Euro 2004 winner Chalkias makes first professional appearance for 5 years
Panachaiki were knocked out of the Greek Cup following a tight 1:1 draw against Panathinaikos, but the main story was 43 year old goalkeeper Konstantinos Chalkias. The only 2004 European champion still playing competitive football, Chalkias participated in his first professional game for over five years.
In 2012, Chalkias decided to hang up his boots and call it quits. However, in 2016, he made a shock comeback when signing for Panachaiki, a club which was then competing in the Gamma Ethniki (Greek third division). Panachaiki head coach Sokratis Ofrydopoulos gave Chalkias a moment to remember on Wednesday, putting the goalkeeper between the sticks for the headline Greek Cup clash against giants Panathinaikos. He did concede one goal, but he helped Panachaiki claim an unlikely 1:1 draw.
During his career which began in 1995, Chalkias competed for Panathinaikos, Apollon Smyrnis, Iraklis, Aris and PAOK, becoming a Greek champion twice with Panathinaikos. He did claim a Euro 2004 winner’s medal, even if he was the reserve goalkeeper in the tournament. Chalkias also tried his luck abroad after that successful European championship, signing for English outfit Portsmouth and Spanish club Real Murcia.
Amazingly, this match against Panathinaikos was Chalkias’ first professional outing since May 16, 2012, when PAOK played with AEK Athens. It remains to be seen whether he will be given regular opportunities to play in the Greek Football League.
His appearance on Wednesday also made him the oldest player to ever make an appearance in the Greek Cup at a remarkable 43 years, 6 months and 2 days old, bypassing Kostas Kiassou’s recorded by 2.5 years.