As player announcements go, Süper Lig football club Gaziantep FK opted for a more traditional Turkish welcome for their latest signing, winger Kevin Mirallas.
The Belgium international was pictured in the club’s red and black strip on Monday holding a tray of baklava – a birthday present from his new club.
Gaziantep is world-famous for its baklava – a rich, sweet dessert made of layers of filo pastry filled with chopped pistachios. GFK gifted their new signing with the city’s signature dish that included the message “Happy Birthday Mirallas’.
The former Everton player, who has 60 caps for Belgium, celebrated turning 33 by signing for the Turkish club and starting a new chapter in his career.
A former top scorer in the Greek Super League, Mirallas also made a good impact in the English Premier League, where he scored 38 goals in 186 matches for Everton after joining in a £6 million deal from Olympiakos in 2012.
Mirallas returned to Olympiakos on loan in 2018 after being frozen out by then Everton boss Marco Silva. He went on to have a temporary spell with Fiorentina, before signing for Royal Antwerp, but managed to score just two league goals for the club last season.
He left as a free agent earlier this summer and will be hoping to do better for his new club GFK, who reached 8thin 2019/2020 – their first-ever season in the Süper Lig.
GFK, who were only established in 1988, are currently languishing in 17thposition having failed to win a game in their first four matches of the new season.
In a statement about their new signing, GFK said on Monday:
“Our Gaziantep Football Club has reached an agreement with internationally renowned Belgian footballer Kevin Mirallas until the end of the season. Star player Mirallas will be sweating it out in our number 27 shirt, which is the [car] license plate code of our city.”
Turkish style happy birthday (song and ‘cake’) from Kevin Mirallas’ new club Gaziantep FK
🎶 Doğum günüm bana geldiğin gündür!
🎂 Mutlu yıllar Kevin Mirallas! pic.twitter.com/RJ54tlZqUc
— Gaziantep FK (@GaziantepFK) October 5, 2020
“As it’s Mirallas’ birthday today [Monday, 5 October], he posed with baklava – the quintessential taste of our city – prepared especially for him.
“We welcome our new transfer Kevin Mirallas to our club and wish him great success [playing] under our coat of arms,” the club added.