Greek youngster, Dimitris Kourbelis, named Panathinaikos captain
Panathinaikos boss Marinos Ouzounidis appointed Dimitris Kourbelis as the club’s new first captain.
This summer saw Panathinaikos go through many changes in their roster, including the departure of all three captains from last season, Zeca, Berg, and Leto. The developments at the club forced Marinos Ouzounidis to turn to a new leader in the Greens’ squad for the 2017/18 season, with Dimitris Kourbelis taking the honors as the clubs new first captain (previously was Zeca).
Looking back, it is astonishing as to how the 23-year old climbed the ranks to become the captain of Panathinaikos in less than a year's time. His presence both on and off the pitch have led to this honour and according to many, Kourbelis has rightfully become the team's’ captain.
Dimitris Kourbelis joined Panathinaikos this past January and was a personal choice of Ouzounidis. The Greece international quickly earned respect within the club and his quick transition from Asteras Tripolis to Panathinaikos, proved his ability to overcome new challenges. Just days after signing with the Trifylli, he was given a place in Panathinaikos’ starting XI against Platanias and ever since, Kourbelis has become an irreplaceable option in the Green’s squad.
Although Kourbelis might not house the abilities of a ”game changing” player, he has managed to add quality to Panathinaikos’ game and become a backbone in the club’s roster. Last season, he showed great composure in important matches and derbies as one of his best games in the Green shirt was against eternal enemies, Olympiacos, at Leoforos last March.
Kourbelis’ presence in the locker room also played a major role in Ouzounidis’ decision to give the youngster the captain’s armband this season. The 23 year old houses characteristics of a leader and has never caused a problem off the pitch. In addition, Kourbelis also captained his former team, Asteras Tripolis, in an era where the Arkades played some of the best football in club history while making an appearance in the Europa League group stages.
The Greek international has the opportunity to write his name as a Panathinaikos legend as he captains one of Greece’s most historic clubs. His new role has many responsibilities, however the young gun seems ready to live up to the raised expectations and lead Panathinaikos to a successful year ahead.