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One of the less fancied players in the Legends series, Zagorakis led the Greeks with example to their maiden and only European triumph...

Theodoros Zagorakis

Date Of Birth: 27 October, 1971

Place Of Birth: Lydia, Kavala, Greece

Height: 1.78m

Playing Position: Defensive Midfielder

 

Captain of the Greek side during their successful European campaign in 2004, Zagorakis started his career with local side Kavala helping them to win promotion to the Greek Second Division. He moved to PAOK in 1993 and spent 5 years there before having a short spell with Leicester City. Due to limited playing time in England, Zagorakis returned to Greece by joining AEK Athens and achieved some success there but decided to try his hand in Italy with Bologna. He returned to PAOK in 2005 when Bologna got relegated and couldn't afford Zagorakis on their pay roll. He ended his career in 2007.

 

 “Greek Ecstacy”

The 12th edition of the European Championship was held in Portugal. Spain, France and Portugal started as favourites and the Greeks were given 150/1 odds to win the tournament. Greece were drafted in Group A along with Spain, Russia and hosts Portugal.

Greeks started their campaign on the right note by defeating Portugal 2-1 in the opening game. Zagorakis was instrumental in protecting the Greek defense and worked tirelessly especially when the Portuguese were pushing for an equaliser after going 2-1 down. A draw 1-1 draw against Spain and 2-1 loss to Russia put Greece second on the table, ahead of Spain, courtesy of goals scored. They progressed to the quarterfinals to face France. Greece pulled off the biggest shock of Euro 2004 when they beat holders France for the first time in their history. An Angelos Charisteas header off a Zagorakis cross from the right sealed the victory as Greece successfully thwarted the French attack.

Another surprise performers at the tournament were the Czech Republic. The semifinal between the Czechs and the Greeks was an end-to-end affair with both goalkeepers in top form and making save after save. The game progressed into extra time as everyone thought that a single goal would settle the affair. Their thoughts bore action when Traianos Dellas headed in the winning goal in the last minute of the first half of extra time. It meant that the Silver Goal rule stood and Greece had ousted Czech Republic for a place in the final.

The final was the repeat of the opening game as hosts Portugal faced Greece in Lisbon. Portugal became the first host nation to lose the final when Angelos Charisteas headed in a Basinas corner from the right. Zagorakis worked his socks off in the final as his timely interceptions and countless tackles broke up Portugal's attacks. Zagorakis was named as the Player of the Tournament for his efficient performances throughout the course of the competition.

 

 “Honours”

Zagorakis' trophy collection isn't as impressive as the other Legends. He won the League Cup with Leicester City in 2000 before winning the Greek Cup with AEK Athens in 2002. The crowning moment of his career was the Euro 2004 crown and him being named as Player of the Tournament.

 

 “Post Retirement”

Zagorakis was an iconic figure at PAOK and the supporters loved him. After hanging up his boots, Zagorakis assumed the post of President at PAOK and started working towards sorting out the club's financial situation. He did shock the fans when he announced that he would be stepping down from his post but he later changed his mind and returned to office.

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