One of the most highly-regarded talents to emerge from Turkey in recent years, Cengiz Under became the most expensive homegrown player ever to be sold by a Turkish club when he joined Roma from Istanbul Basaksehir in July 2017.
Cengiz (pronounced ‘Genghis’, like Khan) landed in Rome that month on the date of his 20th birthday, a further indication that the Giallorossi were investing in potential and betting on his long-term development. Left-footed but having already played on the right, left and centre during his fledgling career to date, the forward-thinking attacking midfielder has already demonstrated a sharp eye for goal and an ability to perform under intense pressure.
He began his professional career at Altinordu, an Izmir-based club that has recently played among the lower divisions in Turkey but has begun to enjoy some success more recently after adopting an aggressive policy of promoting homegrown talent. Cengiz was just one of those beneficiaries, graduating into the first team when he was barely 17 and going on to score 11 goals in 50 appearances for the club across two seasons.
That strike-rate attracted the attention of Basaksehir, on the fringes among the giant clubs of Istanbul but one pursuing its own ambitious plan to move to the top of Turkey’s Super Lig. Cengiz arrived in 2016 and instantly became a key component for the side that season, playing across the frontline as he contributed seven goals in his first season at the club.
His driving runs, finishing in front of goal and service to his fellow forwards was a key part of a stunning Basaksehir season, as they pushed local rivals Besiktas close in the title race – eventually beating out the likes of Fenerbahce and Galatasaray to qualify for the preliminary rounds of the Champions League.
His form also earned him a full call-up for the national side, having been capped at every age level from Under-18 upwards. Two goals in his first four caps hinted at an easy transition to the increased quality of the international arena – now he makes that step up once again, as he joins the Giallorossi and prepares to go up against some of the world’s finest defenders.
At home he got a rapturous send-off, hailed as an exceptional young man destined to achieve great things. Genghis went on to conquer the world – can Cengiz do the same?Show More Show Less