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Last Updated: Thursday, 23 October, 2003, 16:41 GMT 17:41 UK
Alpay leaves Villa

Aston Villa have cancelled the contract of Turkish defender Alpay by mutual consent.

The 30-year-old came under intense media pressure after his country's Euro 2004 qualifier with England in Istanbul where he had a bust-up with David Beckham.

Alpay was given 10 days off by Villa but after a meeting with the club's executive directors he has left the club with immediate effect.

"In light of recent events, it would have been difficult for Alpay to represent Aston Villa again in the future," said Villa chairman Doug Ellis.

Life in England has become increasingly difficult for Alpay
Aston Villa chairman Doug Ellis

"The player himself was aware that life in England had become increasingly difficult for him and his family.

"Therefore, both parties agreed that the best course of action was for immediate termination of his contract which was due to expire in June 2004," Ellis told the club's official website.

Alpay's problems began when he goaded Beckham in the penalty area after the Real Madrid player missed a penalty in Istanbul.

The duo's confrontation continued at the half-time break with an alleged bust-up in the tunnel which is said to have involved several players from both sides.

After the game Alpay admitted that the Turks had tried to get Beckham to react so he would be sent off, but he then caused more outrage by accusing the England captain of head-butting him and spitting on his national shirt.

Alpay's agent, Mujdat Gurel, was keen to stress that his client was not sacked despite being approached by the club first with regards to ending his contract.

"He is quite happy with the outcome and was pleased that Aston Villa were preaperd to pay the rest of the contract," said Gurel.

"It was Aston Villa who came to us first although it was left up to Alpay to accept the offer. The contract was terminaed by mutual consent."

Alpay joined Aston Villa in the summer of 2000 from Turkish side Fenerbahce for 5.6m.

In his first two seasons he was a regular in the Villa side before impressing for his country at the 2002 World Cup finals.

He was picked in the World Cup XI but on his return to the Midlands club he fell out of favour with then manager Graham Taylor and made just five first-team appearances last term.

German Bundesliga side Hertha Berlin and Turkish giants Galatasaray are expected to lead the chase for Alpay's signature.

BBC Sport's Nigel Adderley
"Alpay cost over 5m but became an infrequent performer"

Alpay's agent Mujdat Gurel
"Alpay was very happy to accept Aston Villa's offer"

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