Istanbul (AFP) – Turkey’s young midfielder Ozan Tufan was Tuesday targeted by mockery at home and abroad after pictures showed him smoothly adjusting his hair at the very moment Croatia’s Luka Modric scored a stunning match-winning volley in Euro 2016.
Tufan, 21, was scapegoated by many fans for Turkey’s disappointing 1-0 defeat by Croatia over the weekend, which left the team with a mountain to climb to make it out of the group stages at the tournament in France.
The Fenerbahce player was seen jogging languidly out of the penalty area and running his hands through his locks when Modric clattered the stunning volley over Tufan’s head.
The player was oblivious to what happened until he looked round to see the ball in the Turkish net.
Furious Turkish fans on Twitter posted pictures showing Tufan as a model in a shampoo commercial or as a crooner on a 1970s record cover with the fashionable curly locks of the time.
“While Modric lets rip Tufan is in the middle of a hair commercial,” fumed one Twitter user.
The incident has played into the fears of many Turkish fans that their stars, who enjoyed a meteoric rise to fame and fortune, lack the sheer hunger and toughness for the big stage.
Turkish fans also shared a viral cartoon of Tufan by caricaturist Omar Momani showing the player admiring himself in the mirror with a hair-dryer stuffed down his shorts as Modric strikes the winning goal.
However with much of the vitriol on Twitter coming from fans of his club’s arch rivals Galatasaray, the chairman of Fenerbahce rallied behind the player.
“After the match, I saw that many newspapers were putting all the blame on the back of Ozan,” Aziz Yildirim was quoted as saying by the Hurriyet daily.
“The boy is just 21 years old and represents the future of Turkish football. I cannot accept that we put all the blame on a 21-year-old.
“Croatia played much better than us. If we need to apportion blame then look at the training, all the players, the federation,” he said.
Turkey face defending champions Spain in their next match on June 17 and another loss would almost certainly mean the team does not make the knockout stages.
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