Friday Frappé: Party like it’s 2005 and 2008
In this week’s edition of the Friday Frappé, AGONAsport’s Peter Katsiris takes a look at how the likes of Olympiacos and Panathinaikos are hoping their recent acquisitions can relive their glory days...
Both Olympiacos and Panathinaikos appeared to have put the finishing touches on their roster this week with the arrival of new faces from the free agency market. While the ambition of both clubs appears to be very different for the 2018/2019 season, Olympiacos and Panathinaikos can certainly relate in terms of their expectations for Yaya Touré and Federico Macheda respectively.
On Sunday, Olympiacos welcomed back Touré to the port city during a 5-0 demolition of PAS Giannina at Karaiskaki. The Ivorian agreed a return to the Erythrolefki 12 years after leaving the Piraeus giants on rather controversial terms. Meddling by Touré’s agent, Dimitri Seluk, saw Touré’s initial stint with Olympiacos come to a bitter end in 2006 after a campaign that had seen Touré draw comparisons to Arsenal legend Patrick Vieira.
Having kept his promise of a return to Olympiacos, Touré is back with the club that helped to put top European clubs on notice about the Ivorian’s potential. After stints at high-profile clubs like Barcelona and Manchester City led to domestic, continental, and intercontinental silverware, Olympiacos will be hoping that Touré success since leaving the club will be contagious upon his return.
A disastrous campaign in the Super League last season sees Olympiacos hungry for a return to the summit in Greece, while the club and its supporters remain hungry for European success – something that has eluded the club in recent European campaigns. While Touré doesn’t have the same youth as he did during his first go-around in Piraeus, Olympiacos will be hoping that Touré’s lead by example approach will have an impact domestically and in the UEFA Europa League.
It’s not often that one can find similarities between Olympiacos and Panathinaikos, but much like the former is hoping for vintage performances from Touré the same can be said of Panathinaikos in terms of Macheda.
A signing that might not have been considered had Panathinaikos not been handed restrictions on the transfer market, the Trifylli have swooped for a player that once took the red half of Manchester by storm.
In fact, Panathinaikos will likely get more than they bargained for with Macheda if the Italian striker can replicate the form that led to fans of Manchester United chanting his name at Old Trafford in the spring of 2009.
Those chants came after Macheda netted goals in back-to-back appearances to kick-off his first-team career at Manchester United – both appearances coming as a second half substitute.
While it has been several years since Macheda took Manchester by storm, Panathinaikos will be hoping that a fresh start in Greece following stints in Italy, Germany, and the second-tier of English football will help to revive Macheda’s career.
The 28-year-old striker will certainly be keen to improve his goal return after just three goals for Serie B’s Novara last season – a ratio that will need to be significantly better in order to properly fill the number nine jersey Macheda will wear as the newest member of the Trifylli.