- Rest of Europe
Giorgos Samaras – He is one of the few Greeks to start off his career abroad. In fact, Samaras has never played for a Greek club as his career began in the Netherlands in the youth ranks of Heerenveen before making his way into the first team in 2003. Impressing with his speed and agility as well as ball control, Samaras’ goal-scoring abilities attracted Manchester City as then manager Stuart Pearce admired his capabilities. While a move to England was unsuccessful, Samaras rediscovered his touch Scotland with Celtic. Initially on loan at Celtic park, Samaras ultimately made the move to Scotland permanent as he emerged as a scoring stud in Glasgow. Developing his skills, Samaras has regularly been a threat in front of goal for both club and country.
His international career started off very brightly as he scored in his first two matches for the Ethniki to impress manager Otto Rehhagel. Although his emergence in the squad was rather late-coming in terms of starting appearances, Samaras eventually became a regular in the fold – playing just behind striking partners Theofanis Gekas and Angelos Charisteas on several occasions. His craftsmanship has proved its worth on many occasions, but none bigger than the second leg of the qualifying play-off against Ukraine as Samaras provided the assist for the Dimitrios Salpingidis’ strike that sent Greece to the finals.
Did You Know?
Samaras is from a family of a long-line of footballers. His father, Ioannis was born in Australia, but moved to Greece as a youth and eventually played for Panathinaikos and the nationaltTeam. Meanwhile, Giorgos’ grandfather, whom he is named after, was part of the development of South Melbourne FC in Australia.
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