UEFA pay touching tribute to AEK’s return to the European stage
After AEK’s impressive away showing against AC Milan on matchday three of the Europa League, UEFA released a touching tribute to the Athens club which is back in the big time.
During the five minute long video, European football’s governing body touched upon the difficulties which AEK have faced on their heroic return to continental competition, mentioning the club’s relegation to the third tier following their financial collapse. Featured in the video were AEK stars Petros Mantalos and Lazaros Christodoulopoulos, with both expressing their pride for the club.
Mantalos, AEK’s captain who received a terrible injury after the video was filmed, spoke about the team’s stubborn display at the San Siro.
“Playing against such a big team, and managing to cope, means that we rose to the occasion. Yes, we were at risk of conceding a few times, but getting a point against this big club has definitely boosted our confidence,” stated Mantalos.
Lazaros Christodoulopoulos mentioned the club’s special relationship with the supporters. “I think what makes AEK different is the relationship between the players and the fans. From what I’ve seen, the fans have never given up on the team, which is a really big deal.”
Alexandros Magaritis, one of AEK’s most dedicated supporters, was given a chance by UEFA to share his love for the club in the video.
“I have supported AEK since when I can remember. AEK are a team created by the refugees from Constantinople in 1922. It is a mini version of Greece’s history. What is going on in the world now is important. All refugees are welcome, and worthy of all assistance. There is even a banner within the stadium which says that AEK are the mother of all refugees. In this sense, it is something more than just a sports club,” mentioned Magaritis.