Holebas with Greece in 2013.
|Full name||José LIoyd Holebas|
|Date of birth||27 June 1984|
|Place of birth||Aschaffenburg, West Germany|
|Height||1.84 m (6 ft 0 in)|
|Playing position||Left back, Left midfielder|
|TSV Teutonia Obernau|
|2002–2005||SV 1910 Aschaffenburg-Damm|
|2006–2007||1860 München II||47||(12)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 30 March 2014.
† Appearances (Goals).
José LIoyd Holebas (Greek: Χοσέ Λόυντ Χολέμπας; born 27 June 1984) also known as Iosif Cholevas (Greek: Ιωσήφ Χολέβας) is a German-born Greek footballer who currently plays for Roma and the Greek national team.
Personal life and Early Career
His father, Achilles came from Trikala, Greece and has distant roots in Crete and his mother, Lowis from Uruguay. He has one daughter called Tanisha and he was married with a German woman, Diana Jüncker. In February 2014, José posed for the cover of Magazine; "Men's Health Greece" for the February issue.
José grew up and started learning football in Bavaria, Germany and grew up as a Bayern Munich supporter. His first club was local team Südring who he joined in 1991 when he was seven. José played at non-professional football clubs in German football which included playing for Südring, FC Kleinwallstadt and TSV Teutonia Obernau until 2001 when his girlfriend got pregnant and José, at age 18, decided to give it up. He had to work the double shift as a warehouse assistant in order to financially support his family’s rising expenses. A year later in 2002 with the guidance of his Uruguayan uncle, Alfonso who Holebas described as his "second father" and "who gave me the kicks I needed to get my life back on track" helped him return into playing football, This time for good. When he returned to playing football he played for local club Aschaffenburg-Damm from 2002-2005.
In 2005, José got his first break when he joined German lower league club Viktoria Kahl. He enjoyed a great personal season at the club as he scored 15 goals in 33 appearances with Viktoria Kahl, playing as a striker. That great personal season with Viktoria caught interest from 1860 München scouts who eventually became aware of his talent and hard work that he showed all season on the football pitch with Viktoria and he signed for the "Munich Lions" in the summer of 2006.
As fate would have it, the childhood Bayern supporter was now a footballer of Bayern's local rivals. In his first season he started off with 1860 München's second team in the 2006-07 season where he played 47 games and netted 12 goals and then a year later signed his first professional contract with the first team in the summer of 2007. He made his first professional appearance on 21 September 2007 at 23 years old. Holebas accumulated three years of experience in the German second tier with 1860 München, finishing 11th in 2007-08, 12th in 2008-09 and eighth in 2009-10 and scoring 7 goals in 74 appearances. It was the summer of 2009 when his coach Ewald Lienen, a radical-thinking individual even from his early days as a footballer when he wore pro-peace and anti-nuclear energy t-shirts after his game, advised the 25-year-old Holebas to stay back and play as a defending left-winger. Moirai, the three goddesses of fate in ancient Greece mythology, still had a lot of surprises to add to the thread of Holebas’ football career. Despite hating the club as a child, Holebas stated his changed opinion of the club who gave him his breakthrough in an interview, "I'll forever be grateful to 1860 Munich".
A year after he was advised to change positions, Lienen left to become the coach of Olympiakos. They were also in need of a left-back that could defend but also had the abilities and the mind frame to assist the attack from the left flank. Lienen immediately signed Holebas for €500,000 and gave him the chance to play at a top club with the potential of Champions League and Europa League football. Once he joined Olympiacos he stated in an interview; "My father is Greek, but this is only the second time that I have come back to the country. When I was first here, I was very young and do not remember many things, but I must say that I am very happy to play in my ancestral country". On the 15th of July 2010, Holebas officially made his debut for Olympiacos in a 5-0 away victory over Albanian club Besa Kavajë in the first leg of a Europa League second qualifying round tie. On the 5th of August 2010, Olympiacos got knocked out of the Europa League (2-2) on away goals by Israeli club Maccabi Tel Aviv and Lienen paid the price for it by getting sacked. Holebas was newly signed by a coach that was no longer there. He came under heavy criticism during his first months at the club, while he was struggling to find his form and having to carry the burden of being the signing of a failed coach. Four months was all he needed until he began to make a good impression while the new coach Ernesto Valverde who began to use him both as a defending and an attacking left winger, depending on the opponent. He scored his first ever goal for the club on the 20th of March 2011 in a smashing 6-0 home league win over AEK Athens F.C. which sealed the club's 38th Greek championship title. Holebas finished his 2010-2011 season by scoring 1 goal in 31 games in all competitions and winning a league championship.
On the 19th of October 2011, Holebas scored his first goal of the season by opening the scoring against German giants Borussia Dortmund in a 3-1 home victory in Matchday 3 of the Champions League group stage. On the 3rd of March 2012, Holebas scored his second goal of the season and a fantastic one to open the scoring in a 2-0 away league victory over OFI Crete. His goal against the Cretans won him the Superleague goal of the week award. On the 11th of March 2012 the next week, Holebas scored Olympiacos's second goal from the penalty spot in a 3-0 league away win over Aris Thessaloniki. Olympiacos went on to retain their league title for their second season in a row by winning their 39th Greek Championship title. On the 28th of April 2012, Holebas started and played in the Greek Cup final against Atromitos where he missed a penalty kick in the first half but Olympiacos went on to win the cup 2-1 after extra time with goals from Walter Iglesias and Rafik Djebbour at the Athens Olympic Stadium. Holebas finished his 2011-2012 season by scoring 3 goals in 35 games in all competitions and winning a league and cup double.
On the 23rd of September 2012, Holebas netted his first goal of the season by scoring Olympiacos's second goal in a 4-1 home league win over Panthrakikos. On the 7th of October 2012, Holebas scored his second goal of the season by netting Olympiacos's first and only goal of the game in a 1-0 league home win over Asteras Tripoli. The next week, Holebas scored his third goal of the season by scoring the second goal in a 4-0 home league win over Skoda Xanthi. On the 29th of September 2012, Holebas scored his fourth goal of the season by scoring Olympiacos's second goal and second equalizer in a 2-2 away league draw against Aris Thessaloniki. Olympiacos went on to retain their league title for a third season in a row by winning their 40th Greek Championship title. On the 11th of May 2013, Holebas started and played in the Greek Cup final where Olympiacos went on to retain the cup for a second season in a row with a 3-1 victory after extra time over Asteras Tripoli with goals from David Fuster, Rafik Djebbour and Djamel Abdoun at the Athens Olympic Stadium. Holebas finished his 2012-2013 season by scoring 4 goals in 40 games in all competitions and winning another league and cup double.
In the summer of 2013 there were rumours that the Greek defender would possibly be transferred from Olympiacos to Turkish club Besiktas. According to the Turkish media which reported that he had agreed to sign a deal with the Black Eagles that would later be confirmed. The Turks reportedly offered the 29-year-old defender a three-year contract, with an annual salary reaching €750,000, a big pay rise than what he was being paid with the Greeks. Eventually this deal was not fullfiled, and Holebas decided to stay in Piraeus and then signed a contract extension till 2017. On the 27th of October 2013, Holebas scored his first goal of the season by scoring Olympiacos's third goal with a wonderful free kick in a 5-1 league home win over OFI Crete. On the 18th of January 2014, Holebas scored his second goal of the season and his last ever goal for the club by netting their second goal in a 2-0 home league win over Levadiakos. Olympiacos went on to retain their league title again for a fourth season in a row by winning their 41st Greek Championship. Holebas finished his 2013-2014 season by scoring 2 goals in 29 games in all competitions and winning another League title. Holebas finished his 4 season stint with Olympiacos by scoring 10 goals in 135 games in all competitions and also by winning the Superleague Greece four times, all in a row in 2010-11, 2011–12, 2012–13 and 2013–14, the Greek Cup twice and in a row in 2011-12 and 2012–13 and participating in the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League.
On the 30th of August 2014, Holebas officially became an AS Roma player. The Romans paid a €1 million fee plus €500,000 bonuses for Holebas services. José signed a three-year contract. After being presented to the media by Roma CEO, Italo Zanzi, Holebas stated why he joined Roma in the press conference; "I had other offers, but I decided on Roma because they are a great club at a European level. Was I expecting this move? I had discussions, it was a difficult situation because I was at the World Cup, but I am happy to be here because this is a great club. My preferred position? Certainly I will do my best. I am a left-back, playing in an attacking manner. I can also play at centre-back, but the Coach will decide".
Holebas was eligible to represent Germany, Greece and Uruguay in International football. He never appeared for any of the countries at youth level. In an interview about his International ambitions with a Greek reporter, he stated; "My dream growing up was to play for Germany, but my father is Greek so I would be happy to play for Greece." In November 2011, José got Greek citizenship as "Iosef Holevas"  and on the 11th of the same month he made his debut in a friendly match against Russia and scored his first goal for the Greeks against the Republic of Ireland in November 2012 in a friendly match. In 2012, José was part of the Greece 23-man squad for the UEFA Euro 2012 finals. He was dropped for the third match due to heavy criticism that his attacking tendency was becoming hazardous to the usually solid defensive tactics of Greece. He did come on in the game for the final 30 minutes, playing admirably and assisting Greece in holding on to the 1-0 win against Russia.
Since then he has been a regular for the Greeks. Holebas exceptional season year with Olympiakos was his passport not only to be called from Greek national manager Fernando Santos to the 30 man provisional World Cup squad, but also to the final 23-man squad for 2014 FIFA World Cup where he played in each of Greece's matches.
- "Χοσέ Χολέβας: Το αγόρι με τα τατουάζ". thetoc.gr. Retrieved 30 June 2014.
- "Ένα αφιέρωμα στην απίστευτη ζωή του Χοσέ Χολέμπας". pineza.gr. 20 October 2011.
- "Holebas From Olympiacos To Besiktas?". greekreporter.com. 9 August 2013.
- "José Holebas". worldfootball.net. Retrieved 1 July 2012.
- "Official: Roma sign Holebas". football-italia.net. Retrieved 6 September 2014.
- "Ο Holebas έγινε Χολέβας!". sport24.gr. 28 October 2011.
- "World Cup 2014: Greece profile – José Holebas". theguardian.com. 20 May 2014.
- "Greece World Cup 2014 squad". telegraph.co.uk. 19 May 2014.