The Greeks in Cyprus
AGONAsport.com takes a look at the Greeks playing in the Cypriot First Division.
In recent years, the Cypriot soccer market has “opened up” for many Greek players with many of them making the move to the island of Aphrodite. As many Superleague teams face transfer restrictions and financial issues, multiple players were forced to continue their careers elsewhere, finding “refuge” in Cyprus. Some made their moves permanent, others went temporarily and AGONAsport.com points out these notable cases.
Fotis Papoulis (Apollon Limassol)
The 32 year old winger grew up in Limassol and is considered one of the best players in the league. He moved to Apollon Limassol from OFI in 2012 and since then, has become a figure of the team and a fan favorite. In 185 appearances with the club, he has scored 69 goals while having won the Cypriot Cup on two occasions. Papoulis is expected to continue his career in Limassol for many years to come.
Giannis Gianniotas (APOEL)
Gianniotas moved to Cyprus for APOEL in January 2016 on loan from Olympiacos and made an immediate impact in the team. As a starter since then, he has made 66 appearances with the Galazokitrini while scoring 13 goals. The 25 year old winger is considered one of the team’s stars playing an important role in APOEL’s back to back championship wins, as well as the team’s success in the Europa League. Moreover, his appearances with APOEL have made him a regular in Skibbe’s national team call-ups. He is expected to return to Olympiacos over the summer, however APOEL will try their best to keep him in Cyprus.
Loukas Vyntra (Omonia)
The veteran defender left Israel last summer to join Omonia, becoming the most valuable center-back on the team. The 36-year old has made 31 appearances and scored 2 goals with the Prasini of Nicosia. It is unknown though if he will continue with Omonia, due to the departure of sports director Nikos Dabizas and the appointing of coach Pambos Christodoulou.
Savvas Tsambouris (Nea Salamina)
For the first time in his career, he found himself playing outside of Greece as he signed with Nea Salamina last summer. Despite the team’s mid-lower place in the table, he is considered one of the club’s best players. The 31-year old has scored 2 goals in 31 appearances for the club.
Aris Soiledis (Omonia)
Soiledis moved to Omonoia from AEK Athens last summer and after a good start to the season, an injury held him back. The 25 year old left back did manage to make 25 appearances with the Prasini and like Vyntra, the team’s managerial change might affect his future in Cyprus.
Giorgos Georgiadis (AEL Limassol)
During his first season away from Greece the 29-year-old winger quickly became one of the best players at AEL Limassol. With one goal in 32 matches, he has played an important role in AEL’s season with the club having secured a ticket for next year’s Europa League.
Giannis Taralidis (Karmiotissa)
Taralidis returned to Cyprus for Karmiotissa after a one-year spell with Kissamikos in the Greek Football League. Before Karmiotissa, he played for Nea Salamina and Ermis Aradippou and was a valuable addition to both teams despite his age. The 36-year old has made 28 appearances with 3 goals scored, but his team did not avoid relegation to the second division.
Demetris Konstantinidis (Omonia)
The 23 year old right back joined Omonoia on loan from PAOK last summer. With 20 appearances he is considered an important tool for the Prasini but is expected to return to Thessaloniki after the completion of the current season.
Giannis Skopelitis (Nea Salamina)
The veteran midfielder is proudly the oldest member of this list having played his 10th season in Cyprus after joining Nea Salamina last summer. Before joining the Famagusta side, he played for both Anorthosis and AEK Larnaca. The 38-year old made 33 appearances this season and scored one goal and despite his age, has not expressed any thoughts of retiring.
Vasilis Skourtis (Aris Limassol)
Last summer he left Xanthi and moved to Limassol to join Aris. The 25 year old striker scored 4 goals in 18 appearances and is an important attacking weapon of the Limassol side.
Manolis Saliakas (Karmiotissa)
The 20-year old youngster joined Karmiotissa last summer on loan from Olympiacos. In his first full professional season, he made 31 appearances for the relegated club.
Aris Maragoudakis (Aris Limassol)
Joining Aris Limassol in 2014, the 35 year old striker helped the team to ptomotion to the 1st Division and is the team’s most reliable striker. In 94 appearances, he has found the back of the net on 26 occasions. It looks as if he will stay in Limassol for the time being.