10 hidden gems of Greece’s footballing future
In a special featured article, AGONAsport takes a look at 10 of the more unknown talented youngsters who could shine for Greece in coming years.
It’s not all doom and gloom for Greek football. Admittedly, the national team has seen better days and the country’s leading clubs disappoint in European competition on a regular basis, but there is hope of a better future. Panagiotis Retsos (Bayer Leverkusen), Konstantinos Mavropanos (Arsenal) and Anastasios Donis (VfB Stuttgart) have already caught headlines around the continent, and 15-year old midfielder Giannis Konstantelias, who is considered one of the greatest talents Greece has seen in an extremely long time, is wanted by Barcelona.
Let’s take a look at 10 of the more unknown Greek youngsters with high potential:
Christian Vasilakis (Real Madrid, forward)
What a talent this striker is. Still only 17 years of age, Vasilakis has starred in the Real Madrid academy for the past 1.5 years, scoring goals for fun and displaying his huge potential. Vasilakis was born in Valencia and has spent his entire life in Spain so far, but given the fact that his grandfather was born in Kerkyra, he holds the right to represent the Greek national team and the Hellenic Football Federation (EPO) is trying to secure his services.
During the 2017/2018 campaign, Vasilakis scored a large 20 goals for Real Madrid in Juvenil C, and as a result, he was promoted to the Juvenil B side for this season. Known as the “Killer” among Spanish fans, he is a truly gifted footballer, and it takes a talented player to impress for Real Madrid. A future superstar? It’s too early to make bold predictions, but if he continues in the same vein, he has a seriously bright future ahead of him.
Antonis Aidonis (VfB Stuttgart, defender)
Another player with Greek heritage born in a different country. Aidonis, a commanding centre-back, entered the world in Germany and has already represented the U15, U15, U17 and U18 German national teams. Nevertheless, until the 17-year old plays in a game for the senior side, the EPO still has the chance to convince him to play for Greece.
Between 2012 and 2018, Aidonis played for Hoffenheim, but he transferred to VfB Stuttgart in the summer and has already competed in two Bundesliga matches this season. The defender is calm, composed and a reliable figure at the back.
Giorgos Antzoulas (Fiorentina, defender)
In July 2018, Fiorentina came calling for the 18-year old defender, signing Antzoulas on a loan deal from Asteras Tripolis for the 2018/2019 campaign. However, after the current season reaches its completion, the Italian will have the option to sign him on a permanent basis if they see fit.
In Italy, the Tripoli born centre-back has performed well in the Primavera, netting two goals in 20 league matches. Since 2017, Antzoulas has been representing the under 19 Greek national team, and he’s competed in five matches while scoring one goal along the way. Big things are expected of Antzoulas moving forward.
Vangelis Pavlidis (Borussia Dortmund, forward)
At this moment in time, Pavlidis plays for Borussia Dortmund’s reserves, however the 20-year old is on loan from Bochum and is due to return to his parent club in the summer. Playing in the position of centre forward, Pavlidis has participated in 15 Regionalliga West games with the Dortmund reserve team, popping up with two goals and four assists. Pavlidis has played for the U17, U19 and U20 Greek national teams, and with his teenage years already behind him, he will be looking to take the step to the next level after this season finishes.
Nemanja Milojevic (Vojvodina, winger)
Yes, he really is Greek. An Athens native, 20-year old winger Milojevic acquired Greek citizenship, and he has already represented Greece at under 19 level.
Milojevic is a key player for his club Vojvodina in the Serbian Super Liga, and in the current season, he’s scored two goals and dished out one assist in the domestic championship after arriving from Cukaricki in July 2018. Considering that he was born into a Serbian family, many expected Milojevic would play for Serbia, but he decided to represent Greece and we could be hearing his name more often in the coming years.
Giorgos Spanoudakis (Vitoria Guimaraes, midfielder)
The midfielder is only 20, but already he’s had the opportunity to play in the Frankfurt, Barcelona and VfB Stuttgart academies. Right now, Spanoudakis is playing with the Vitoria Guimaraes reserves in Portugal, and he has also competed in two matches with the under 19 Greek national team.
In the past, Spanoudakis did lace up his boots for Germany at U15, U16 and U17 level, however he then made the decision to represent the country of his birth. Spanoudakis is under contract at Vitoria Guimaraes until 2021 after he was allowed to leave Stuttgart for free in July 2018.
Konstantinos Dimitriou (FC Basel, defender)
Having been born in Thessaloniki, 20-year old defender Dimitriou began his career with PAOK, but in 2018, Basel came calling and snapped him up on a four-year contract.
To be honest, Dimitriou has found himself on the fringes of the Basel first team, however he’s still been given a combined total of 610 minutes playing time in seven Swiss Super League matches. Competing in the middle of defence, Dimitriou rarely puts a foot wrong, and he is focused on becoming a regular in the Basel team as he progresses as a player. He has played for the U16, U17, U18, U19 and U20 Greek national teams.
Giorgos Vrakas (Napoli, midfielder)
On November 29, 2017, attacking midfielder Vrakas was handed his professional bow for PAOK at the tender age of 16, playing in a 5:0 victory against Aiginiakos. In the same year, he was called up to the under 19 national team, and when the 2017/2018 season finished, Serie A giants Napoli were impressed enough to sign him and take him to Italy.
Vrakas has made a great start to life at Napoli. He played in three UEFA Youth League matches in the autumn, and in domestic leagues, the youthful 17-year old has participated in several Primavera and Coppa Primavera fixtures. Vrakas boasts fantastic technical ability and Napoli are eager to keep him in Italy.
Antonis Stergiakis (Slavia Sofia, goalkeeper)
This goalkeeper could turn into a special player. Ever since 2015, Stergiakis has been playing in Bulgaria with Slavia Sofia, and according to reports he turned down the opportunity to join Olympiacos in 2018 because he wants to play regular first team football instead of keeping the bench warm.
Stergiakis, 20, has participated in 12 Parva Liga matches this season, conceding 17 goals and tallying two clean sheets. He also played in two UEFA Europa League qualifiers, and he will soon start representing the under 21 Greek national team. One to keep a close eye on.
Ilias Koutsoupias (Bologna, midfielder)
The 17-year old midfielder stands at 181 cm tall and is an expert at controlling the ball with superb ability when in possession.
Koutsoupias is playing on loan at Bologna from Entella in this campaign, and when the off-season arrives, they will have to make a decision whether to keep the Greek or send him back to his formal employers. In the 2018/2019 season, Koutsoupias has played in eight Primavera-2 games and one Coppa Primavera match.