Turkey midfielder Hakan Calhanoglu on Wednesday went public with his desire to quit Hamburg to play Champions League football at Bayer Leverkusen – just 105 days after signing a four-year extension.
“I definitely want to leave Hamburg, my outlook for the coming season I can see, crystal clear, being at Bayer Leverkusen,” the 20-year-old German-born star told Sport Bild having spent two seasons at Hamburg.
“I simply want to go as far as Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi, I also want to be a superstar, whom everyone is talking about.
“I arrived here with great hopes, but I have lost them.”
Calhanoglu scored 11 goals from the midfield last season and was a bright prospect in a poor Hamburg side who only avoided relegation by winning a relegation play-off against second-division Greuther Furth.
His agent has said Leverkusen are interested in signing him, but Hamburg’s director of sport Oliver Kreuzer has said their star will not leave without a fight.
“He will definitely remain a Hamburg player,” insisted Kreuzer on Monday.
The Turkish midfielder’s bold declaration comes after signing a contract extension to keep him with Hamburg until 2018 – with no release clause – and says he has personally told Kreuzer and Hamburg chairman Carl Jarchow that he wants to leave.
“I have told them that I want to go, regardless of whether we are in the first or second division,” said Calhanoglu.
He took to social media network Facebook to explain himself to Hamburg fans.
“Hamburg remain in the first division and with 11 goals, I contributed to their rescue,” he wrote.
“Now Champions League clubs want me and that is a great honour.
“Of course, it is tempting for me to want to play international football and you all now that I could lose that chance with a serious injury.
“My goal is to play at Euro 2016 with Turkey and I want to collect international experience as quickly as possible, please have some understanding for my big ambitions.”
“Traitor”, “mercenary”, “hypocrite” were some of the kinder comments posted by fans, but dozens acknowledged that without Calhanoglu’s goals, Hamburg would almost certainly be in the second division.
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