Lampropoulos, Simoes and Bakasetas ostracized after furious outburst
Following the Super League defeat at Panetolikos, AEK owner Dimitris Melissanidis engaged in a heated conversation with the players, ostracizing Vasilis Lampropoulos, Andre Simoes and Anastasios Bakasetas from the team.
It’s all going wrong for the reigning Greek champions. After a superb 2017/2018 season in which AEK won the Super League, reached the Last 32 of the UEFA Europa League and competed in the Greek Cup final, the Kitrinomavri have been sent crashing back down to earth with a bump. This weekend, the Athenians contrived to lose 1:2 at Panetolikos, a defeat which leaves them trailing leaders PAOK by a large 12 points after only 11 rounds. AEK are also one of two teams yet to register a single point in the UEFA Champions League.
On Sunday, a day after the miserable defeat at Panetolikos, AEK supremo Dimitris Melissanidis turned up at the Spata training centre and vented his anger at the players: “You didn’t play with soul, this is not what AEK stands for,” stated a furious Melissanidis. “From now on, only players which display passion will play in matches. You have to deserve your place on the pitch. Ouzounidis is your coach until the summer!”
“If you do not want to play for this team anymore, tell me,” continued the 67-year old. “For Simoes, Lampropoulos and Bakasetas, who have not agreed to sign a new contract, we will search for options to allow them to leave in January.”
In his press-conference ahead of the upcoming Champions League game against Ajax, head coach Marinos Ouzounidis practically confirmed that the trio won’t be a part of his team anymore: “These guys have helped the team a lot, but since we talked and couldn’t reach an agreement, it’s probably best for the club to make a decision.”
Lampropoulos, Simoes and Bakasetas were duly left out of the squad to play Ajax on Tuesday evening at the Olympic Stadium in Athens.
Unless Lampropoulos, Simoes and Bakasetas all suddenly decide to pen a new deal with AEK, they will not play for the capital club again. Their contracts with the Enosis are due to expire after the 2018/2019 season reaches its completion and they haven’t been willing to commit their futures to the Athenian club. Last season, a similar situation developed with goalkeeper Giannis Anestis, who was subsequently ostracized from the team after refusing to extend his contract.
In a separate conversation, Melissanidis reportedly talked to Petros Mantalos, Marko Livaja and Vasilis Barkas and made his anger known for a second time. However, while Mantalos, Livaja and Barkas continue playing in the first team, it’s highly likely the Panetolikos match was the last time we saw Lampropoulos, Simoes and Bakasetas competing in the AEK jersey.
So far, Lampropoulos, Simoes and Bakasetas have been crucial figures for AEK this season, and their absence makes Ouzounidis’ life even tougher with a thinner squad now at his disposal. The team languish in seventh place of the Super League and in fourth spot of Group E in the Champions League.