Olympiakos announce full squad for upcoming Melbourne Victory clash
Greek League and Cup Champions Olympiakos have signalled their intent by confirming that they will be bringing a full squad to contest the forthcoming friendly with the A-League's most popular team, Melbourne Victory, at Etihad Stadium on Saturday 19 May
Greek League and Cup Champions Olympiakos have signalled their intent by confirming that they will be bringing a full squad to contest the forthcoming friendly with the A-League's most popular team, Melbourne Victory, at Etihad Stadium on Saturday 19 May.
It was suggested in some quarters that, due to the close proximity to Euro 2012, many of the clubs international stars would not be available for selection.
However, these fears have been allayed with this latest announcement.
This means current Greek internationals that will feature in this summer's major tournament such as exciting right back Vasilios Torosidis, left back Jose Holebas, central defender Avram Papadopulos, defensive midfielder Yiannis Maniatis and Greek attacking prodigy Yiannis Fetfatzidis, will be on show during this historic one-off outing.
Other international players that will be travelling down under will be Belgium's goal machine Kevin Miralas, Sweden captain Olof Mellberg and former Manchester United goalkeeper Roy Carroll, among others.
Many of the players at Greece's most successful club have welcomed the game as not only a huge challenge but also a fantastic opportunity to maintain match sharpness during the interim period between the end of their hugely successful 2011/12 campaign and the European Championships in Ukraine and Poland, which starts in June.
They are also acutely aware of what this game means to the huge Greek community in Melbourne and how important it is to perform at their very best. For many this will be the only opportunity to see their beloved team play during their lifetime.
Greek fan favourite Yiannis Fetfatzidis said, "Speaking on behalf of the players of Olympiakos FC, we are happy to be able to travel to Australia and spread joy to the Greek community there. We will both give and get joy during our stay in Melbourne.
"We will try our best to please the fans that will come to watch us at the stadium."
The game has had extra spice added to it by Melbourne Victory's recent appointment of Greek-born two-time Hyundai A-League winning coach Ange Postecoglou, with the clash against Olympiakos fittingly being his first test in charge of his new club.
Ange is a favourite son of Melbourne's Greek community but he'll be hoping to get the better of his countrymen on May 19.
It is likely, however, that he will feel a great sense of pride to be involved in a game which marks the first time since 1978 that the Greek champions have played in Australia.
Olympiakos completed their domestic double at the Olympic Stadium on Saturday as they overcame Atromitos 2-1 to win the Greek Cup thanks to a winning goal from substitute David Fuster with only a minute of extra time still to play. This was Olympiakos's25th success in the competition and their 15th domestic double. They will be riding on the crest of a euphoric wave when they reach Melbourne and will be hoping to celebrate with a sea of red and white at Etihad Stadium.
With ticket sales going well, organisers have advised fans to purchase tickets as soon as possible to avoid disappointment.
Olympiakos Australian Tour Squad: Goalkeepers: Roy Carroll; Lajos Megieri. Defenders: Vasilios Torosidis; Jose Holembas; Avraam Papadopoulos; Olaf Mellberg; Ivan Marcano; Tassos Papazoglou; Franco Modesto. Midfielders: Yiannis Maniatis; Ariel Ibayasa; Jean Makoun; Pablo Orbaith; David Fuster; Djammel Abdoun; Feisa. Forwards: Kevin Mirallas; Kazim Richards; Yiannis Fetfatzidis; Marco Pantelic; Rafik Djebbour; Diogo; Franco Modesto.
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