Mirallas next to suffer from the number 11 curse at Olympiacos
Ever since the legendary Predrag Djordjevic hung up his boots in 2009, the number 11 has become a curse at reigning Greek champions Olympiacos. AGONAsport investigates further.
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Serbian midfielder Predrag Djordjevic became a cult hero for the Olympiacos faithful in Piraeus, scoring an impressive 126 goals in 344 appearances before retiring after the 2008/2009 season. In a fitting end to his glittering career in Greece, Djordjevic’s final competitive game was the Greek Cup final, hoisting the trophy above his head after a pulsating victory against AEK Athens.
However, since Djordjevic departed the football pitch, the number 11 has not held any luck for Olympiacos. Six different players have now worn Djordjevic’s former digits, but few have ever reached the heights which the 45-year old achieved with the Thrylos. Let’s take a closer look at who’s failed to live up to the Serbian’s legacy.
The Moroccan transferred to Olympiacos in 2009 from fellow Greek side Asteras Tripolis, but he didn’t enjoy the best experience in Piraeus. Zairi ended up spending two drab seasons with the Thrylos, only managing a disappointing return of two goals from 32 matches. Eventually, he moved to PAS Giannina on a free in 2011.
Colin Kazim Richards:
If Zairi was bad, then Colin Kazim Richards was downright dreadful. Born in the United Kingdom, the Turkish citizen was loaned to Olympiacos from Galatasaray in January 2012. Kazim Richards registered 502 minutes of game time with Olympiacos and scored the one goal, before being sent back to his parent club immediately after the season ended.
Having previously worn 22 on his back, the Greek hitman decided to take number 11 in the 2012/2013 campaign. Mitroglou did a solid job too, netting 25 goals in just 37 Super League fixtures and hitting the target on seven occasions in the UEFA Champions League. Unlike the others, Mitroglou excelled with Djordjevic’s digits.
After Mitroglou’s departure, Swiss midfielder Pajtim Kasami opted to wear 11 when joining Olympiacos in summer 2014. He did score four goals in 24 matches with the Thrylos, but Kasami wasn’t capable of becoming a leading figure for Olympiacos and he was released by the club in August 2017 following a loan spell at Nottingham Forest.
The talented German playmaker was picked up by Olympiacos for the 2016/2017 season, arriving with large expectations. To be honest, he’s proved to be one of the club’s better players in recent times, but he only scored four goals in his debut campaign and Marin promptly switched to the number 10.
When signed on loan from Everton in the winter transfer window, Kevin Mirallas was given a hero’s welcome in Piraeus. The 30-year old Belgian was brilliant during his first stint with Olympiacos between 2010 and 2012, but he’s turned into a complete flop this time. Mirallas has scored only one goal in nine Super League matches this season, rarely making the fans sit up in excitement.
Taking into account Mirallas’ dismal run of form, there are serious doubts as to whether Olympiacos will activate the attacker’s Everton release clause of 5.6 million euros. He’s a personal favourite of club owner Evangelos Marinakis, but if he continues not producing the goods, it’s hard to see how Olympiacos can justify splashing the cash.
Olympiacos’ decision concerning Mirallas could depend on the club’s final positioning in the Super League table. Assuming the Thrylos fail to qualify for the Champions League, in turn losing out on big money, it’s unlikely the club will sign the Belgian on a permanent deal.