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Nihat Kahveci
AUT vs. TUR 2016-03-29 (186).jpg
Nihat Kahveci (2016)
Personal information
Full name Nihat Kahveci
Date of birth (1979-11-23) 23 November 1979 (age 44)
Place of birth Istanbul, Turkey
Height 1.75 m
Playing position Forward
Youth career
1994–1996 Esenler
1996–1997 Beşiktaş
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1997–2002 Beşiktaş 114 (27)
2002–2006 Real Sociedad 133 (58)
2006–2009 Villarreal 62 (18)
2009–2011 Beşiktaş 34 (3)
Total 343 (106)
National team
2000–2010 Turkey 69 (19)
Teams managed
2012–2013 Villarreal (youth)
2013–2017 Turkey (assistant)
Representing Turkey
Bronze FIFA World Cup 2002
Bronze FIFA Confederations Cup 2003
Bronze UEFA Euro 2008
  • Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
† Appearances (Goals).

Nihat Kahveci (born 23 November 1979), better known mononymously as Nihat, is a Turkish former professional footballer who played as a forward. He works as a football commentator for TRT. He has a UEFA Pro Licence.


Like most Turkish players, his shirt carries his first name, Nihat, rather than his family name, Kahveci. He married Pınar Kaşgören on 5 July 2003. Their daughter Selin was born in May 2008.

Club career


Nihat is a product of Beşiktaş's youth system and was discovered by Hürser Mustafa Cindir when Nihat played in Beşiktaş in the 1996–97 season. He joined the first team at Beşiktaş in the 1997–98 season when he was just 17, at the time John Toshack was the coach. Since then, Nihat became a key player.

Real Sociedad

In January 2002, Nihat was transferred to Real Sociedad for €5 million by then Beşiktaş coach Toshack. Nihat also joined his Turkish team-mate Tayfun Korkut in Spain.

He had his debut on January, 26 in a 3–1 loss against Celta de Vigo, coming on as a substitute in the 72nd minute for Xabi Alonso and played for 18 minutes.

His first goal came in a 2–2 draw against Rayo Vallecano on 24 February 2002. In the first half of the season, Nihat played 11 matches and scored one goal.

In 2002–03, his second season in Spain, Nihat scored a brace in the Basque derby, the opening match of the season, helping his team to win 4–2. He finished the season with 23 goals making him the league's joint-second highest scorer for the season behind Roy Makaay (29 goals) and tied with Ronaldo. That season, Real Sociedad finished second in the league that season, just two points behind Real Madrid., mostly thanks to a very fruitful strike partnership with Serbian forward Darko Kovačević, such that sports journalist Phil Ball nicknamed the pair "Little and Large", in reference to the height difference between the two (Nihat's height is 1.75 m and Kovačević's is 1.87 m). His consistent, good performances have led to interests from other clubs, to which Nihat turned a deaf ear.

In his third season at Real Sociedad, Nihat made 32 appearances scoring a total of 14 goals. Nihat also played in the UEFA Champions League with Real Sociedad as the club was paired with Juventus, Galatasaray and Olympiacos. La Real qualified to the knockout stage, but was eliminated by Olympique Lyonnais, losing 2–0 on aggregate. By the end of the season, Nihat won the Don Balón Award for Best Foreign Player.

In his fourth season, Nihat made 23 appearances and scored 13 goals. In the middle of the season, Nihat tore his ACL during a match against Sevilla which caused him to be out of action for six months.

In June 2005, reports claimed that Nihat was linked to Russian club CSKA Moscow for €20 million Euros but the move never materialized. Nihat insisted he had to concentrate on the club to prevent relegation: "I can't go now. I can't walk out on Real Sociedad, We are fighting to try and secure some tranquillity and I am one of those who thinks that the more strength there is in the team, the better. On Sunday we took a very important step in Santander, and now it is a question of continuing to take steps forward in the league.". Nihat was also linked with clubs like Chelsea and Manchester United.

In his fifth and last season at Real Sociedad, Nihat made his return from injury in a 3–0 loss in the Basque derby, against Athletic Bilbao. He went on to make 32 appearances and score seven goals. During that season, Nihat was about to sign for Russian club Spartak Moscow but had to stay for the remainder of the season due to Kovačević's injury.


On 16 May 2006, Nihat agreed to join Villarreal CF, on a five-year contract, on a Bosman transfer after rejecting a new contract at Real Sociedad. He tore his ACL again on 22 November 2006 during a training ground collision with team-mate Javi Venta and was out for months. He seemed to catch up form in his second season with 18 goals in the league and four goals in the UEFA Cup, helping his club to finish the season as second in La Liga where he formed a formidable offensive pair with Robert Pires. The Spanish newspaper El Mundo named Nihat as the best player on the team. However, in the 2008–09 season, due to injuries again, Nihat made 19 appearances equalling 764 minutes of playing time but failed to score a single goal.

Return to Beşiktaş

Nihat kahveci pence
Nihat playing for Beşiktaş

On 27 June 2009, Nihat returned to the club where he started his career by signing for Beşiktaş J.K. on a four-year deal. Return to Turkish football wasn't very fruitful for Nihat. Over two seasons he managed 34 appearances in the league, netting only three goals. On 25 April 2011, in a match against Konyaspor which turned out to be his last game, Nihat and the new Beşiktaş favourite Ricardo Quaresma had quarrel on the pitch. Nihat was upset at Quaresma for failing to pass the ball and the altercation was broken up by teammates. On 18 May 2011, Beşiktaş terminated Nihat's contract despite two years left on his contract and he told Turkish media: "I don't want to play in Turkey anymore.".


Following his release by Beşiktaş, Nihat was linked with returning to Spanish clubs like his former club Real Sociedad and Castellón and as well as MLS side Los Angeles Galaxy.

After a six months without a club, on 12 January 2012; Nihat announced his retirement from football with immediate effect, saying: "I would like to share my decision to put an end to my professional career as a footballer,". After some days, Nihat told NTV Spor that his retirement was prompted by his age limiting his ability on the pitch and admitted that returning to Besiktas was a mistake and ill-judged, although stated there were some beautiful moments.

"When you get old, you can't do anything you want on the pitch, I must admit my return to Turkey was not a success and it hurt me as a man who was used to success. I was angry at myself, and there was some heavy criticism too. After I left Besiktas, I thought maybe I could play somewhere else, but I saw that I wanted to call it a day. Every good story has a beginning and an end. I have had some very beautiful moments. I had great joy when I was healthy and playing well."

—Nihat told NTV Spor about his retirement

International career

2002 World Cup

Nihat made his international debut against Sweden in October 2000. In Group C at the 2002 FIFA World Cup, Nihat made his only appearance as a 79th-minute substitute for Yıldıray Baştürk against Costa Rica. His only other appearance was as a substitute in the 1–0 victory over Japan where he replaced, the goalscorer, Ümit Davala. Turkey went on to finish in third place with a 3–2 victory over Guus Hiddink's South Korea.

Euro 2008

In the final match of Euro 2008 Group A, Nihat scored twice in a pivotal match against the Czech Republic. Both teams were level on points, both having beaten Switzerland and lost to Portugal, with exactly the same number of goals scored and conceded, a win would guarantee a quarter-finals spot whilst a draw would mean penalty-shootouts would be required in the group stage. The Czechs took a 2–0 lead through a Jan Koller header and a Jaroslav Plašil goal and the score remained 2–0 until the 75th minute, when Arda Turan scored making it 2–1. Nihat's first goal came in the 87th minute; Hamit Altıntop's cross was dropped by Petr Čech allowing Nihat tap the ball into the net. He scored his second goal one minute later; a brilliant, curling strike from outside the box, helping Turkey win the match 3–2.

Nihat was ruled out of Turkey's semi-final with Germany due to a thigh injury, which ultimately required surgery and prevented him from playing for Villarreal in the early part of the 2008–09 season.

Coaching career

On 6 July 2012, it was reported that Nihat has joined the coaching staff at his former club Villarreal as an assistant-manager of the youth team.

"Villarreal CF has opened the doors and I have always felt at home, I played three seasons here and in recent times I have followed the team as an amateur. I have much affection and, therefore, I am very glad to be in this club. I want to start my new career coaching from below, like I did as a player, The president Fernando Roig has made history at this club and certainly have the ability to return to the elite as soon as possible. We must also rely on the new coach, Julio Velasquez, if the club has chosen it is because they will have the conviction that the team will return to First Division."

—Nihat on his new job.

Career statistics

Club career

Appearances and goals by club, season and competition
Club Season League Cup Europe Total
Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Beşiktaş 1997–98 11 2 0 0 0 0 11 2
1998–99 28 7 0 0 0 0 28 7
1999–2000 32 7 0 0 0 0 32 7
2000–01 32 5 2 0 0 0 34 5
2001–02 15 6 4 2 2 2 17 7
Total 114 27 6 1 2 2 122 30
Real Sociedad 2001–02 11 1 4 1 0 0 15 2
2002–03 35 23 0 0 0 0 35 23
2003–04 32 14 0 0 8 0 40 14
2004–05 23 13 0 0 0 0 23 13
2005–06 32 7 0 0 0 0 32 7
Total 133 58 4 1 8 0 145 59
Villarreal 2006–07 9 0 0 0 0 0 9 0
2007–08 34 18 3 2 6 4 43 24
2008–09 19 0 0 0 4 0 23 0
Total 62 18 3 2 6 4 71 24
Beşiktaş 2009–10 23 3 3 2 - - 26 5
2010–11 11 0 2 0 6 4 19 4
Total 34 3 5 2 6 4 45 9
Career total 343 106 13 4 14 6 370 116

International goals

Scores and results list Turkey goal tally first, score column indicates score after each Nihat goal.
List of international goals scored by Nihat Kahveci
No. Date Venue Opponent Score Result Competition
1 6 October 2001 Stadionul Republican, Chişinău, Moldova  Moldova 2–0 3–0 2002 FIFA World Cup qualification
2 21 August 2002 Hüseyin Avni Aker Stadium, Trabzon, Turkey  Georgia 3–0 3–0 Friendly
3 12 October 2002 Gradski Stadium, Skopje, Republic of Macedonia  FYR Macedonia 2–1 2–1 UEFA Euro 2004 qualifying
4 7 June 2003 Tehelné pole, Bratislava, Slovakia  Slovakia 1–0 1–0 UEFA Euro 2004 qualifying
5 11 June 2003 BJK İnönü Stadium, Istanbul, Turkey Republic of Macedonia Macedonia 1–1 3–2 UEFA Euro 2004 qualifying
6 20 August 2003 Ankara 19 Mayıs Stadium, Ankara, Turkey  Moldova 1–0 2–0 Friendly
7 24 May 2004 Telstra Dome, Melbourne, Australia  Australia 1–0 1–0 Friendly
8 9 October 2004 Şükrü Saracoğlu Stadium, Istanbul, Turkey  Kazakhstan 2–0 4–0 2006 FIFA World Cup qualification
9 13 October 2004 Parken Stadium, Copenhagen, Denmark  Denmark 1–1 1–1 2006 FIFA World Cup qualification
10 26 May 2006 Ruhrstadion, Bochum, Germany  Ghana 1–0 1–1 Friendly
11 2 June 2006 Trendwork Arena, Sittard, Netherlands  Angola 2–1 3–2 Friendly
12 6 September 2006 Commerzbank-Arena, Frankfurt, Germany  Malta 1–0 2–0 UEFA Euro 2008 qualifying
13 17 November 2007 Ullevaal Stadion, Oslo, Norway  Norway 2–1 2–1 UEFA Euro 2008 qualifying
14 21 November 2007 Ali Sami Yen Stadium, Istanbul, Turkey  Bosnia and Herzegovina 1–0 1–0 UEFA Euro 2008 qualifying
15 25 May 2008 Ruhrstadion, Bochum, Germany  Uruguay 2–1 2–3 Friendly
16 15 June 2008 Stade de Genève, Geneva, Switzerland  Czech Republic 2–2 3–2 Euro 2008
17 3–2
18 22 May 2010 Red Bull Arena, New Jersey, United States  Czech Republic 2–0 2–1 Friendly
19 3 September 2010 Astana Arena, Astana, Kazakhstan Kazakhstan Kazakhstan 3–0 3–0 UEFA Euro 2012 qualifying



  • Turkish Cup: 1997–98, 2010–11
  • Turkish Super Cup: 1998



  • Milliyet Sports Awards Footballer Of The Year: 2002
  • La Liga Best Foreign Player: 2002–03
  • Beşiktaş J.K. Squads of Century (Silver Team)

See also

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