There's no doubt that Nuri Sahin is Borussia Dortmund through and through.

Born in 1988 in Lüdenscheid, around 50 kilometres south of Dortmund, the Turkish midfielder began playing football for local club RSV Meinerzhagen, before joining BVB as a 12-year-old in 2001. Back then, he would try to get as close as possible to the action by acting as a ball boy at the Signal Iduna Park.

Watch: The Nuri Sahin story

"I used to ask every week," he recalled in a recent interview with Deutsche Welle. "I wanted to be there as often as possible, watching all those great players. I used to kiss the ball and say to myself, 'Dortmund are going to score with this ball!' Whenever I threw one back, I really hoped they would score with it."

Sahin's ambitions quickly grew as he scaled the club's ranks, and within a few short years he was making his professional debut for Dortmund. At just 16 years and 335 days, he became the Bundesliga's youngest ever starter, and several months later, at 17 years and 82 days, its youngest goalscorer, in a 2-1 win over Nuremberg. Both records still stand to this day.

"My dream had always been to play for Dortmund," Sahin confided. "I'm from the Sauerland - and if you're from the Sauerland, you're either for the Royal Blues or the Black-and-Yellows. I suppose I could have played for Schalke, but that was never an option for me. Luckily my dream came true when I was 16!"

Sahin has made 219 Bundesliga appearances since making his top-flight debut in August 2005. © Jan Pitman

After two seasons with the first team, Sahin was loaned out to Feyenoord for 2007/08, but he flourished upon his return to Germany, emerging as Dortmund's chief playmaker under Jürgen Klopp. After helping BVB land their first Bundesliga title in almost a decade in 2010/11, he was snapped up by European giants Real Madrid - although injury preventing him from making an impact in the Spanish capital.

"I was at the biggest club in the world," he admitted. "For me, Real Madrid is the top, it doesn't get bigger. When you're there, it's like being in Hollywood. But deep down, I think I always knew I still wanted to be a part of Borussia Dortmund. I wanted to win more trophies with Dortmund, see the club grow and be a part of it. I think I needed that to lead a happy life."

After another up-and-down loan spell with Liverpool, Sahin returned to Dortmund midway through the 2012/13 season, which saw Die Schwarzgelben narrowly defeated by Bundesliga rivals Bayern Munich in the UEFA Champions League final. The 29-year-old isn't the only star to have been tempted back to the Signal Iduna Park - fellow midfielders Mario Götze and Shinji Kagawa also returned after stints with Bayern and Manchester United respectively.

"It's a very special feeling to play in Dortmund," Sahin explained. "The Yellow Wall is so huge and imposing. There's something unique, you can smell it."

"The way I play football, I have to be right in the middle of things, organising and leading my teammates," he continued. "I have to be focused for 90 minutes, on what's happening in front of me and behind me. To do that, your mind has to be free, you have to be happy and fully committed to what you're doing. To be able to help the 10 players around me, I have to know I'm part of the whole."

While he played every Bundesliga game of the 2013/14 season - in which Dortmund finished as runners-up to Bayern - Sahin was plagued by injuries over the next three years, and failed to make it to 10 league appearances until the current campaign - in which he has played 14 games and scored two goals. For the Lüdenscheid native, though, the most important thing is to see BVB continuing to make a mark on world football.

Watch: Sahin scored his first Bundesliga goal in over two years on Matchday 2 of the current campaign

"Dortmund is growing like crazy. What the club has built up over the past decade - what the club has won - says it all. There are more and more fans, and I hope it continues for the next 15, 20 years. Young players who break into the first team must know that Dortmund is not a normal club."

Not a normal club, and by no means a normal player. Though he was born in Germany, Sahin only acquired citizenship in 2011, and therefore represented Turkey - the country of his parents - over 50 times before retiring from international football in 2017. He is now approaching 300 appearances in all competitions for Dortmund - and has no doubts where he'll be in 10 years' time...

"On the sidelines of our stadium, coaching this club."

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