As one of the latest versions of Merih Demiral biography, this article takes a look at the life and career of the newly joined Al-Ahli center-back.
Merih Demiral’s career has been punctuated by a series of events, from significant accomplishments with Juventus to moments of controversy. His involvement in a contentious “military salute” goal celebration triggered debates surrounding the intersection of sports and politics.
Beyond the football pitch, Demiral’s personal life presents an intriguing dimension, including his marriage to Albanian wife, Heidi Lushtaku, and the recent arrival of their son, adding depth to his personal narrative alongside his professional career.
In essence, through this Merih Demiral biography, our goal is to offer a captivating glimpse into the journey that has recently led the Turkish defender to play in the Saudi Pro League.
Everything to know about Merih Demiral
Prior to joining Al-Ahli, Demiral faced a challenging path. However, this section of Merih Demiral biography aims to provide his essential background information. The details serve as a valuable introduction, offering insights into the player and setting the stage for the in-depth exploration that follows in subsequent parts. Notably, Merih Demiral real name is solely Merih Demiral, without any middle name.
Merih Demiral Information
- Full Name: Merih Demiral
- Nickname: The Bull from Karamürsel
- Profession: Football Player
- Height: 192 cm (6 ft 2 in)
- Eye Color: Dark Brown
- Hair Color: Black
- Weight: 78 kg
Date of Birth and Personal Info
- Date of Birth: 5 March 1998
- Birthplace: Karamürsel, Turkey
- Nationality: Turkish
- Position: Central Defender
- Professional Debut: 5 February 2017
- Jersey Number: 3, 28
Merih Demiral Early Life
Merih Demiral life story began on March 23, 1998, in Karamursel, a town located on the Izmit Peninsula along the shores of the Marmara Sea in Turkey. Throughout his formative years, Merih Demiral’s family, including his parents Burhan and the late Fatma Demiral, provided unconditional support, playing a crucial role in his life. However, tragedy struck when Merih was 13, as his mother, Fatma, lost her life in a tragic traffic accident, leaving an enduring impact on his life.
Despite the mentioned tragedy, Merih Demiral’s childhood was largely centered around football. He took his first steps in the sport at the youth levels of Karamürsel Idmanyurduspor, the local club in his hometown, immersing himself in the game’s fundamentals. Eventually, he made a move to Fenerbahçe, where his journey in professional football truly began to take shape. For numerous years, he honed his skills within Fenerbahçe’s youth system.
Merih Demiral Club Career
This segment of Merih Demiral biography delves deep into the professional life of the Turkish defender at the club level.
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Emerging from the Fenerbahçe youth system, Merih Demiral commenced a journey that led him to several European clubs. In 2016, he made a significant move to Portugal, joining Alcanenense. Shortly after, in January 2017, he was loaned out to Sporting B, where he marked his professional debut in the Segunda Liga. His stint with Sporting B culminated with a permanent signing at the end of the season, reflecting the promise he displayed during his time in Portugal.
In 2018, Demiral returned to Turkish football, this time donning the jersey of Alanyaspor on loan. His impressive performances there earned him a permanent move to the club in January 2019. However, fate had more in store for him as he embarked on yet another adventure, this time to Italy. Joining Sassuolo on loan with an obligation to buy, Demiral made his Serie A debut in February, quickly making an impact by scoring his first Serie A goals in a remarkable brace during a match against Chievo in April. His standout performances in Serie A with Sassuolo drew the interest of larger clubs.
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Merih Demiral’s arrival at Juventus on 5 July 2019 was not just a personal milestone but also an iconic moment in Turkish football history. As the first Turkish player to wear the iconic black and white jersey of Juventus, the weight of expectations was significant. Nevertheless, Demiral embraced the challenge. His transfer from Sassuolo to Juventus involved a five-year contract worth €18 million, signifying the club’s confidence in his abilities.
The young defender wasted no time in making his presence felt on the pitch. On 21 September, Demiral marked his debut in Serie A with a high quality performance that helped Juventus secure a 2-1 victory over Verona at home. His quick adaptation to the rigorous demands of Italian football garnered praise from fans, teammates, and the media.
Cruciate Ligament Injury
Demiral’s decent performances extended beyond domestic matches. He made his much-anticipated Champions League debut on 11 December and displayed his defensive abilities during the club’s final group match against Bayer Leverkusen. His performance played a key role in keeping a clean sheet and securing a 2-0 away win. Despite facing challenges, such as an anterior cruciate ligament injury, Demiral’s talent shone through. His return to action on 1 August, as a substitute against Roma, marked a significant moment in his career. During that match, Juventus had already clinched the Serie A title.
During his time at Juventus, Merih Demiral stats demonstrated his determination on the field. He was on the verge of solidifying his position as a regular starter in the squad when an unfortunate injury disrupted his progress. Despite this setback, his performances at the club drew comparisons to two Juventus legends, Paolo Montero and Giorgio Chiellini. These parallels highlighted the potential and promise that Demiral brought to the club before his unlucky injury.
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This chapter of Merih Demiral biography focuses on his Atalanta career. In August 2021, Atalanta welcomed Merih Demiral into their ranks on a loan deal from Juventus, featuring an enticing option to make the transfer permanent. His swift integration into the team was evident as he made his debut on August 21 of the same year. This inaugural appearance in the Bergamo colors took place during a Serie A match against Torino, resulting in a hard-fought 2-1 victory for Atalanta.
On October 20, he achieved a personal achievement by scoring his first goal for Atalanta in a UEFA Champions League match against Manchester United. Although Atalanta faced a 3-2 defeat, Demiral’s goal marked a significant moment in his career, being his debut goal in the Champions League. Demonstrating his versatility, he also found the net in Serie A. On December 4 of the same year, Demiral scored his first league goal for Atalanta during a match against Napoli. His contributions both in domestic and international competitions earned him recognition.
Following a season that highlighted his qualities on the pitch, Atalanta exercised their option to secure Demiral’s services permanently in June 2022. The move was finalized for a substantial fee of €20 million, a testament to the impact he had made during his loan spell. This demonstrated the club’s confidence in his abilities.
In a move that marked a notable transfer trend, Merih Demiral made headlines on August 19, 2023, when he officially joined the Saudi Pro League club Al-Ahli. The Turkish defender signed a three-year contract with the club. Demiral’s transfer to the Saudi Pro League exemplifies the growing appeal of this football destination, where several international players have recently made similar moves. This shift in notable player transfers to Saudi Arabian Clubs highlights the increasing competitiveness and global recognition of the league, offering players new opportunities and fans exciting matchups to look forward to in the future.
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In this chapter of Merih Demiral biography, we delve into his international journey. Merih Demiral’s involvement with the national team began at the youth level, progressing from the junior levels to the Under-21s. His debut for the Under-21s occurred on November 10, 2016, during a friendly match against Germany, marking the initiation of his international career.
The key moment arrived when Demiral made his debut for the senior national team on November 20, 2018, in a friendly encounter against Ukraine. In this match, he came on as a substitute in the 85th minute, signaling the beginning of his contributions to the senior squad. As time progressed, Demiral’s role in the Turkish national team evolved, and he became a permanent defensive member during the qualifiers for the UEFA Euro 2020. His consistent performances earned him a place in the squad for the final phase of the tournament, originally scheduled for 2020 but postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
However, Demiral’s international path also witnessed moments of misfortune. During the opening match of the rescheduled Euro 2020 in Rome against Italy, he inadvertently scored an own goal that altered the course of the game, resulting in a 0-3 defeat for Turkey. Despite this setback, Demiral kept his decent level on the international stage. On November 13, 2021, he redeemed himself by scoring his first international goal in a resounding 6-0 victory against Gibraltar, highlighting his versatility as a defender who could contribute offensively when needed.
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Merih Demiral’s Playing Style
In this part of Merih Demiral biography, we take a closer look at his playing style. Merih Demiral’s playing style is marked by a combination of physicality, tactical acumen, and technical skills. He is recognized as an aggressive and instinctive defender who excels in reading the game, executing precise tackles, and displaying unconditional determination. Standing tall and physically robust, Demiral is a dominant force in aerial duels, effectively defending against crosses and ensuring the security of his team’s penalty area.
Despite his imposing stature, he maintains notable agility and mobility, enabling him to recover the ball and limit opponents’ movements swiftly. Demiral’s versatility extends to his capacity to operate as a right-sided full-back, showcasing his adaptability on the field. He draws inspiration from renowned defenders such as Nemanja Vidić and Giorgio Chiellini.
Merih Demiral’s football career has been a path of working with different styles of coaches so far. Accordingly, this section of Merih Demiral biography explores his reception on the football stage. His aggressive style and unyielding determination on the pitch have earned him widespread praise. Under the guidance of coaches like Maurizio Sarri, his tenacity and defensive abilities were celebrated. However, his path has also been marked by disciplinary clashes, notably during his time with Gian Piero Gasperini at Atalanta. These experiences have shaped Demiral into a versatile and resilient player. Despite the occasional challenges, he has earned recognition on the football stage.
On 11 October 2019, Merih Demiral also found himself at the center of controversy. Following Cenk Tosun’s goal in a 1–0 home win over Albania during a Euro 2020 qualifier, Demiral was one of the Turkish players who participated in a controversial “military salute” goal celebration. However, his involvement didn’t stop there. On the very same day, he took to Twitter to openly express his support for the Turkish offensive into north-eastern Syria. While his social media post earned praise from Turkish supporters of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, it also triggered criticism from numerous football fans, particularly those affiliated with Juventus, as well as supporters of other clubs. Some called for the club to take disciplinary actions against the player, while others went to the extent of demanding Demiral’s dismissal.
This segment of Merih Demiral biography delves into his individual and collective honors as a football player. Merih Demiral has accumulated several honors throughout his career, especially during his time with Juventus. He secured the Serie A title with Juventus in the 2019-20 season, along with the Coppa Italia during the 2020-21 campaign. Additionally, he claimed victory in the Supercoppa Italiana in 2020 and was a runner-up in 2019. On the international stage, Demiral helped Turkey U20 achieve a third-place finish at the Toulon Tournament in 2018. These accomplishments underscore his significant contributions to both club, Juventus, and national team success.
Merih Demiral Outside Professional Life
Finally, this section of Merih Demiral biography offers a brief glimpse his personal life. Merih Demiral finds solace and family warmth in his visits to Kocaeli, Turkey, where his roots lie. His strong connection to his homeland is complemented by his personal life’s joyous milestones. On a memorable day, 20 April 2022, Demiral and his Albanian wife, Heidi Lushtaku, welcomed the arrival of their son. While they cherished this moment privately, the couple later shared their happiness on social media, marking a significant and heartwarming chapter in Demiral’s personal journey.