Mata´s a Super Champion

Galatasaray SK has won the Super League title after a great season. Juan adds another trophy to his countless list of winners and becomes the second Spaniard to win a League with the Istanbul side.

Galatasaray Spor Kulübü is the 2022/23 Super League champion. The victory against Ankaragücü (1-4) on matchday 36 makes Juan Mata’s team the king of Ottoman football. No team can reach 82 points. Okan Buruk’s squad returns the league crown to the club, which had not won the title since 2019 (İstanbul, Beşiktaş and Trabzonspor were the winners in recent editions). It is the 23rd Super League for Galatasaray, the historical leader of Turkish football (Fenerbahçe has 19 titles).

After this great success, Juan Mata is the fifth Spanish player to be champion of the Super League. With Galatasaray, only Albert Riera had previously achieved it (in 2012 and 2013). The other precedents were Dani Güiza (Fenerbahçe, 2011), Fabricio Agosto (Besiktas, 2017) and Francisco J. Montero (Besiktas, 2021).

World and European champion with the national football team, Mata’s list of winners at club level is equally spectacular. He has lifted the Champions League, the Europa League (twice), the Copa del Rey, the FA Cup (also twice)… It was a League title if something was missing from his impressive list of trophies. A ‘problem’ that is already solved.

Similar to the Asturian player case were those of Wesley Sneijder and Didier Drogba: football stars who were champions with Galatasaray after winning the Champions League at another club. Drogba was Mata’s teammate at Chelsea when the Blues won the Munich final against Bayern.

The effect of great signings

After the summer transfer window closed last September, it became clear that Galatasaray aimed to regain the title of Turkish football champion. In addition to Juan Mata, the arrivals of Mauro Icardi, Dries Mertens, Sérgio Oliveira, Lucas Torreira, Milot Rashica and Léo Dubois made a squad full of quality and different options for each position. Men like Fernando Muslera, Kerem Aktürkoğlu or Bafétimbi Gomis continued from the previous year. If any piece was missing, Nicolò Zaniolo came from AS Roma in February.

An impressive (and never before seen) run of fourteen consecutive victories in the Super League has been decisive for the proclamation of Galatasaray as champions. In a season marked by the terrible earthquake in February, a significant part of Istanbul (and Turkey) has found cause for celebration.

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