ISTANBUL - Worrying heart palpitations are what led to Arda Turan leaving the pitch during Galatasaray’s league game against Istanbul Municipality and being taken to hospital. Turan was released yesterday to the relief of fans after doctors declared there were no serious concerns.

Galatasaray comfortably beat Istanbul Municipality 2-0 in the Turkcell Super League’s Sunday night game but endured a real fright when attacker Arda Turan was hospitalized with suspected cardiac problems.

Playing on its home ground, the Ali Sami Yen Stadium, where it has not lost a game this season, Galatasaray won the game with goals to Harry Kewell and Lincoln. But after the game, instead of relshing the win, the Istanbul side was preoccupied about their brightest youngster’s health.

During the later period of the game, the 21-year-old left the pitch and lay on the ground seeking immediate attention.

"Two minutes before leaving the pitch, he came to us and said that he did not feel well," recalled assistant coach Burak Dilmen. "Then he stood and rested a little, but just when we called Mehmet Topal to replace him, Arda said, ’I’m fine,’ and played on."

Minutes later, Arda made a sprinting run before taking himself of the ground suffering strong heart palpitations. He was then taken to Acıbadem Bakırköy Hospital with suspected arrhythmia. After a night at the hospital, Arda was discharged yesterday, while the Chief of Medicine Engin Çakmakçı declared that the footballer did not have a serious chronic cardiac problem.

"It was determined that Arda had a palpitation without a vital risk and it returned to normal without a medical intervention," said Çakmakçı. "Such palpitations can be triggered by intensive stress, sleeplessness and fatigue, not necessarily by heart problems."

Much speculation was made Sunday night, while some reporters suggested Arda’s problem was caused by alcohol. However, the wonder boy hit back at critics after being discharged.

"I don’t care what they write but people believe what they read and when they see me on the streets, I see that they misjudge me," said Turan. "I have never drank alcohol in my life but they write that I drink every kind of alcohol."

He added that his health problem was stress- and fatigue-induced.

Stress inevitable
"It is impossible to stay stress-free whilst playing football in Turkey," he added. "I am a sentimental person and live those emotions to the fullest, when we win or lose, or hit by critics, which can be mistaken for insults. And I have had trouble sleeping recently. I don’t know why but those things can happen to anyone." But he added that he was feeling good.

"I am very well, it was a difficult night but now everything is alright," he explained. "I will miss national team’s training camp [for tomorrow’s friendly game against Austria], but will start light training at Galatasaray tomorrow. I am fine, just a little tired mentally."

Arda’s coach at Galatasaray, Michael Skibbe, agreed that Arda was knocked down by a vicious string of games.

"He is paying the price of a heavy tempo," said the German. "He is too tired and had to play in every game the team played."

However, this is not the case, according to his boss at the Turkish national football team, Fatih Terim.

"I don’t think it is about the match schedule, they are playing not that much," he said. "Fatigues are not only triggered from playing too much, look, he has not been sleeping well recently. There are footballers playing 70-80 games a year."

Meanwhile, Fenerbahçe’s Selçuk Şahin was added to the Turkish squad for tomorrow’s friendly fixture after Arda was excluded.