cuney akyr (Istanbul, 11-22-1976) is one of the most experienced referees in European football. The Turk has lived through a thousand battles, enough to be chosen as the second best referee in Europe since the turn of the century. He was behind the German Felix Brych.
At 45 years old, this Turkish insurance broker who loves RPGs, faces the final part of a career that led him in 2015 to referee the Champions League final in Berlin between Barcelona and Juventus. Luis Enrique’s Bara won 3-1.
Gone were his beginnings and that match in 2007 that ended in a great scandal in Turkey. Akir pitted the Manisaspor-Sakaryaspor that at 37 minutes had to be suspended because Blent Ataman, Manisaspor goalkeeper tore his shirt. He received 12 games of sanction. In addition, the referee was punched in the face by one of the members of the local team.
The one in Malaga will be the fifth game that the Turkish referee has directed against the Spanish team. The balance is good for Spain, but there hasn’t been a game with him that hasn’t been nerve-wracking.
The semis in Donetsk
Akir was the referee chosen by UEFA to officiate the Euro 2012 semi-final between Spain and Portugal at the Donbass Arena, a stadium devastated by the Russian-Ukrainian war. The Iberian duel ended 0-0 and had to be resolved, in favor of La Roja, on penalties.
Almost three years later he was reunited with Spain. It was in Seville and against Ukraine, a 1-0 win with Álvaro Morata scoring for the first time.
That game was on the way to the Euro in France. There, Akir bid farewell to Spain and the end of the Del Bosque era. In Saint-Denis, against Conte’s Italy, the team barely had a chance after incredible handing over first place in the group in Bordeaux against Croatia.
But stronger emotions remained. akir was the arbitral witness of the madness that took place in Copenhagen on June 28 last. Pedri-Unai Simón’s own goal, the Spanish reaction, Croatia’s comeback to Madrid to take the game to extra time, Unai’s miraculous save and goals from Morata and Oyarzabal.