One of the members of Greece’s rise to glory in the European Championship of 2004 in Portugal, Giorgos Karagounis, will be in Melbourne for a few short days at the end of February, thanks to an initiative by the sports team of the 3XY radio station and a number of well known business people from the Greek community.
Among them are as Oakleigh Cannons president Stan Papayanneris, former South Melbourne president Greg Kayas, Chris Babatzias, Nick Gourlias and Nick Andrianopoulos.
During his stay in Melbourne, Karagounis will take part in several events, including Antipodes 2020, where he will be honoured by Greek Community of Melbourne President Bill Papastergiadis for his 15-year service to Greek football.
Apart from that, the veteran midfielder will also take part in a dinner event with all proceeds going towards charity organisations, although no further details have yet been given.
Karagounis is also planned to take part in the presentation of the new Oakleigh Cannons jersey, while he will kick-off the NPL third round game between the south Oakleigh Club and South Melbourne.
WHO IS GIORGOS KARAGOUNIS?
For those who don’t know, Giorgos Karagounis was one of the main contributors of the Greek national team’s success during its Golden Era.
He was born on 6 March 1977 in Pyrgos, Peloponnese, and began his career at the established Panathinaikos academies.
The Peloponnesian player was a member of a generation of players to come out of the Athenian Club’s football school and go on to succeed on a European level.
He was a part of the Panathinaikos team to reach the quarter-finals of the UEFA Champions League in the 2000/01 season against Barcelona.
Karagounis had become an indispensable member of the squad and scored many crucial and impressive goals for his team, such as the one in Bremen against Werder in his team’s 0-3 victory.
In 2003, after playing his entire career for a single club, Karagounis decided it was time to spread his wings and get a taste of international football.
His next destination would be Inter Milan and the Italian league, where he was praised for his professionalism and work ethic.
He departed two years later for Lisbon and Benfica, a club known to have a very welcoming environment for Greek players.
Karagounis was no exception, as he quickly established himself in the starting eleven and had a noteworthy presence.
But he couldn’t escape the call to return and after a successful international run, it was time for him to go home and settle down, with Panathinaikos fans welcoming back one of their favourite players.
Unfortunately, the club’s ownership issues didn’t allow Karagounis to end his career donning the green jersey.
He moved to Premier League side Fulham during the 2012 January transfer window and although his presence was short (39 appearances), he managed to establish a bond with the club’s supporters.
Throughout his career, Karagounis has always been one of the Greek national team’s most faithful servants.
He was part of the teams that participated in the European championships of 2004, 2008 and 2012, and also the World Cups of 2010 and 2014.
He scored many highly important goals such as the opener in the game against Portugal in Greece’s first game during the Euro 2004.
He ended his career after the World Cup round of 16 game against Costa Rica with 139 appearances, more than any other player in national team history.