Lykogiannis becomes fourth Olympiacos youth product to play in Serie A
24-year old defender Charalambos Lykogiannis recently signed for Serie A outfit Cagliari, becoming the next to progress from the Olympiacos academy to Italy’s top flight. AGONAsport takes a brief look at his journey, and who else come through the Thrylos system to play in the Italian first division.
As previously reported on AGONAsport, Lykogiannis signed for Cagliari on a 4.5 year contract from Austrian club Sturm Graz in January. The Greek starred during his two-year spell with Sturm, improving each season and even being named as the Austrian Bundesliga’s best left-back of the 2016/2017 campaign. Possessing the ability to play further forward on the left flank, Lykogiannis struck six goals in 71 league appearances with Sturm, becoming an integral part of the team’s set-up.
His superb form deservedly attracted attention from Greek national team head coach Michael Skibbe, who gave the defender an international debut during the 1:2 home defeat to Belgium in Piraeus. The port city is a special place for Lykogiannis, especially given that he came through the successful Olympiacos academy. He made an impression with several Olympiacos youth teams, winning three championship titles at U17 and U20 level. Eventually, Lykogiannis progressed to the senior side, where he made a handful of appearances after signing his first professional contract in 2011. Lykogiannis endured two loans at Levadiakos and Ergotelis, before joining Sturm Graz in July 2015. Given his brilliant performances in Austria, Lykogiannis is expected to develop further in Serie A.
Lykogiannis follows in the footsteps of three other Olympiacos products who later transferred to Serie A. Goalkeeper Dimitrios Eleftheropoulos was the first, spending time on Messina’s, Milan’s, Roma’s, Ascoli’s and Siena’s books in Italy after playing for Olympiacos between 1994 and 2004. Next was popular AEK Athens figure Panagiotis Kone, a midfielder who emerged from the Olympiacos academy but never played a match for the first team. Kone spent time with Lens, AEK and Iraklis, then going on to enjoy a solid career in Italy with Brescia, Bologna, Udinese and Fiorentina.
The third is talented 27-year old attacking midfielder Giannis Fetfatzidis. He started his footballing journey with the Olympiacos academy in Piraeus, becoming one of the team’s key players in the Super League when playing for the club until 2013. Fetfatzidis took the jump to Serie A, putting pen to paper on a deal with Genoa. However, despite later receiving a loan chance at Chievo Verona, he failed to make his mark and now plays his football in Saudi Arabia. Lykogiannis will be hoping that his story doesn’t follow the route that Fetfatzidis took.