The Greek Super League is rated 15th in Europe but is that an accurate assessment of the quality of the competition and players?
Neos Kosmos asks current and former players if the on-field and off-field action in Greek football is underrated compared to the rest of the Continent.
Panionios’ Greek Australian midfielder Peter Makrillos is in his second season in the Greek Super League. During his time with the Athens based club he has come up against heavyweights PAOK and Olympiakos several times and he believes the standard of play in Greece is high.
“For me the Greek league is easily one of the top six or seven leagues in Europe, quality wise,” he said to Neos Kosmos.
“The Greek league doesn’t have as much exposure as the Premier League or the Bundesliga. Because of the crisis that’s gone on and everything that has happened in Greece in the past four or five years it does affect us. But I feel like I am in a really strong league with big, big clubs with a lot of history and I’m really grateful.”
Fellow Greek Australian Haris Stamboulidis is with top five Super League club Aris and he also believes football in Greece is of a high standard.
“Greece is a good league definitely,” he told Neos Kosmos. “It is a strong league and there is a mix of everything, tactics, skill, physicality and speed. In my team particularly we have Nicolas Diguiny, a French winger/striker and number 10 who he is top quality. Another player who really impressed me in my team is Portuguese winger Bruno Gama. And in my position in midfield you have Migjen Basha who is a number six, he played in Italy for 10 years and I look up to him as well.”
Greek Australian Haris Stamboulidis believes football in Greece is of a high standard.
When it comes to the quality of the atmosphere in the derbies Stamboulidis feels that Greece can match any league around Europe.
“I can say honestly that the games between Aris and PAOK have been incredible,” he said.
“Because the city is divided into two, the atmosphere and the crowd is just incredible. From young children to older people who have supported the club as long as they could remember all coming in one place to support the team. It’s something they look forward to the whole week. I’m so grateful to be part of such a big club and it’s an honour to wear the shirt and experience these things. When the stadium is packed and chanting for the team
it’s a big thing.”
Greek Australian Chris Kalantzis spent a decade playing for Panathinaikos and Olympiakos and he revealed that Greece was not only a high standard but it presented opportunities to pay against the best in the world.
“It’s not as easy as people think,” he said. “There was a lot of cup games midweek as well as playing in the league and European games where all games were big games. You train two or three times a day and spend most of the week in a hotel.
“But I have been all around the world. I got to play against Sampdoria in the Champions League who had Gianlucca Vialli and Roberto Mancini. I also played against Maradona in Napoli, it was good to play against him. I also played in Germany, Holland, and Spain against teams like Tenerife who had players like Fernando Redondo.”