Cyle Larin, the 25-year-old from Brampton, Ontario, is taking the Turkish Super Lig by storm in 2021.
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Cyle Larin Leads Besiktas
Seventeen games into the 2020-21 Turkish Super Lig season, Canadian player Cyle Larin shines in Besiktas. As we approach the end of January, Larin is turning into a global soccer star. Larin leads the league with 14 points and sits second in goals with 11. He climbed the leaderboards after an unbelievable performance against Caykur Rizespor, where he netted four goals in a 6-0 win.
Larin’s performance this season has helped Besiktas move into a tie atop the Super Lig table – with 38 points in 19 games. If Larin can keep playing as he has, Besiktas could win the league (their first Super Lig title since 2017) and automatically qualify for the 2021-22 UEFA Champions League.
First Overall Pick in the MLS Draft
In 2015, Cyle Larin went first overall in Major League Soccer Super Draft – becoming the first Canadian selected first overall. Larin joined Andrew Wiggins (the first pick in the 2014 NBA draft) and Connor McDavid (the first pick overall in the 2015 NHL draft) as the three Canadians in a calendar year going first overall in their sport’s draft. Larin spent his college career at the University of Connecticut – scoring 23 goals in 39 appearances for the Huskies.
Larin was a productive player in his time with Orlando City SC, scoring 44 goals in 89 appearances – including 17 as a rookie, which is the Major League Soccer rookie record. However, things went south between Larin and Orlando City SC in 2018. Larin refused to show up to practice while still under contract with the club. Orlando eventually sold his to Besiktas for an undisclosed transfer fee (later reported at $2.05 million USD).
Rocky Start for Larin with Besiktas
While things seem peachy and productive for Larin this season with Besiktas, his beginning with the club was not always productive and, at times, tumultuous.
Larin joined Besiktas later in the club’s 2017-18 season. While he did not get many chances in his first year, he made the most of them – scoring four goals in four appearances – and setting his expectations high for the next season.
The following year was a disaster for Larin. Larin did not produce on the pitch – scoring only one goal in 12 Turkey League appearances. He eventually fell out of favour with Besiktas, and the following year the club loaned Larin to Belgian club Zulte Waregem FC.
His season in Belgium was a modest success, finishing the year with seven goals and four assists in 29 appearances. He returned to Besiktas this season and is now a fan-favourite in Istanbul.
Could His Success Land Him in a Better League?
If Cyle Larin can keep producing at a high clip for the rest of the Super Lig season, some clubs from the richer leagues may come knocking. Both Arsenal and Chelsea of the Premier League are having poor seasons, 19 games into their 2020-21 season and could look to spend on a talented young forward.
Larin is under contract, though, with the club until 2022 – at a value of $6.05 million (in USD). If he helps them win the league this year, they may want to retain his services for as long as possible.
Larin Helping Canadian Players Gain Respect
For the last few years, most of the focus of Canadian soccer fans has been on Alphonso Davies. While the 20-year-old superstar already has Bundesliga titles and a Champions League win in 2020 – he is not the only player worth focusing on.
Larin and Davies are teammates on team Canada and have been since 2017. The two – along with a few other good, young Canadian players – have Canada in a position to make their first World Cup since 1986.
We hope to see those two back in action together at some point in 2021, once the 2022 World Cup qualifying games are happening again.
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