Demba Ba played down reports that his departure from Istanbul Basaksehir was due to a dispute over Ramadan fasting with manager Aykut Kocaman.
The Super Lig champions ended the striker’s contract last month amid growing tension between the two after Ba was left out of the Matchday’s squad for the game against fierce city rivals Fenerbahce .
Kocaman claimed the decision was purely a management decision, but rumors in Turkish media reported that Ba, a devout Muslim, had quarreled with Kocaman over his insistence on fasting during the holy month of Ramadan.
However, Ba exclusively said Sky Sports News Inside Football Show that although he is still not entirely sure why he left, he does not believe that is the reason.
“They said it was because they thought the coach wouldn’t play me a lot for the rest of the season,” Ba said.
“Because of the name I have and the respect they have for him, they decided to terminate my contract early.
“But I think it’s more than sometimes I’m probably too strong a character – I don’t hesitate to say what I think and it doesn’t work every time.
“I had a chat with the coach in his office a few weeks ago about a lot of things and I was probably too strong with him that day.
“I told him I didn’t like his body language after he told me he didn’t like mine, but after that it was okay.
“He told me he was going to start selecting players who can play more ball instead of those who can run and fight and that I would start the games.”
“Then two weeks later we play Fenerbahce and I’m not even in the squad I’m surprised because that wasn’t the conversation we had. But that’s football – things change .
“I don’t believe the rumors are true and I don’t want to believe them either because there are other players on the team who are still playing and fasting.
“But I also have friends who told me before Ramadan that I wouldn’t play because I would fast so when I was told (of my contract being terminated), it’s a coincidence.”
“ I just want to enjoy my football again ”
Ba admits his two-year stay at Basaksehir has been difficult, but believes he still has something to offer a team in the immediate future, despite turning 36 later this month.
And although the former Newcastle and Chelsea player has had a career spanning England, France, Germany, Belgium and China as well as Turkey, he doesn’t rule out a whole new adventure.
“I just want to enjoy my football for the past two years and be happy again,” Ba said.
“I would say there have been things that have more or less taken the joy away from football over the past few years, but I’m a lover of the game and want to end on a very high note.
“England could be an option, but I’m not stuck in a country, a division or a league – I’m just waiting to see what happens.
“It may end in another league, another country, but I will make the best decision for myself and my family.
“I would have liked to have had two careers – one where I come to travel the world, visit countries, cultures and meet people because I love to do that.
“But then I would have liked another one where I stayed in a club for 10, 12, 15 years because it’s special to do something like that.
Ba ready to use his past to help the future of other players
Whatever the immediate future, Ba has his plans when he ends up hanging up his already-mapped shoes, working on a cognitive project to ensure players maximize their potential.
“I reflected on my own career, how I did it and the things I went through,” Ba added.
“I wasn’t in football academies growing up and started playing very late. When I was 18, I was playing in the Sunday leagues and almost quit.
“But I was able to do it because I had people who believed in me and worked with me at the time.
“So I started to focus on the cognitive perspective of the players alongside the physical and technical side of the game.
“Sometimes the difference between doing it is a player with a lot of confidence and a player without a lot so my goal is to unlock the brain in the best possible way to achieve great results.
“I firmly believe in life, we are told that we are not made for certain things and the truth is that I don’t think we are all born with talent, but the way we are raised, educated and developed brings these qualities.
“I believe there are hundreds of young players and other players who could benefit from it, because as soon as the brain is unlocked, everything will flow.
“I have already been introduced to various neuro-psychology experts who are also interested in the project and I also have a meeting with my former trainer Ralf Rangnick about this.
“When the development program is ready, I will implement it at a club and work with the players to see the results and go from there.”
Watch Sky Sports News exclusive interview with Demba Ba as part of the Inside Football show on Thursday May 6 at 6.30 p.m. where the striker will talk about the night his team left the field against PSG, the approach of UEFA in the face of racism and more.