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‘The Greeks built this city’

The Greek community in Melbourne is huge – it’s half a million. Actually I think they built this city, you know? So I’m very happy to be here and every day meet Greek people and talk to them.


Sometimes me and my fiancée, we feel like we are in Greece, and this is very good for us, a positive way to live with them. We are very proud that the Greek community has such a big impact in Melbourne.


We live in South Yarra and try to go to a lot of restaurants with different cuisines, we want to try every day something new.


Melbourne is perfect, except for the weather, which could be better. There have been days where the temperature has been above 40 degrees!


The weather in Greece is better; more stable and consistent. There are many, many islands we like to go to, and the weather is good for six, seven months of the year.


When I was younger I would go to Mykonos, but there are so many that are wonderful, like Milos and Paros, and it’s nice because every year you can change and see something different.




‘A magical moment for Greece’

I was 17 years old and playing in France when Greece won Euro 2004. I remember when the team came back to Greece, I went to the centre of Athens and celebrated with 200,000 people all over the roads.


It was a magical moment for Greece.


One year later, I had teammates – two players – who had played in this national team. I was a teenager celebrating, and the next year I was alongside them in the first XI every game. Imagine how I felt, you know? It was like a motivation for me.




When Rivaldo came to town

The first year I was at AEK Athens I was 18 years old and I had the No.10 jersey. We were a very good side. We won the championship and so we were playing in the Champions League, against very good European teams.


The next year Rivaldo came to the team. The first time he came into the dressing room, I went to him and I gave him my No.10 jersey.


I said to him, ‘For respect, I give this to you – I cannot be with you in the same team and wear the No.10’. He respected that a lot. He was a great footballer. 




World Cup dreams dashed

The 2014 World Cup is a very sad moment of my life because I was injured in the game against Ivory Coast, and I did not play against Costa Rica in the second round.


We were the much better side, we had lots of opportunities, but we lost on penalties. Can you imagine?


The next game I was ready to play. I had only a small strain in my hamstring; four, five days. I spoke with our coach, Fernando Santos, and he told me, ‘I think we win this match and then you will be ready for the next one’.


We had a very good team and we would have played Holland in the quarter-finals. We had a positive mind and we thought we could go far. 




‘We didn’t come here for a holiday’

Can we win the title in our first season? I’m not a person who likes to talk too much about these things.


I know we have a good team. We have good players. We work hard every day. We have a coach who is organised in every detail and a big motivator. So we will give our best.


We have experienced players who did not come here for a holiday. We want to play the best football that we can. But there are three, four other teams that are very good. They are more experienced with Australian football.


So our target is to go to the playoffs – this is for sure. After that, it is like a casino. It is just one game or two games, you don’t know what will happen. The best team does not always win the grand final.


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