AGONA Profile: Nikos Michelis, from Inter and Juventus - via Tripolis - to Milan
From Inter and Juventus, via Tripolis, to Milan for Nikos Michelis. The AGONA Profile takes a closer look at his blossoming career to date.
Late last week, Italian giants AC Milan confirmed the acquisition of talented Greek teenager Nikos Michelis from Asteras Tripolis on a 5-year deal. The news shocked the Greek footballing world but the truth is, it should come as no surprise considering Asteras Tripolis have a proven track record of developing quality Greek youngsters such as Dimitris Kourbelis, Tasos Bakasetas, and Kostas Fortounis, to name a few, plus there have been huge wraps on the versatile teen for some time.
Michelis also follows in the footsteps of another Asteras Tripolis youth graduate, Giorgos Antzoulas, who has been snapped up by Fiorentina. The deal is rumoured to be valued at approximately 400,000 euros.
Naturally, not much is known of Michelis’ past and career to date. He has never played a competitive match at the senior level, however, he has starred in the U19 Greek Super League for the Arkades. ‘Gazzetta Weekend Journal’ learnt more about his past and experiences with various academies in Greece.
Background and early footballing steps
Michelis was born in the Athenian suburb of Nea Smyrni on the 23rd of May, 2001 to a father who was a chemistry teacher and a mother who worked for a pharmaceutical company. His parents always wished for their son to prosper at school in his studies, however, his grandfather also called Nikos, had other ambitions. From the age of five, Michelis was enrolled in the Inter Sofianos Academy by his grandfather, where he began to learn the basics about football.
A year later, he began playing in the youth set up for local club Panionios, where he stayed for four years. At the same time, he obtained a scholarship and attended private schools in Athens. He later began to take football more seriously and had the privilege to play in the Juventus Academy in Greece. This is where his career really took off.
Asteras Tripolis and first professional contract
It was only a matter of time before clubs came calling and it was Asteras Tripolis, after Michelis caught the attention of Stavros Papadimitriou and Giorgos Georgopoulos. Without fear, he departed Athens for Tripolis and immediately made his presence felt. Without having any prior experience, he was thrown into action at U17 level and excelled.
Michelis then made the natural progression into the U20 team in the Greek Super League youth competition. By 17, he had already made such a substantial impact that he signed his first ever professional contract. This is when AC Milan started monitoring his progress, even though he is unaware in which match specifically he was spotted. Michelis is incredibly versatile by virtue of being a central midfielder by trade but also being able to play higher up the pitch if need be, and also deeper as a centre back or fullback.
By 17, he made 14 appearances in the U20 team for Asteras Tripolis and scored his one and only goal in a 2:0 win over OFI on the 16th of December, 2018. Michelis remains grounded and has made it his mission to “work hard and nothing else.”
Juventus Academy coach Andreas Giannakis stated Michelis “is made to play at a top level.” It is now time to see how much he will grow as a person and a player abroad.