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26 February 2024

Turks bid farewell to legendary footballer


Thousands of football fans bid farewell to legendary Turkish footballer Lefter Kucukandonyadis, on Sunday, filling the stadium of first division club Fenerbahce.

Fans of Kucukandonyadis, the captain of the Turkish national football team, and a top player for Fenerbahce, chanted slogans as his coffin, covered with Turkish and Fenerbahce flags, was brought into the middle of Sukru Saracoglu stadium, television footage showed.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan also attended the ceremony along with other state officials.

Known as football's "professor," Kucukandonyadis, a member of Turkey's tiny Greek community, died on Friday of pneumonia at the age of 86 in a hospital in Istanbul.

He was born in 1925 in Istanbul and began his career at Fenerbahce in 1947, for whom he scored 423 goals in 615 games. He scored more than 20 goals for the national team.

Kucukandonyadis also played for Italian outfit Fiorentina and France's Nice during the 1950s.