Soccer

Liverpool’s former £1m man Yesil now works in factory and plays in fifth tier

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Liverpool fans can be forgiven for not remembering who Samed Yesil is or even that he was once signed by the club for £1million as a teenager.

However, after rupturing his cruciate ligament twice in two years, Yesil's career stalled and after leaving the club in 2016 he has played for five clubs in five years.

After spells in Greece, the Turkish second division and the third and fourth tier in his homeland, he now combines playing in the German fifth tier with building air filters in a factory.

The 27-year-old still harbours hope that he can make a return to the professional game if he can find a consistent run of form.

Nine years after joining Liverpool, Yesil now plays for DJK Teutonia St. Tonis in the Oberliga Niederrhein, the regional fifth tier of German football.

Living back in his home town of Krefeld, near Dusseldorf, Yesil also works for the company of the club's owner and builds air filters in a factory during the week.

Speaking to The Athletic, Yesil said of his job at the factory that "I need to try ways into life post-football, in case I don't get back into a professional league."

However he hopes that he can earn a move higher up the pyramid if he hits the ground running this term as he stated "I'm sure if I can play 30 games this season and score 15 to 20 goals then I will move back up the leagues again."

His current club are a far cry from his youth career, when his prolific goal output drew comparisons to the late Gerd Muller and earned him the nickname 'Gerd'.

Yesil has admitted that, at the time, he did not know who Muller was as "he played before I was born" but that he felt no pressure from the comparisons and instead took them as a compliment.

Yesil scored 27 goals in 29 matches for the German under-17 and under-19 sides and finished as the top scorer at the under-17 Euros in 2011 as a strong German side reached the final.

"Emre Can, a good friend of mine, was in my age group. So too was Kaan Ayhan, who now plays for Sassuolo and the Turkey national team, and Odysseas Vlachodimos, who now plays for Benfica and Greece,"

A year later, he moved to Anfield for £1million after making just one senior appearance for Bayer Leverkusen having scored 58 goals in 74 games at youth level.

Playing under Brendan Rodgers, Yesil was soon promoted to first team training after joining the Reds and made two appearances in the League Cup during his first season.

"It was like a dream. I only knew these players from the PlayStation and from watching games on TV," Yesil says of his first session alongside the likes of Steven Gerrard and Luis Suarez.

However, he would rupture his cruciate ligament in both 2013 and 2014, causing him to be ruled out for over 450 days and he never played for Liverpool again.

The second cruciate ligament injury also prevented the opportunity to re-ignite his career in Turkey after interest from Besiktas and Galatasaray during the latter half of 2013.

Instead, Yesil moved on loan to Swiss side Luzern in 2015 and scored on his debut for the club before a falling out between the manager and president resulted in him falling down the pecking order.

At the end of that season he returned to Merseyside and was released by Liverpool following the expiry of his contract at Anfield.

After six months without a club, he arrived in Greece and signed for Panionios, where he scored eight goals in 31 appearances during his first season.

Off-field issues disrupted Yesil once again, though, as financial issues saw him go months without being paid with the player now close to receiving a settlement from the club three years after leaving.

He made four appearances for hometown side KFC Uerdingen in 2018/19 in the German third division before spending nine months in Turkey with Ankara Demirspor.

Last season, Yesil ran out 22 times in the fourth tier of German football for VfB Homberg and scored twice, before arriving at DJK St. Tonis this summer.

Yesil has already made two appearances for his new club this season and provided two assists on his debut against Niederwenigern last month as he looks to kickstart his career again.

  • Premier League
  • Liverpool FC

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