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Chinese Super League

Chinese Super League takes on softer side as Burak Yilmaz allowed to return to Turkey to fight for custody of daughters

Striker leaves Beijing Guoan to rejoin Trabzonspor for initial fee of €4 million after finding the net eight times in just 11 games this season for capital side

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 03 August, 2017, 1:40pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 03 August, 2017, 1:40pm

For all its world record transfer fees and mega salaries, the Chinese Super League took on a much more human side this week as Beijing Guoan potentially sacrificed their own aspirations to allow Turkish striker Burak Yilmaz to return to Trabzonspor to resolve a custody battle involving his two daughters.

Yilmaz joined Beijing from Galatasaray at the start of the 2016 season and, after scoring 11 goals in 17 appearances, was on course to better that tally this year after finding the net eight times in just 11 games.

But despite the Super League transfer window closing last month, meaning fifth-placed Beijing are unable to sign a replacement, 32-year-old two-time Turkish league-leading scorer Yilmaz returned to Trabzonspor on Wednesday for an initial €4 million (HK$37 million), which could rise to €5.5 million.

“Due to insolvable family problems, Yilmaz expressed his wish to return to the Turkish league and we also received an offer from Trabzonspor,” said Beijing.

“We weren’t inclined to let a core player like him go and tried to persuade him to stay, but football is part of life, yet life isn’t all about football.

“We understand his difficulty and respect his decision and, after seeking the head coach’s opinion and getting his permission, we granted Yilmaz’s request.

“We didn’t set any obstacle during the process of his transfer and we’ve now reached an agreement with Trabzonspor.”

Beijing Guoan Jose Gonzalez the latest Chinese Super League coaching casualty

Yilmaz’s departure leaves new German coach Roger Schmidt, who replaced Jose Gonzalez last month, with only Uzbekistan’s Egor Krimets, Brazilian duo Ralf and Renato Augusto as well as Spain’s Jonathan Soriano as his foreign contingent for the rest of the season.

“Since the summer transfer window is closed now, it means after Yilmaz’s departure we will finish the rest of the games this season with four foreigners,” added Beijing.

Watch: Number 17 Burak Yilmaz is sent off against Jiangsu Suning

“That will affect us to some extent, but with the return of Yu Dabao and the other players, plus the head coach’s unique disposal of the young players, we believe we will maintain the competitiveness and fight for more wins.”

Beijing have flourished under Schmidt and beat Henan Jianye 2-0 last week thanks to two goals from Soriano to record a fourth consecutive win, with the Spanish striker scoring eight goals in his last five games to take his season tally to 10 in 11 appearances.

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“It’s a pity that although I was your coach, I couldn’t give you opportunities to play for Beijing,” said coach Schmidt of Yilmaz, with the striker handed his ban before the German took over.

“I already knew about your family problems and I respect the club’s decision and I respect your decision. I wish you all the best in Trabzonspor.”

Schmidt’s in-form side are 10 points adrift of leaders Guangzhou Evergrande, but are just four points behind third-placed Tianjin Quanjian and three behind fourth-placed Shandong Luneng, who they play at home on Saturday.