Bayindir: Van der Sar was my idol

Friday 01 September 2023 12:30

Manchester United's new goalkeeper Altay Bayindir has revealed that Reds legend Edwin van der Sar was a great inspiration for him when he was growing up.

The Turkey international's move from Fenerbahce was confirmed this morning with the 25-year-old becoming the first player from his nation to pull on the United jersey.

As part of his signing, Altay spoke to club media and discussed the influence of van der Sar, the atmosphere at Old Trafford, and even joked about how his mother predicted his future.

Read and watch the full interview with our latest recruit below...

Altay Bayindir | The signing interview Video

Altay Bayindir | The signing interview

SIGNING INTERVIEW | Altay Bayindir on joining United, idolising Edwin van der Sar and being supported by his family...

Altay, welcome to Manchester United. How does it feel to be a Manchester United player?
“Everything is going amazing, perfect. I know I came to a big club in the world, Manchester United. I watched a lot of games at Manchester United and I watched [Edwin] van der Sar. He is my legend and I am very happy to be here. And I will do my best to help this great family.”

And you are the first Turkish player to represent this club. What does that mean to you and to your family?
“We are talking every day with my family in Turkey, they live in Bursa, very near Istanbul. And my family are all happy. They are asking about everything every day. I know my responsibility. It's very important for me. And now I will play in [the] Premier League. It's different from [the] Turkish league, but I am ready for everything.”

You are an international player. You've won silverware, the Turkish Cup, for example, last season. How excited are you to compete for trophies here at United?
“I want to win every game, always, and it's very important because I don't like [losing] and we are playing for Manchester United. We need to win all the games. But I will give my everything for Manchester United.”

In Turkey, you play in front of amazing crowds, brilliant fans. We have a great atmosphere at Old Trafford too. How much are you looking forward to playing at the Theatre of Dreams?
“I watched our last game with Nottingham Forest in our stadium. [It has an] amazing atmosphere and our fans are very good, I think. I can't wait to meet the fans, but if you are winning everyone [is] happy because if they are seeing you fighting on the pitch, everyone [is] happy and here [we] have big fans. [It is an] amazing club in the world and [there are] a lot of fans here. We will be happy with our fans, I hope.”

Have you always been a goalkeeper from a very young age? Was that always your dream, to be a goalkeeper?
“Yeah. One day I was talking with my mother. But I was very young at this time, of course. And my mum said, ‘my son, you can play as a goalkeeper, that position is good for you because you are tall.’ I was talking with my mother and then one day at my old club, my first club when I was younger, my coach said ‘Altay, can you go in goal because you are very tall, you can do this’. But I liked it first time and then after I talked with my father, I was a goalkeeper. I'm happy in my position, [and] my mum knows everything! Every mum knows everything.”

Good choice, it's worked out for you very well. And you mentioned Edwin van der Sar as an idol, a legend. Was he the main goalkeeper you followed? Are there any other idols or legends that were an inspiration to you?
“Yeah, of course. And when I was starting first time, I watched a lot of games of van der Sar. [He’s a] quality man, a quality person and a quality goalkeeper for Manchester United. I like him. And then after that, I just look at myself. Of course, I watch a lot of games, but when I will be better, my focus is only for this.”

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Here at Manchester United, you will be competing with Andre Onana and we have many good young goalkeepers as well. And experienced ones like Tom Heaton. How excited are you to work with Onana, Heaton, the young goalkeepers, and the coaching staff here?
“Yeah, of course. I spoke with Tom Heaton [on] my first day. He is a quality person. He said ‘if you need something, you can tell me about everything’. He is a very good person and I am thinking the same about every goalkeeper and we are a team. We are together now. We will fight together and with Onana, with Tom Heaton, and with young goalkeepers, we are family. We are on the pitch together. We will fight for Manchester United.”

Finally, what is your message for the Manchester United fans everywhere, who will be keen to know how excited you are to be here?
“I am happy to be here and I want to meet fans and we will be good because I will fight from my heart and my brain, working just for Manchester United. And we are a big family. We are Red. We are one family.”