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A versatile midfielder, Katsouranis' ability to effectively defend as well as contribute to the Greek attack has made him a key member for the national team. Able to inspire his team-mates when on his game, Katsouranis holds the role of alternate captain within the squad.
Starting his career off at Panachaiki, Greece's leading trio of Olympiacos, Panathinaikos, and AEK all had a chance to sign Katsouranis, but it was the latter who lured him to Athens in 2002. Under manager Dusan Bajevic, Katsouranis quickly emerged as an integral part of the club. His early success with AEK warranted in several call-ups to the national team, as well as much interest from clubs abroad.
Offers continued to pour into the AEK offices after Katsouranis successfully steered Greece to European glory at EURO 2004, but then club president Demis Nikolaidis opted to keep the player in the Greek capital. It wasn’t until the departure of Fernando Santos, who took over from Bajevic as manager in 2004, which Katsouranis finally followed through with a move abroad. Following Santos to Portugal, Katsouranis signed on at Benfica and joined countryman Giorgos Karagounis as part of a dynamic duo for the Lisbon club.
While Katsouranis strived towards his peak on the club level, international success was hard to come by as Greece missed out on qualifying for the 2006 World Cup. A revived Katsouranis made an impact during the squad’s qualifying campaign for EURO 2008 as he displayed his offensive capabilities, scoring many clutch goals to guide Greece to the finals.
The honeymoon was over in Austria and Switzerland as Greece crashed out of the tournament at the group stages. Katsouranis’ performance at the tournament was met with much scepticism back home, as was his decision to return to Panathinaikos at the start of this season. While the controversy of his transfer led blood to boil in the Greek capital, Katsouranis has steered Panathinaikos to early success in 2009-10 as the Trifylli look poised to end a lengthy drought of domestic silverware.
Did you know?
Katsouranis was part of a major bust-up while at Benfica. After a verbal altercation with team-mate Luisao, he was caught by cameras signalling a profane gesture at the Benfica captain.
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