NewsErdogan called the soccer players. Laughter erupted in the locker room

Erdogan called the soccer players. Laughter erupted in the locker room

On the left, Turkey's squad celebrating victory over Croatia. On the right, Recep Erdoğan.
On the left, Turkey's squad celebrating victory over Croatia. On the right, Recep Erdoğan.
Images source: © PAP | EPA, NECATI SAVAS
7:19 AM EDT, October 14, 2023

Sport and politics often go hand in hand. The truth of this statement is proved by the Thursday call of the president of Turkey to the representatives of that country celebrating a significant victory in the European Championship qualifiers. Recep Tayyip Erdogan congratulated the entire team and the squad's coach, making a linguistic mistake in the process. The locker room responded with loud laughter.

On Thursday, a key match was held in Group D for the qualifying rounds of next year's European Championships. The Croatians, bronze medalists from the last World Cup, faced the Turks. The match was very evenly matched, and the winning goal was scored by Baris Yilmaz in the 30th minute.

The victory over a strong opponent significantly brought Turkey closer to the much-anticipated promotion. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan decided to take advantage of the uplifted atmosphere and made a phone call to the team that is celebrating their success.

On behalf of his colleagues, Hakan Calhanoglu was the one speaking with the president. At a certain point, through the use of a translator, a brief dialogue also took place between Erdogan and the Turkish coach, Italian Vincenzo Montella.

During the short conversation, the selector said:

It is a great honor for me to represent Turkey in soccer. We are all proud of such a victory - said Montella.

These words clearly appealed to Erdogan, who wanted to appreciate Montella, thanking him in his native language. A moment later, a loud "Gracias" came from the phone, which made the whole locker room burst into laughter.

The reason for the Turks' joy is simple - Erdogan chose the wrong language. Vincenzo Montella is Italian, so if the President of Turkey wanted to thank the coach in his native language, he should have used the word "Grazie". Meanwhile, "Gracias" is also a thank you, but in Spanish.

Thanks to Thursday's victory, the Turkish team has taken the lead in Group D, scoring 13 points in 6 games. Second place is held by Croatia, which has gathered 10 points, but has played one game less. In Group D, teams from Wales, Armenia, and Latvia are also competing. The top two teams will secure direct advancement to next year's European Championships.

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