Çalhanoğlu has been likened to Mesut Özil, another German-born midfielder of Turkish ancestry. He expressed a desire to be the equivalent of Özil in the Turkish national team. A set-piece specialist, he is known for scoring from free kicks, and models his set-piece technique on the knuckleball free kicks of Cristiano Ronaldo and especially Juninho Pernambucano. In addition to his ability to score with power and accuracy from direct free kicks with his right foot, he is also known for his ability to bend the ball, and his set-piece delivery. In December 2013, Talksport called him “a playmaker destined for the top”, praising his dedication and passing ability. Former England international Owen Hargreaves said on BT Sport in August 2015 that Çalhanoğlu’s style of play would fit Liverpool or Tottenham Hotspur. Despite mostly positive reception in his late teens and early twenties, in recent years, however, he has drawn some criticism as well; his pace was deemed insufficient for a winger, a position he adopted due to absence of his natural classic “number 10” attacking midfield role in the preferred formations of his teams, particularly A.C. Milan. He has also been criticized in the media for his lack of physical attributes and overall inconsistency of his performances. However, his dribbling, technique, passing (both short and long), crossing, and vision, as well as his eye for goal and striking ability from distance, have been referred to as his strengths. Çalhanoğlu has also been used in deeper midfield positions throughout his career, including in a holding role, in which he usually operates as a deep-lying playmaker, as an offensive–minded central midfielder, known as the mezzala role in Italian football jargon, or even in more offensive roles on occasion, as a second striker, for example. Çalhanoğlu was born in Mannheim, Germany, to Turkish parents originally from Bayburt, Turkey. Çalhanoğlu married his childhood sweetheart Sinem Gündoğdu, in Mannheim, in 2017. The couple had alleged marital problems, because of which Çalhanoğlu decided to file for divorce, but in 2018, the couple reportedly made up. The couple welcomed their daughter, Liya, born in Mannheim, in March 2019. Muhammed, younger brother of Hakan, is also a professional footballer. The younger Çalhanoğlu was also formed at Waldhof Mannheim and Karlsruher SC, and went on to play in the lower divisions of Austrian and Turkish football. Similarly, his cousin Kerim Çalhanoğlu is also a footballer, and also played for Waldhof Mannheim. In January 2017, Çalhanoğlu posted a video to Twitter supporting Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan ahead of the 2017 Turkish constitutional referendum. Bayer Leverkusen spokesman Dirk Mesch confirmed the club discussed the tweet with Çalhanoğlu. On 11 October 2019, following Cenk Tosun’s goal in a 1–0 home win over Albania in a Euro 2020 qualifier, Çalhanoğlu was one of the Turkish players who participated in a “military salute” goal celebration. That same day, he stated his open support for the Turkish offensive into north-eastern Syria with a post on Twitter, which drew criticism from numerous Italian football fans on social media.