AGONA Spotlight: Emanuel Perrone, Iraklis through and through
Iraklis are doomed to playing in the local Macedonian leagues this season, but veteran striker Emanuel Perrone has decided to follow the club into the murky depths of Greek football. The AGONA Spotlight takes a closer look.
Romance isn’t dead. When it was confirmed that Iraklis will compete in the local Macedonian leagues this season, Perrone had the perfect opportunity to bid farewell to the Thessaloniki club, but he surprised everyone by promising to stay. A remarkable show of love and loyalty which is rarely seen in football nowadays.
Perrone, 36, is certainly no stranger to Greek football. Ever since signing for Ionikos from Troyes in 2005, the Argentine striker has only played for Hellenic clubs, notably representing Iraklis between 2014 and 2017 before he transferred to AE Larissa. Perrone returned to Iraklis in the summer of 2018 and will seemingly see out his career with the Thessaloniki-based organisation.
LONG LOVE AFFAIR WITH GREECE
340 matches, 89 goals, 34 assists. The facts and figures which Perrone boasts in Greece since he moved to the country in 2005. Although the Argentina-born forward never played for any of the so-called ‘big’ Greek clubs, he has always been a consistent performer for the likes of Ionikos, Atromitos, Asteras Tripolis and AEL, standing out with his effort on the pitch while weighing in with his fair share of important goals and assists. Incidentally, he became the first foreigner to score for seven different Greek clubs.
Perrone had high hopes of inspiring his beloved Iraklis to promotion from the Football League last season. However, the dream rapidly turned into a nightmare, as Iraklis missed out on even earning promotion to the Super League 2. In the off-season, Iraklis wanted to merge with Volos NFC which would have seen them participate in the Super League, but the latter declined the offer. Perrone picked up nine goals in the 2018/2019 Football League season.
IRAKLIS CAPTURES PERRONE’S HEART
There is something about Iraklis which Perrone cannot resist.
Perrone has seen it all at Iraklis over the course of his two seperate spells at the club. Nevertheless, the numerous scandals and financial collapses haven’t weakened Perrone’s love for Iraklis, as he continues to stick by the club in the darkest of days.
Not that long ago, Perrone had been used to playing against AEK, Olympiacos, Panathinaikos and PAOK, but now he will be competing in games with semi-professional clubs such as AS Nea Krini, Atromitos Agia Paraskevi, Doxa Toumba Thessaloniki and Ermis Michanionas in the lowest league of the official Greek football system. This truly is rock bottom. The top two in all of the separate groups are immediately promoted to the next level (EPSM Second Division), while the teams between third and sixth qualify for the playoffs. Iraklis will begin the season with a game against Ermis Michanionas on the road.
PERRONE NOT THE ONLY PLAYER TO FOLLOW IRAKLIS INTO THE ABYSS
Taianan, a Brazilian attacking midfielder, has followed Perrone’s example and decided to pen a contract with Iraklis to play for the club in the 2019/2020 season. The 32-year-old had been on Iraklis’ books twice in the past.
So far, Perrone has played in a grand total of 98 games for Iraklis, popping up with 24 goals and 14 assists, In all honesty, the Argentine could have comfortably secured a contract with at least a Football League club, but he has proven himself to be someone who considers personal principles to be more important than money. It’s also worth noting that he holds Italian citizenship too.