AGONAsport Spotlight: Adelino Vieirinha, A True Team Captain
After finding himself in the headlines in the past week for his classy actions during the shameful scenes which we witnessed at the Toumba Stadium, AGONAsport’s Athan Stylos takes a look at Adelino Vieirinha’s return to PAOK this season following six years in Germany.
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First stint with PAOK
Vieirinha started his career off at Porto in 2008, but was sent out on loan to Thessaloniki for the entire season. He didn’t have the start he was looking for at his new club, as he suffered a serious ankle injury in a derby against arch-rivals Aris. In 2009, both PAOK and Porto agreed to terms that would keep Vieirinha at PAOK on a permanent deal for €1 million. The reason behind Vieirinha’s decision to remain at PAOK was because he wanted to continue working under Fernando Santos.
Later that year, he was awarded a 3-year contract extension with a €15 million buyout clause. Vieirinha’s stunning form was rewarded as he went on to win PAOK’s most valuable player award for two consecutive seasons and was also recognised by the entire league as he won the Greek Super League’s best foreign player of the year award in 2011. In his first stint with PAOK, he played 126 games for the club, scoring 28 goals and assisting on 21 occasions.
International Career for Portugal
Standing out as a promising youth prospect in Portugal, Vieirinha made 83 appearances with the country’s youth teams. Whilst playing for PAOK, he was rewarded with his maiden senior call up in the UEFA Euro 2012 qualifying playoffs. Eventually, Vieirinha received his debut cap for Portugal’s first team in 2013 during the FIFA World Cup Qualifiers against Israel.
Some highlights of his international career include playing in his first World Cup match for his nation at the 2014 tournament against Ghana and winning the Euro 2016 championship in France with former PAOK and Greece manager, Fernando Santos.
The Fan Favourite Returns
Having spent six seasons in the German Bundesliga playing for Wolfsburg, the fan favourite returned to PAOK on a three-year deal in August 2017. When he arrived back at PAOK, he had matured not only as a player, but also as a person and a leader.
PAOK head coach Razvan Lucescu stated that within the team there were six to seven leaders, so for Vieirinha to be given the captaincy for the 2017/2018 season displays just how much respect PAOK have for the Portuguese.
Class Act, Standing up to Savvidis
Vieirinha is a captain on and off the pitch, leading by example through his actions. This was evident last Sunday when PAOK faced AEK in the controversial title clash in Thessaloniki, which saw PAOK owner Ivan Savvidis enter the field of play after the hosts’ 90th minute goal was called back for offside. Vieirinha courageously stood up to Savvidis when the latter ordered his players to storm off the pitch. The Portuguese international waved his finger in a “No” motion to the PAOK supremo in what was highly regarded as a class act by Vieirinha to stand up to the man who pays his wages. For Savvidis to listen to what Vieirinha said shows that there is real mutual respect between the two of them.
Following the events of Sunday, Vieirinha took to Instagram to throw his support behind Savvidis, who has come under an enormous amount of pressure in the last week. He posted a picture of both himself and Savvidis which stated: “When the going gets tough, the tough get going. We are PAOK, we are family, against all”.
Adelino Vieirinha is the heart and soul of PAOK, and a true role model for everyone in the world of Greek football. It is the football which he craves and exemplifies that should be pursued by those involved in the country’s game.