Full name: Hakan Calhanoglu
Date of birth: 08 February 1994
Place of birth: Mannheim, Germany
Height: 1.78 m (5 ft 10 in)
Position: Left Winger / Attacking midfielder
National team: Turkey
Agent: Bektas Demirtas
Joined: 03 July 2017
Contract until: 30.06.2021
Hakan Calhanoglu is a German-born Turkish professional footballer who plays as a winger for Milan and a midfielder for the Turkey national team. He is known for his ability to score from free kicks.
He began his career at Karlsruher SC in 2010 and moved to top-flight side Hamburger SV two years later, spending another season back at his first club on loan. His performance in his first Bundesliga season earned him a €14.5 million transfer to Bayer 04 Leverkusen in 2014. He played for three seasons at the BayArena, totalling 28 goals in 115 official appearances. In 2017, he signed for Milan for an initial €20 million fee.
Born in Germany, Hakan Calhanoglu opted to represent Turkey at international level, from under-16 level onwards. He made his senior debut in 2013 and was part of their squad at UEFA Euro 2016.
His younger brother Muhammed Çalhanoğlu is also a professional footballer. The younger Çalhanoğlu was also formed at Waldhof Mannheim and Karlsruher SC, and went on to play in the lower divisions of Austrian and Turkish football.
In January 2017, Çalhanoğlu posted a video to Twitter supporting Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan ahead of the 2017 Turkish constitutional referendum. Bayer Leverkusen spokesman Dirk Mesch confirmed the club discussed the tweet with Hakan Calhanoglu.
AC Milan career
On 3 July 2017, Hakan Calhanoglu signed a four-year contract with Serie A club Milan. The fee was reported as an initial €20 million, rising to €24 million. He was assigned the club’s prestigious number 10 jersey, previously owned by the likes of Gianni Rivera, Ruud Gullit, Dejan Savićević, Zvonimir Boban, Rui Costa and Clarence Seedorf.
He made his Rossoneri competitive debut a month later in the second leg of the Europa League third qualifying round, replacing Suso for the final 25 minutes of a 2–0 win (3–0 aggregate) over Universitatea Craiova at the San Siro. He scored his first goal for Milan in a 5–1 away win against Austria Wien in the group stage on 14 September, also providing two assists. Domestically, Çalhanoğlu made his league debut on 20 August, playing the full 90 minutes of a 3–0 win at Crotone. He was sent off in a 2–0 home loss to Roma on 1 October, earning a second yellow card for a foul on Radja Nainggolan. Çalhanoğlu scored his first league goal on 25 October in a 4–1 win at Chievo, becoming the first Turk to net in Serie A since Emre Belözoğlu in 2003.
Born in Mannheim, Baden-Württemberg, Hakan Calhanoglu began his career with Karlsruher SC in the 2. Bundesliga, although they were relegated to the 3. Liga at the end of his first season. He signed a four-year deal to join Hamburger SV in the 2012 summer transfer window, being loaned back for his first season. In that season on loan, he helped the team win the league and return to the second tier.
Çalhanoğlu made his Hamburg and Bundesliga debut on 11 August 2013, as the team opened the season with a 3–3 away draw at Schalke 04. He started the match, and was replaced by Dennis Aogo after 74 minutes. He scored his first goals for the club on the 31 August, in a 4–0 home win over Eintracht Braunschweig; after replacing goalscorer Rafael van der Vaart in the 79th minute, he scored a minute later and then netted again with a free kick.
On 5 February 2014, Çalhanoğlu signed a two-year extension to his Hamburg contract, to keep him at the club until 2018. On 20 February, he scored a 41-yard free kick, against Borussia Dortmund in a 3–0 win, which ended Hamburg’s bad run. As he saw no defensive wall or teammates to pass, he struck a shot that swerved viciously to find the back of the net. A delighted Çalhanoğlu said afterwards: ‘I hit the free-kick the same way I do in training all the time. I’m delighted that I pulled it off!’. He was sent off for the first time in his career on 22 March, for his second booking in the 53rd minute of a 1–0 defeat away to VfB Stuttgart.
In his only full season at Hamburg, the team finished in 16th, and won a play-off against Greuther Fürth on away goals to maintain their honour as the only team to feature in every season of the top flight.
Hamburg were initially unwilling to sell Hakan Calhanoglu to other German teams, but their purchase of Pierre-Michel Lasogga from Hertha BSC made such an exception no longer financially viable. On 4 July 2014, he left Hamburg for league rivals Bayer Leverkusen, signing a five-year contract for a transfer fee of €14.5 million. His actions leading up to the transfer caused some controversy, including taking sick leave from Hamburg; he justified the leave by saying that he was stressed by aggression from fans, including vandalism of his car. He also criticised Hamburg’s director Oliver Kreuzer, accusing him of betrayal. The move was later criticised by Son Heung-min, as a response to Çalhanoğlu calling his former Leverkusen teammate’s transfer to Tottenham Hotspur “badly advised”.
He made his debut for the club on 19 June, starting in a 3–2 away win at Copenhagen in the first leg of a UEFA Champions League qualification play-off. Four days later, he played his first league game for his new club, a 2–0 win away to Borussia Dortmund on the opening day of the new season. On 27 August he scored his first Leverkusen goal, netting his team’s second in a 4–0 win in the second leg of their European play-off. He scored his first league goal for the club on 12 September, Leverkusen’s second in a 3–3 home draw against Werder Bremen. It was the first game in any competition that season which they did not win. Çalhanoğlu was nominated for the 2014 Golden Boy Award in October.
On 25 February 2015, he scored the only goal as Leverkusen defeated Atlético Madrid in the last 16 first leg in the Champions League. However, three weeks later in the second leg, he took their first attempt in a penalty shoot-out and had it saved by Jan Oblak, as Atlético went on to win. On 2 May, Çalhanoğlu opened a 2–0 home win over newly crowned league champions Bayern Munich, with a free kick.
He opened his second season at the club by scoring a penalty on 8 August in a 3–0 win at fourth-tier Sportfreunde Lotte in the first round of the DFB-Pokal. Two weeks later, with a free kick, he scored the only goal of a league win at Hannover 96. On 26 August, he opened a 3–0 win over Lazio as Bayer came back from a first-leg deficit to qualify for the group stage of the Champions League. In their first game of the group stage, Çalhanoğlu scored twice — including a penalty earned by a handball of his free kick — in a 4–1 home rout of BATE Borisov.
He opened his 2016–17 goalscoring account on 14 September in the 2–2 home draw against CSKA Moscow in a Champions League group stage game — the 50th goal in his senior club career.
On 2 February 2017, Hakan Calhanoglu received a four-month ban from FIFA for a breach of contract relating to his time at Karlsruhe. He received €100,000 from Turkish club Trabzonspor in 2011 after agreeing to sign with the club but later extended his contract with Karslruhe. Trabzonspor had initially sought repayment of the €100,000 paid as well compensation of €1 million but FIFA ruled that €100,000 and a four-month ban would suffice.
Born in Germany, Hakan Calhanoglu opted to play for Turkey, qualifying for them through his family’s origins in Trabzon. He played for the country at youth international level, including the 2013 FIFA U-20 World Cup on home soil. Turkey reached the last 16 before elimination by France. In their second group game on 28 June, Çalhanoğlu scored Turkey’s equaliser in a 2–1 win over Australia at the Hüseyin Avni Aker Stadium in his ancestral city.
Çalhanoğlu playing for Turkey in 2016
He made his senior international debut on 6 September 2013 in a World Cup qualifier in Kayseri, replacing Gökhan Töre for the last eight minutes of a 5–0 win against Andorra in Fatih Terim’s first match back in charge. He made his first start on 25 May 2014 in a 2–1 friendly win against the Republic of Ireland at Dublin’s Aviva Stadium, making way for Olcan Adın after 61 minutes.
Çalhanoğlu was sharing a hotel room with national team defender Ömer Toprak in October 2013 after a World Cup qualifying defeat to the Netherlands, when Gökhan Töre and an unknown armed friend entered the room, and threatened both roommates at gunpoint, ostensibly due to Töre’s ex-girlfriend dating a friend of Toprak. The incident was hidden from Turkish media, but Hakan Calhanoglu revealed it to Germany’s ZDF television channel. Töre did not return to the national team until October 2014, when both Çalhanoğlu and Toprak were injured. The following month, with both players back to fitness and form, both were left out by Terim for a friendly against Brazil and a UEFA Euro 2016 qualifying match against Kazakhstan while Töre remained. Çalhanoğlu questioned his omission from the team, while Terim defended his own decision and said that Töre deserved to be forgiven. In June 2015, Çalhanoğlu and Töre reconciled.
On 31 March 2015, Hakan Calhanoglu scored his first international goal in a 2–1 friendly win away to Luxembourg, a 30-yard strike with three minutes remaining. He scored two more in a 4–0 home friendly win over Bulgaria on 8 June, the latter being a free kick. His first competitive goal came on 10 October, a cross which secured a 2–0 away win over the Czech Republic in UEFA Euro 2016 qualifying.
Hakan Calhanoglubecame the first Turk to score against England, in the 11th match between the two nations, a friendly at the City of Manchester Stadium on 22 May 2016. He equalised in the 2–1 defeat. On 22 March 2019, Hakan Calhanoglu scored the second goal of Turkey’s 2-0 victory over Albania in their opening UEFA Euro 2020 qualifier.
Hakan Calhanoglu has been likened to Mesut Özil, another German-born midfielder of Turkish ancestry. He expressed a desire to be the equivalent of Özil in the Turkish national team.
A set-piece specialist, he is known for scoring from free kicks, and models his set-piece technique on those of Cristiano Ronaldo and especially Juninho Pernambucano. In December 2013, Talksport called him “a playmaker destined for the top”, praising his dedication and passing ability. Former England international Owen Hargreaves said on BT Sport in August 2015 that Çalhanoğlu’s style of play would fit Liverpool or Tottenham Hotspur.
Despite mostly positive reception in his late teens and early twenties, in recent years, however, he has drawn some criticism as well; his pace was deemed insufficient for a winger, a position to which he was forced to adopt due to the absence of his natural classic “number 10” attacking midfield role in the preferred formations of his teams, particularly A.C. Milan. He has also been criticized in the media for his lack of physical attributes and the overall inconsistency of his performances. However, his dribbling, technique, passing (both short and long), crossing, and vision, as well as his eye for goal, have been referred to as his strengths.