‘Inter fans happy’ Chalhanolu: “Saudi offer is true… but I love Inter”

Hakan Chalhanolu has expressed his love for Inter Milan.

Inter Milan defeated Atletico Madrid 1-0 in the first leg of the 2023-24 UEFA Champions League round of 16 (UCL) at the Stadio Giuseppe Meazza in Milan, Italy, at 5:00 a.m. ET on Wednesday.

The match was dominated by Inter Milan. They kept pounding Atletico’s goal, but couldn’t find the back of the net. In the 34th minute, Atletico’s defense overlapped and Inter attacked on the counterattack, leaving Lautaro Martinez one-on-one with the keeper. His shot was saved by Jan Oblak. The loose ball was picked up by Marko Arnautovic, who took a left-footed shot from just inside the penalty box and rattled the net against the defense. The game ended in a 1-0 victory for Inter Milan.

On the day, Chalhanolu started and played the full match. He distributed the ball from the midfield and played a key role in Inter’s offense. “Chahanolu energized the game with his trademark passing and impeccable technique, taking control of the game,” wrote Italian publication Cult of Calcio.

According to soccer stats outlet Sofa Score, Chalhanolu had 112 touches of the ball, an 84% pass completion rate (79 of 94), three key passes, two crosses (four attempts), six long balls (nine attempts), one shot off target, and one blocked shot in the full match.

After the game, Chalhanolu said: “It’s true that I had an offer from Saudi Arabia. But I love Inter Milan. I told the board that I want to stay with the team. Inter will always be something different for me.”

Chahanolu was approached last summer by Saudi Arabia’s Al-Hilal, who swept up players in their prime in Europe. Karim Benzema, N’Golo Kante, Riyad Mahrez, and others headed to Saudi Arabia, and Chahanolu was one of the targets. Al-Hilal reportedly offered Chahanolu a four-year contract with an annual salary of €18 million. However, he chose to stay.

The Turkish international broke into the Bundesliga when he joined Hamburg. His performances in Hamburg led to a move to Leverkusen, where he began to gain attention. From there, he moved to AC Milan and then Inter Milan. With Inter, Chalhanolu won two Coppa Italia titles and finished runner-up in the UCL final last season, losing to Manchester City.


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