ANKARA

A great number of basketball fans in Turkey bid farewell to a Serbian legend, Zeljko Obradovic on social media after he parted ways with Istanbul powerhouse Fenerbahce Beko.

Obradovic’s leave went viral on social media, the hashtag #Obradovic became a trending topic on Twitter.

“We regret to say that our coach [Obradovic] told the club today that he won’t coach a team for a year,” Fenerbahce Beko said in a statement on its website late Tuesday, expressing respect for his decision.

Fenerbahce called Obradovic a “club legend” for his achievements, with the most remarkable one, the 2017 Turkish Airlines EuroLeague title.

Obradovic joined Fenerbahce in 2013 but the 60-year-old coach had already been a prominent basketball figure for his achievements in the past years.

The Serbian legend won five EuroLeague titles with the Greek club Panathinaikos. He also claimed the Greek league crown for 11 seasons.

Obradovic made his way to Istanbul for a new challenge seven years ago when Fenerbahce signed him to build a powerful team to dominate the European basketball.

He won the Turkish Super Lig championship in 2014, beating archrivals Galatasaray in 4-3 in the final series.

In the first season under Obradovic, Fenerbahce reached the round of 16 in EuroLeague.

He led Fenerbahce to qualify for the EuroLeague Final Four for the first time in 2015 but they were eliminated by Real Madrid in the semifinal.

Despite the loss to Real Madrid, the Turkish club started to take firm steps for a European title.

In the 2015-16 season, Fenerbahce won the Turkish league title and also became the EuroLeague finalist. However Russian giants CSKA Moscow beat them 101-96 in 2016 final in Berlin.

The Yellow Canaries claimed the league championship once again in the 2016-17 season after sweeping Besiktas 4-0 in the final series.

Fenerbahce fans surely enjoyed 2017 with a memorable victory in the European campaign, winning their only EuroLeague title in history.

On May 21, 2017, Fenerbahce toppled Olympiacos 80-64 in the final at Istanbul’s Sinan Erdem Dome, marking the biggest achievement in the Turkish basketball.

Fenerbahce fans had been waiting for it for a long time.

Over the next seasons, Fenerbahce managed to advance to the EuroLeague Final Four phase again, finishing the seasons as the runners-up and in the fourth place in 2018 and 2019, respectively.

In the last season of Obradovic, Fenerbahce failed to meet expectations in both EuroLeague and the ING Basketball Super Lig.

Before the cancelation of the EuroLeague season in May over the coronavirus pandemic, Fenerbahce was seated at the 8th place with only 13 wins and 15 defeats in 28 games.

In the Turkish league, Fenerbahce won 17 out of 22 games to stand at the fourth spot before the league was called off due to the virus.

But Obradovic won the 2020 Turkish Cup with Fenerbahce Beko.

– One of the most decorated coaches in Europe

Fenerbahce won 11 titles under the management of Obradovic.

Obradovic had 382 wins in 507 games with the Istanbul club, marking a 75.3% winning rate.

With the coaching skills of Obradovic and precise team management, Fenerbahce Beko has become one of the most intimidating teams in Turkey and Europe.

Obradovic made 18 EuroLeague Final Four appearances and won nine EuroLeague titles during his coaching career — more than any other coaches in Europe — and he led Fenerbahce to five consecutive Final Four stages in 2015-2019.

Besides, he guided Panathinaikos eight times, Real Madrid twice, Partizan, Benetton, and Joventut Badalona once each to the EuroLeague Final Four.

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