Panathinaikos legend Takis Loukanidis passes away at 80
Greek football suffered a real tragedy on Thursday, as legendary Panathinaikos midfielder Takis Loukanidis passed away following a reported myocardial infarction. He was 80 years of age.
Loukanidis enjoyed a sparkling career in Greece, spending his golden years with Athenian giants Panathinaikos. Following his transfer from Doxa Dramas, where Loukanidis starred and attracted the interest of major European clubs, he became a key member of a successful Panathinaikos side. With the Greens, Loukanidis won three Greek championship titles between 1962 and 1968, scoring 59 goals in 142 matches. It’s worth noting that Loukanidis arrived at Panathinaikos through a transit at APOEL from Doxa.
In 1970, he won the Greek Cup with new club Aris Thessaloniki. Loukanidis made 23 appearances for the national team, scoring three goals along the way. Loukanidis hung up his boots in 1971.
Panathinaikos released a statement on their official website, paying tribute to a true club legend. “It is a sad day for the Panathinaikos family, as Takis (Neotakis) Loukanidis, one of the club’s legendary figures, passed away in his 81st year. Takis Loukanidis, perhaps one of Greece’s leading footballers of all time, remains a symbol for the history of Panathinaikos and Greek football in general. In his great career, alongside Panathinaikos, Loukanidis wore the shirt of Doxa Dramas, APOEL, Aris Thessaloniki and of course the national team. Loukanidis won the respect and recognition of both players and fans.”
Former Panathinaikos teammate Mimis Domazos shared his memories of Loukanidis. “Now that he is up in heaven, I have to admit that Loukanidis is the best Greek footballer of all time,” stated Domazos. “He played in all positions, being good at everything. Sometimes, he was even a goalkeeper.”
Well-known striker Antonis Antoniadis joined Panathinaikos just as Loukanidis left for Aris, but he still remember how talented the universal midfielder was. “Takis Loukanidis, in my opinion, was the most complete footballer in history. He could play in every position, performing brilliantly. He was a good man, passionate about football and Panathinaikos. Up until his health problems, he watched every Panathinaikos match.”
Loukanidis’ funeral is scheduled to take place tomorrow, on January 12.