Ex-Real Madrid star 'dove for cover' as Turkish FA 'hit by gunfire in drunk attack'

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Turkish football officials, including former Real Madrid and Bayern Munich midfielder Hamit Altintop, were forced to dive for cover in terror on Thursday after the Turkish Football Federation (TFF) headquarters was peppered with bullets in a terrifying attack. Two suspects have already been arrested and Turkish politician Suleyman Soylu described the assailants as ‘drunk’. 

When much of the football world was gripped by the events of transfer deadline day, an altogether scarier ordeal took hold at the TFF headquarters in Istanbul. The accused parties opened fire on September 1 with a key meeting underway inside. 

A total of 11 shots were allegedly fired and five of them struck the building, according to Soylu, who claims that the investigation into the incident is ongoing. DHA news agency claims that some bullets were aimed towards the office of the TFF president and others at a meeting room, although there were no injuries, as per Hurriyet Daily News.

Altintop, who retired in 2018 and now plays a leading role in the TFF, said: “We threw ourselves to the ground as soon as we heard the shots.”

Altintop spent 10 years as a Turkish international, earning 84 caps and turning out for the likes of Bayern and Los Blancos during a distinguished playing career. He hung up his boots four years ago after a spell with German side Darmstadt, having also featured for the likes of Galatasaray and Schalke. 

A spokesperson for the ruling Turkish party, Omer Celik, confirmed that the incident occurred on Thursday and stated that he had spoken with TFF chief Mehmet Buyukeksi over the phone, wishing him well after the frightening ordeal. 

The attack may serve as an eye-opener for players who have just arrived in Turkey after an eventful summer transfer window. Dele Alli was one of them, leaving Everton to join Besiktas on an initial loan deal that could become permanent either in January or next summer. 

The former England international, who has struggled for form in recent years, received a hero’s welcome upon arrival in Turkey and performed well on his debut for the club. Still just 26 years old, Alli could make a dramatic impact on the Turkish Super Lig if he finds anything like the form that saw him bust onto the scene with Tottenham as a youngster. 

Michy Batshuayi is another high-profile star to switch England for Turkey, joining Fenerbahce from Chelsea after the transfer deadline following a collapsed deal with Nottingham Forest. 

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