Nuri Sahin on the road to recovery at Real Madrid

Despite not being short of midfield options, there is one player that Real Madrid Coach Jose Mourinho will be delighted to have back available for selection. Back in May, and after weeks of speculation, Real spent €10m to capture the highly rated Nuri Sahin from German champions Borussia Dortmund.

The German-born Turkish international put pen to paper on a six year contract at the Bernabeu and stated his excitement at the prospect of playing under the guidance of Mourinho at “the biggest club on earth.” Things did not go exactly to plan for the left-footed midfielder on arrival. Sahin has been left frustrated after suffering a knee injury in training during Madrid’s preparations for their pre-season tour of the USA.

Initially he was diagnosed with a grade one internal lateral ligament sprain and was expected to be sidelined for two to three weeks. It then became clear that the injury was worse than first feared as Sahin endured a number of recovery setbacks and is now not due to return until sometime in November.

Whilst many in the footballing world saw his signing as something of a bargain for a young player with such ability, some sections of the Real Madrid faithful were a little sceptical about adding another midfielder to the plethora of options already at their disposal. With the unfortunate timing of the injury delaying his first appearance for the club, some are still uncertain as to how Mourinho intends to use him effectively and where he would fit into the team.

His style of play has been compared to Xabi Alonso but many also believed he was brought in as a direct replacement for Kaka, who at the time was being continuously linked with a move back to his former club AC Milan. However, that move failed to materialise and the Brazilian has featured in all five of Madrid’s La Liga games so far this season, meaning competition for places is going to be fierce.

It seems though, frustrations aside, that Sahin remains positive about his recovery and the potential impact he could have at the Bernabeu: “Despite being injured I feel really good, and I feel I am in the right place and can be useful here at Madrid,” Sahin told SKY. “Things are progressing and the recovery is going well,” he added.

However, the-23-year-old is still unsure as to when he will be back to full fitness and ready to make his long awaited debut: “I cannot say when I will be back, but it is important that I come back stronger and fitter.” <

On August 6, 2005, after a string of impressive performances for Turkey in the European Under-17 Championships, Sahin set a record becoming the youngest player to have played in the Bundesliga at just 16 years and 334 days old. He then became the youngest goalscorer in Bundesliga history after netting in the game against FC Nurnberg just weeks later. He went on to make 135 appearances for the club, chipping in with 13 goals including several spectacular free-kicks. The midfielder also became the youngest player to appear and score for the Turkish national team, ironically scoring the second goal in a 2-0 victory over Germany, the country of his birth.

Mourinho’s Real Madrid assistant Aitor Karanka went on record to say the club hope for ‘big things’ from Sahin, but also urged supporters to show patience as he will need time to settle in and show what he can do: “Sahin has shown his quality in Germany and we await big things from him. We will be patient as he’s only 23. The signing is very positive for us and he is a player that has had a sensational season at Dortmund. We will wait to see how he adapts to Madrid, but we’re happy because we have high hopes for him.”

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