UEFA.com: You have been linked with a transfer to Turkey for years; why is now the right time, and Beşiktaş the right club?
Gökhan Inler: I used to hear the links every day of every month! It felt destined now, though. I’ve come to a great club who I’ve been following for years. I used to watch the big games and derbies when I was younger, and now my childhood dream has come true, so I’m really happy.
When I was young I used to go to Beşiktaş’s training camps, which were very close to the house I grew up in [in Switzerland], 20 minutes away. Beşiktaş have always been in my heart.
Everything happened very quickly before the transfer deadline. That initial period wasn’t easy for me, arriving and then playing four games in two weeks. But my team-mates and coach really helped and I’ve managed to fit in very well.
UEFA.com: Will the back-to-back Group B games against Napoli have special significance for you, especially returning to the Stadio San Paolo on matchday three?
Gökhan Inler: It’s going to be a great feeling as I spent four years there and improved a lot. Before I went to Napoli I’d been to the San Paolo and scored against them [for Udinese in a 2-1 away win in 2011]. Now coming back is an even greater feeling, and I’m really looking forward to the two matches against them. It’s going to be nice to see my friends again and play against them.
UEFA.com: In the UEFA Champions League you have scored some big goals in big games; which ones stand out for you?
Gökhan Inler: I’ve scored two important goals. The first was against Villarreal – Napoli went through [to the 2011/12 UEFA Champions League knockout stage] after that goal and it brought huge joy to the club and the fans.
Then there is the goal I scored against Chelsea [in the round of 16 the same season]. We’d won 3-1 at home, and after going 2-0 down we were going through when my goal made it 2-1 in London. Unfortunately, we conceded again and it went to extra time. Eventually we lost 4-1 and were knocked out.
Those two goals while playing for Napoli will always have a place in my heart.