Demis Nikolaidis

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Demis Nikolaidis
Personal information
Full name Themistoklis Nikolaidis
Date of birth (1973-09-17) 17 September 1973 (age 40)
Place of birth Gießen, West Germany
Height 1.74 m (5 ft 9 in)[1]
Playing position Striker
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1992–1993 Ethnikos Alexandroupolis 39 (14)
1994–1996 Apollon Smyrnis 80 (38)
1996–2003 AEK Athens 189 (125)
2003–2004 Atlético Madrid 22 (6)
Total 330 (183)
National team
1995–2004 Greece 54 (17)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
† Appearances (Goals).

Themistoklis "Demis" Nikolaidis (Greek: Θεμιστοκλής "Ντέμης" Νικολαΐδης) (born on 17 September 1973 in Gießen, West Germany) was the forty second president of AEK Athens F.C., and is considered one of the finest footballers Greece has ever produced. In his early childhood and teenage years he lived in the city of Alexandroupoli, in the north-east part of Greece. In a sterling career with Ethnikos Alexandroupolis, Apollon Smyrnis, AEK Athens FC and Atlético Madrid, Nikolaidis earned his reputation as a "born goalscorer", scoring prolifically for club and country. His power, pace and skill on the ball have been widely praised but it was his work-ethic and enthusiasm, perhaps, that propelled him to his exalted status among Greek footballers.

Club career[edit]

AEK Athens[edit]

In his teenage years he played for Ethnikos Alexandroupolis, the local team of his hometown. The scouts of several teams had seen his progress from these years, earning him a move to Athens. He made his professional debut at the age of 20 at Apollon Smyrnis. His fine performances sparked a bidding war between Panathinaikos and Olympiacos, and the striker's childhood favorite AEK Athens, with Demis refusing to join Olympiakos and forced his club president to sell him to AEK. At AEK, Nikolaidis linked up with some of the great Greek players of his generation, including Vassilis Tsiartas, Theodoros Zagorakis, Michalis Kapsis, Grigoris Georgatos, Traianos Dellas, Vassilis Lakis. With his new side, Nikolaidis excelled, scoring on his debut against Ionikos. During his time with AEK, Demis managed to win three Greek cups and the 1996 Super Cup, he was the topscorer in the 1999 Greek league and second scorer in the 2001 UEFA Cup (1 goal behind topscorer Dimitar Berbatov). He is the top scorer for Greek teams in European competitions having scored 26 goals in 51 games. He has scored five goals in a match twice and he is the only Greek player to have scored 4 goals in a European match. Having scored a total of 21 goal in the UEFA Cup he is one of the competition's all-time topscorers. At AEK he scored an impressive 190 goals in 266 games(including European, cup and domestic league games) making him the fourth highest goalscorer for the club and a legend amongst the fans. On 24 March 2002, the International Committee for Fair Play awarded him with the Fair Play Award, an honorary diploma for his conduct in the Greek Cup Final on 8 May 2000, between the teams of AEK Athens and Ionikos, when Nikolaidis informed the referee he had used his hand to score a goal that had been allowed as valid.

Atlético Madrid[edit]

Although he failed to win the league in his time at AEK, Nikolaidis became arguably one of the most beloved players in the club's history. But after quarrelling with owner Makis Psomiadis, later indicted for forgery, and allegedly being assaulted by his bodyguards, Nikolaidis decided the time had come to leave AEK after the 2002–03 season. He asked and left the team in a mutual consent free transfer, although he was already paid for the rest of his contract. Atlético Madrid beat off several other clubs to land the striker's coveted signature, seen that his number 11 was taken, he wore the number 21 as a tribute to AEK and the Original 21 fan club. Nikolaidis' first months at the Vicente Calderón Stadium were a tremendous success, he scored six goals and formed a fearsome attacking pair with teenage sensation Fernando Torres. However, a series of serious injuries kept him out of the first team for nearly the rest of the season and severely affecting his chances of getting picked for Euro 2004. Although Atletico wanted to keep him to the roster of the team, Nikolaidis decided to retire from professional football.

International career[edit]

Demis made his debut for the Greek national football team on 26 April 1995 against Russia, Demis became the Greek national team's main source of goals. In 1999, however, along with Michalis Kasapis and Ilias Atmatsidis, Nikolaidis retired from the national team, protesting for injustice in the Greek League, Two years later, after the disappointing tenure of coach Vasilis Daniil was brought to an end following a particularly horrendous series of results, he returned to the international fold. In his first game back, Nikolaidis scored in Greece's 2-2 away draw to England during the 2002 World Cup qualifiers. New coach Otto Rehhagel focused his offense around the quick striker and was rewarded with direct qualification to the Greek team to represent Greece at Euro 2004. Even though struggling with injury, Rehhagel nevertheless included him in his Euro 2004 squad. Greece's new strike force, Zisis Vryzas and Angelos Charisteas, played well enough but Nikolaidis still figured consistently in the team, coming off the bench in all three group games before starting against France, and leading Greece to a tremendous shock victory. After that fine performance, however, Nikolaidis succumbed to a serious injury and did not even dress for Greece's last two games. He amassed 54 caps, netting 17 times for the national team and is amongst the top 6 goalscorers ever for Greece. Without a doubt, he accomplished much during his international career but there are some who wonder if his contribution could have been greater had an injury and a poor run of luck not conspired against him.

Chairman of AEK Athens[edit]

With AEK struggling terribly in the wake of Psomiadis' corruption and the prospect of relegation to the fourth division looming, Nikolaidis retired at the relatively young age of 31. His next move, supported by all AEK fans, was to establish a consortium of businessmen and purchase AEK on 27 May 2004,[2] as he had always dreamed. Becoming the club's president, Nikolaidis set a goal that he would remove all debts that AEK owed and make them a force in Europe in the space of 5 years. Himself and technical director Ilija Ivic, a former teammate, made several clever signings and fought ferociously for the league title, finishing third when many had expected a mid-table performance. In his second year as president, after signing two promising Greece Under-21 players, as well as adding former star Vasilis Lakis, Ukrainian international striker Oleg Venglinskyi and one time Inter centre back Bruno Cirillo, AEK achieved UEFA Champions League qualification. Apart from the improvement of the economic standards and the athletic performance of AEK, Nikolaidis was determined to decrease the hooligan actions in football, and called on the league to do more to reduce violence.[3]

On 2 November 2008, Demis decided that he would quit as chairman of AEK after continuously poor results, stating that he had not achieved his goal in the 5 years plan. One of the reasons according to Nikolaidis for quitting was that the team didn't sell 30,000 season tickets; he stated "If I had managed to convince the AEK supporters to come to the stadium then I would not be leaving. In my mind we need 30,000 to become a big team". In 2008, AEK gained the most points in the championship, but lost it because of CAS. Next season a lot of changes were made, like Rivaldo and Lyberopoulos, resulting in a bad start of the team. During Nikolaidis's presidency, AEK had their first wins in Champions' League and due to the players sold in other teams (like Katsouranis, Papastathopoulos, Tozser, Kyrgiakos etc.) the club had a profit of 16,000,000 euros.

Statistics[edit]

Club[edit]

Club performance League Cup Continental Total
Season Club League Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Greece League Greek Cup Europe Total
1992–93 Ethnikos Alexandroupolis 30 7 0 0 0 0 30 7
1993–94 9 7 1 0 0 0 10 7
1993–94 Apollon Smyrnis Alpha Ethniki 18 5 0 0 0 0 18 5
1994–95 33 17 2 1 0 0 35 18
1995–96 29 16 2 0 1 0 32 16
1996–97 AEK Athens 31 19 3 1 6 1 40 21
1997–98 26 19 2 1 5 2 33 22
1998–99 29 22 0 0 4 6 33 28
1999–00 32 22 8 11 8 3 48 36
2000–01 25 15 3 4 8 6 36 25
2001–02 24 16 7 6 8 5 39 27
2002–03 22 12 2 1 12 3 36 16
Spain League Copa del Rey Europe Total
2003–04 Atlético Madrid La Liga 22 6 1 0 0 0 23 6
Total Greece 308 177 30 25 52 26 390 228
Spain 22 6 1 0 0 0 23 6
Career total 330 183 31 25 52 26 413 234

Last updated: 2009-08-31
Source: Demis Nikolaidis at National-Football-Teams.com

International[edit]

Greece national team
Year Apps Goals
1995 04 02
1996 09 06
1997 07 00
1998 02 00
1999 08 03
2001 03 03
2002 08 03
2003 07 00
2004 06 00
Total 54 17

Last updated: 2010-3-03
Source: Demis Nikolaidis at National-Football-Teams.com

Demis Nikolaidis: International goals
Goal Date Venue Opponent Score Result Competition
1 1995–06–11 Helsinki Olympic Stadium, Helsinki, Finland  Finland 0–1 2–1 1996 UEQ
2 1995–11–15 Theodoros Vardinogiannis Stadium, Heraklion, Greece  Faroe Islands 2–0 5–0 1996 UEQ
3 1996–04–24 Athens Olympic Sports Complex, Athens, Greece  Slovenia 2–0 2–0 1998 WCQ
4 1996–05–08 Zosimades Stadium, Ioannina, Greece  Georgia 1–0 2–0 Friendly
5 1996–05–08 Zosimades Stadium, Ioannina, Greece  Georgia 2–0 2–0 Friendly
6 1996–08–14 Athens Olympic Sports Complex, Athens, Greece  Albania 1–0 2–1 Friendly
7 1996–09–01 Kalamata Metropolitan Stadium, Kalamata, Greece  Bosnia and Herzegovina 3–0 3–0 1998 WCQ
8 1996–11–10 Stadion Maksimir, Zagreb, Croatia  Croatia 0–1 1–1 1998 WCQ
9 1999–02–03 GSZ Stadium, Larnaca, Cyprus  Finland 1–1 2–1 Friendly
10 1999–03–10 Athens Olympic Sports Complex, Athens, Greece  Croatia 3–2 3–2 Friendly
11 1999–10–09 Ljudski vrt, Maribor, Slovenia  Slovenia 0–3 0–3 2000 UEQ
12 2001–10–06 Old Trafford, Manchester, England  England 1–2 2–2 2002 WCQ
13 2001–11–10 Nikos Goumas Stadium, Athens, Greece  Estonia 1–0 4–2 Friendly
14 2001–11–10 Nikos Goumas Stadium, Athens, Greece  Estonia 2–0 4–2 Friendly
15 2002–05–12 Alexandroupoli, Greece  Romania 1–0 3–2 Unofficial Friendly[4]
16 2002–10–16 Apostolos Nikolaidis Stadium, Athens, Greece  Armenia 1–0 2–0 2004 UEQ
17 2002–10–16 Apostolos Nikolaidis Stadium, Athens, Greece  Armenia 2–0 2–0 2004 UEQ

Honours[edit]

AEK Athens
1996
1997, 2000, 2002
Greece
2004
Individual
1995
1997, 1998, 2002
1999
2002[5]

Personal life[edit]

Demis is married to one of the most successful Greek singers Despina Vandi who was also born in Germany and grew up in Greece. They have a daughter called Melina(2004), and a son called Giorgos(2007). A Discovery Channel documentary entitled Europe's Richest People estimated Nikolaidis and Vandi's combined fortune to be in excess of €30 million euros in 2009.[citation needed]

Records[edit]

  • He is the second Greek goalscorer in European competitions scoring a total of 26 goals.
  • He is one of the few player who have scored five goals in a single Greek Super League game. He did so in AEK Athens' 6-1 win against Kalamata during the 1996–97 season.
  • He scored Greece's 500th goal on 6 October 2001 in a match against England.

References[edit]

Sporting positions
Preceded by
Ioannis Granitsas
Chairman of AEK Athens
2004–2008
Succeeded by
Giorgos Kintis
Preceded by
Stratos Apostolakis
Greece captain
1998-1999
Succeeded by
Nikos Machlas