Papadopoulos training at Schalke 04 in 2010
|Full name||Kyriakos Papadopoulos|
|Date of birth||23 February 1992|
|Place of birth||Katerini, Greece|
|Height||1.83 m (6 ft 0 in)|
|Playing position||Centre back|
|Current club||Schalke 04|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 1 March 2014.
† Appearances (Goals).
Style of Play
Papadopoulos is the type of defender that everyone dreads going toe-to-toe with. His domineering presence at the back is largely due to his beefy head and his no nonsense style of play, but he is also surprisingly nimble with the ball at his feet as shown by his pass success. He has remarkable positional sense for someone who has only just turned 21, and his impeccable timing and decision making abilities are two substantial reasons why he is so highly sought after. From his 37 attempted tackles in the German topflight in the 2011–12 season he was successful in 36.
Born in Katerini, Papadopoulos was signed from hometown club Svoronos Katerinis by Olympiacos in July 2007. He immediately featured in several of Olympiacos' pre-season friendlies, three league games, and three Greek Cup games.
In the summer of 2007, Papadopoulos was invited on trial to train with the RCD Espanyol youth team during the pre-season, with a view to giving the player a role in the team. Papadopoulos, however, performed well enough for the club's management staff to fast-track him, promoting him to the reserve team, and then once more to the first team, offering him a contract immediately.
Olympiacos scouts were also aware of the prodigy's talents, however, and the former manager of Olympiacos, George Louvaris, was quick to secure a deal with Papadopoulos' father Nikos, thus bringing him to Piraeus.
The 2007–08 season was promising for Papadopoulos. He made his competitive debut for Olympiacos in the Greek Superleague as a substitute during a 3–1 win over Atromitos on 2 December 2007, thus becoming the youngest player to ever play in the Greek league at the age of 15 years and 283 days. He also made the substitutes bench in the UEFA Champions League against Real Madrid and S.S. Lazio, and featured in several Greek Cup games. If Papadopoulos had featured in any Champions League games, he would have broken the record for the youngest player to ever compete in the competition by nearly two years.
In September 2008, Papadopoulos signed a new contract with Olympiacos, which included a £4.6 million release clause, over three years. On 2 November 2008, Papadopoulos made his first league appearance of the 2008–09 season for Olympiacos at home to Ergotelis in a 2–0 home win.
On 23 June 2010, German club Schalke 04 announced that they had signed Papadopoulos on a four-year deal, keeping him until 2014. On 21 August 2010, Papadopoulos made his Bundesliga debut for the club in a 2–1 loss against Hamburger SV. On 25 August 2011, in the qualification round of the UEFA Europa League, he scored his first goal for Schalke in a 6–1 win over HJK Helsinki. On 1 December, in a game of the Group Stage of Europa League, Papadopoulos scored the opening goal in a 2–1 win over Steaua București. On 17 December, Papadopoulos scored his first goal in the Bundesliga in a 5–0 win over SV Werder Bremen and scored the next game on 21 January 2012 in a 3–1 win over VfB Stuttgart. Since joining Schalke from Olympiacos, Papadopoulos has played in over 70 matches in all competitions, scoring five goals and has ultimately gathered respect and praise from all over Europe due to his tenacious and skillful defending considering his young age.
Ahead of the 2012–13 season, Italian club A.C. Milan were interested in signing Papadopoulos after the shocking departure of Thiago Silva to French side Paris Saint-Germain. After showing interest, Schalke accused Milan of making an illegal approach for Papadopoulos without the club knowing. Also interested were Russian giants Zenit Saint Petersburg, but when their £16 million bid for Papadopoulos was accepted by Schalke, Papadopoulos rejected the move, opting to stay in Germany. In September 2012, Papadopoulos signed a new contract with Schalke 04 that will keep him at the club until 2016. On match-day two of the 2012–13 season, Papadopoulos scored his first goal of the season and his third in the Bundesliga in a 3–1 win over FC Augsburg. The start of the 2012–13 season went well for the bullish defender and he opened his season account in Schalke’s first home game of the season – a 3-1 victory over Augsburg. However, after a virus kept him out for a number of games Papadopoulos was then forced to go under the knife in attempts to correct his knee injury which he picked up in a 3-1 loss away at Hamburg in November 2012. He returned almost a year later (December 2013) in a home game against SC Freiburg.
Papadopoulos was called for duty for the under-19 Greek national team to participate in the Elite round of the 2007 UEFA European Under-19 Football Championship. He participated in all three group games against Moldova, Netherlands, and Russia, helping Greece finish top and qualify for the finals.
Papadopoulos featured at the heart of the Greek defence in the finals tournament and was partners with teammate Konstantinos Lambropoulos. He was instrumental in keeping a clean sheet against the Czech Republic, as well as good performances against England and Italy. His performances attracted attention from scouts of elite teams such as Manchester United, Arsenal, and Chelsea.
The teams were impressed with the defender's maturity in a competition in which he was the youngest player by 13 months. Despite being the youngest player in the tournament, he was also one of the 10 most talented players in Europe as considered by UEFA in their UEFA Under-19 Team of the Tournament.
Senior Greek national team manager Otto Rehhagel is also said to have been impressed with the youngster's performances, and has met with EPO officials to talk about moving Papadopoulos to the senior national squad.
Having finished an excellent year with Schalke 04, on 4 June 2011, the new head coach of the Greek national football team, Fernando Santos, called him up for the first time to the senior squad in a match against Malta. Due to an Avraam Papadopoulos injury and Sokratis Papastathopoulos' inability to play, he took their place in the squad in the centre of defence next to Vangelis Moras. Not only did he have an excellent game, but he also scored the second goal of his team. On 6 September 2011, he scored his second international goal against Latvia in UEFA Euro 2012 qualification.
|1.||4 June 2011||Karaiskakis Stadium, Piraeus, Greece||Malta||2–0||3–1||UEFA Euro 2012 qualifying|
|2.||6 September 2011||Skonto Stadium, Riga, Latvia||Latvia||1–1||1–1||UEFA Euro 2012 qualifying|
|3.||31 May 2012||Kufstein Arena, Kufstein, Austria||Armenia||0–1||0–1||Friendly|
|4.||15 August 2012||Ullevaal Stadion, Oslo Norway||Norway||0–2||2–3||Friendly|
- A. ^ Includes appearances in the Greek Cup and DFB-Pokal.
- B. ^ Includes appearances in the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League.
- C. ^ Includes appearances in the Superleague Greece play-offs and DFL-Supercup.
|Greece national team|
- Youngest ever player to play in the Greek League at 15 years and 283 days.
- UEFA U19 Team of the Tournament
- Superleague Greece (3): 2007–08, 2008–09, 2009–10
- Greek Cup (2): 2007–08, 2008–09
- Greek Super Cup (1): 2007
- Schalke 04
- "Kyriakos Papadopoulos" (in German). FC Schalke 04. Retrieved 5 August 2012.
- "Atromitos 1 - 3 Olympiakos". ESPN Soccernet. 2 December 2007. Retrieved 8 December 2007.
- "Are Liverpool prepared for the crazy world of Kyriakos Papadopoulos?". The Guardian. 4 June 2013. Retrieved 5 June 203.
- "Papadopoulos joins Schalke". Sky Sports. 24 June 2010. Retrieved 22 July 2012.
- "Kyriakos Papadopoulos wechselt zu den Knappen" (in German). FC Schalke 04. 23 June 2010. Retrieved 5 August 2012.
- "Schalke accuse AC Milan of illegal approach for Papadopoulos". Goal.com. 18 July 2012. Retrieved 22 July 2012.
- "Papadopoulos rejects Zenit". Sky Sports. 31 August 2012. Retrieved 20 October 2012.
- "Manchester United target signs new Schalke deal". TalkSport. 28 September 2012. Retrieved 20 October 2012.
- "Greek starlet in demand". Sky Sports. 23 July 2008. Retrieved 5 August 2012.
- "UEFA European U-19 Championship". UEFA.com.[dead link]
- "ΟΛΥΜΠΙΑΚΟΣ >> Τους τρέλλανε όλους ο μικρός" (in Greek). DayNews.gr.[dead link]
- "Kyriakos Papadopoulos". National Football Teams. Retrieved 24 June 2012.
- "Kyriakos Papadopoulos statistics". ZeroZero. Retrieved 24 June 2012.
- "Kyriakos Papadopoulos statistics". Soccerway. Retrieved 24 June 2012.
- "Kyriakos Papadopoulos statistics". Guardian.co.uk. Retrieved 24 June 2012.
- Kyriakos Papadopoulos at Schalke 04 website
- Kyriakos Papadopoulos at Transfermarkt.co.uk
- Kyriakos Papadopoulos at fussballdaten.de (German)
- Kyriakos Papadopoulos – FIFA competition record
- Kyriakos Papadopoulos – UEFA competition record
- ESPN FC profile