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Sotiris Ninis – After Victor Munoz gave Ninis a chance to feature for the Panathinaikos first team at the tender age of 16, there has been no looking back for the youngster. Nicknamed the ‘Miracle Boy’, Ninis has been touted as the most promising young talent to emerge from the grassroots of Greek football. His rapid rise from the youth levels at Panathinaikos is a testament to his talent as Ninis now holds a starting role with the Athenian side, and is a key part of their success in the Greek Super League and the UEFA Europa League during the 2009-10 season.
His quick rise to fame at Panathinaikos earned him several call-ups to the national team’s youth ranks. On the senior level, Ninis’ birth country, Albania, approached him with interest to cap him, but the Albanian FA’s offer was ultimately rejected as Ninis desired to feature for his country of residency, Greece. His international career has been limited to a few competitive starts as manager Otto Rehhagel has elected to keep a more experienced midfield line-up in the roster. Nevertheless, Ninis has made appearances for the national team, and as his play with the U-21 side suggests, he is truly the next big thing to come out of Greek football.
Did You Know?
Sotiris Ninis become the youngest scorer for the Greek National Team when at 18 years and 46 days, when he scored in an international friendly against Cyprus. Nearly eight days later, he was appointed one of the captains at Panathinaikos, becoming the youngest player to ever wear the Trifylli armband.
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