How ex-Turkey legend ends up being Uber driver in US

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Hakan Sukur attends the Golden Foot Award press conference at Grimaldi Forum on October 10, 2014 in Monte-Carlo, Monaco
Photo: Valerio Pennicino/GETTY IMAGES

Hakan Şükür has narrated how he can no longer live in Turkey, the country where he is rightly a footballing legend, and instead is stuck in the US, driving for Uber.

The 48-year-old is widely regarded as Turkey's greatest ever footballer with 52 goals from 112 caps with the national team.

His most famous goal came when he scored 11 seconds into the third-place match of the 2002 World Cup against South Korea, the host country.

The former Inter Milan, Blackburn Rovers and Galatasaray striker retired from football in 2008 after a third stint with the Istanbul-based side, where he is a club legend.

After some time as a television pundit, Şükür parlayed his fame into a political career and was elected to Turkey's Parliament.

But his life took a dramatic turn after a bitter falling out with President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, a former friend and political ally.

Şükür had his houses, businesses and bank accounts all been seized by the Turkish government following the 2016 deadly coup that tried, and failed, to topple the authoritarian regime of Erdoğan.

Şükür, his wife and their three children were already out of the country by the time of the coup attempt, but his political ties, fame and wealth made him a target of Erdoğan's widespread distrust and accusations.

Speaking to German outlet WELT AM SONNTAG, Şükür explained that Erdoğan ran him out of the country over an alleged coup he was apparently part of.

I have nothing left, Erdogan took everything: my right to liberty, freedom of expression and right to work.

Nobody seems able to explain what my role in this coup was supposed to be. I never did anything illegal, I am not a traitor or a terrorist.

I might be an enemy [of] this government, but not the state or the Turkish nation. I love my country. After the split with Erdogan, I started to receive threats. My wife's shop was attacked, my children were harassed, my father put in prison and all my assets confiscated.

So I moved to the United States, initially running a cafe in California, but strange people kept coming into the bar. Now I drive for Uber and I sell books.

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