of event, the Turkish international opted to stay put with Cim Bom and hold onto his long term contract that pays him 2.3 Million Euros per-season.

Former Manchester United star Eric Cantona told Canal+, “Burak Yılmaz is a first class footballer, actually I see a lot of myself in him.”
“If he can score this many goals for Galatasaray in the Champions League, I think he could score even more if he was at Manchester United.”

As much as I respect the man, I think Cantona needs to have a reality check.

Burak Yılmaz is far from world class and is nowhere near the footballer Cantona ever was. This season Yılmaz has fallen back to Earth, scoring 10 goals in 18 Turkish Super Lig matches this season. Although this number is still decent, the drop in production was slightly inevitable.  Yılmaz does possess a great sense of positioning, aerial game, and has a decent touch on the ball, but his game possesses so many red flags that would label him as a waste of money if he were to play in the EPL, Bundesliga, or La Liga.

Here is a list of issues that explain why 28-year-old would struggle to excel in the bigger stage.

He cannot finish one-on-one consistently

The common joke about Burak Yılmaz in Turkey is “He can only finish with his head.” Galatasaray fans put their palms on their face whenever Selcuk Inan or Wesley Sneijder delivers a beautiful through ball to Yılmaz, only to see him shoot the ball into the keeper’s hands or outside the bar. He lacks patience in the box and fails to create subtle movements to shake off the keeper before drilling the ball into the net. If the likes of Higuain or Dzeko, great strikers that stand a tier below “Elite”, were in Yılmaz’s position, they would have finished most of those abundant chances Yılmaz was handed in Galatasaray.

Also the ball seems to accelerate faster off Yılmaz’s head than his feet. With the exception of the rocket he shot against Schalke 04 last season in the UEFA Champions League, Yılmaz’s shots roll pretty slowly off his feet. He missed many great chances not because his shots were taken in a bad spot, but his shots were savable by the keeper.

Tunnel vision

Whenever Burak Yılmaz goes for a run, I never see him make the extra pass that could have led to an easy goal. Whether it’s on the wings or in the box, Burak only looks to run and shoot (Most of the time it leads to a turnover). His poor decision-making has cost his team opportune chances to not only score some goals, but also win some tight games. Yılmaz plays as if he expects his teammates to cater to him and not the other way around. He can get away with it in a weak league like the Turkish League (or get lucky in the UEFA Champions League), but it’s not excusable in the Premier League.


Yılmaz has little to nothing to contribute on the defensive end. He’s just stiff and immobile whenever the center backs or fullbacks advance the ball up the field. Though he has a presence on the offensive end, he turns into a ghost the moment the defense gets a hold of the ball. Yılmaz doesn’t seem to make the effort to pressure the defense to make careless passes despite the fact that he’s 6’ 2” with decent stamina and athleticism. A player like that has no business sticking in an elite league.

Dives like these

I really don't need to continue after you watch this.


Of course, it’s not too late to write him off as unserviceable. Yılmaz is a great hitman for teams that love to deliver the ball from the wings and has a nose for finding good position to set up for a goal. But at age 28, his service could only last for three to four years before his skills start deteriorating. Chances are he will finish his career in Galatasaray. With the Turkish Super Lig implementing the foreign player limit, the Aslan are adamant to hold onto the best domestic striker. Yet these are only my opinions. You can check out his highlight video and tell me whether you think he is fit to play in the next level. Just to let you know, a highlight video only contains his goals and not his countless boneheaded misses. 
Loading ...