Loukas Vyntra

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Loukas Vyntra
Vyntra 2008.jpg
Vyntra with Greece in 2008
Personal information
Full name Loukas Vyntra
Date of birth (1981-02-05) 5 February 1981 (age 33)
Place of birth Město Albrechtice, Czechoslovakia
Height 1.84 m (6 ft 0 in)
Playing position Centre back
Club information
Current team
Levante
Number 6
Youth career
1998–1999 Almopos Aridaia
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1999–2004 Paniliakos 67 (4)
2000–2001 Veria (loan) 24 (0)
2004–2013 Panathinaikos 227 (10)
2013– Levante 52 (2)
National team
1997–2003 Greece U21 20 (3)
2004 Greece U23 3 (0)
2005– Greece 50 (0)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 28 September 2014 (UTC).

† Appearances (Goals).

‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 24 June 2014 (UTC)

Loukas Vyntra (Greek: Λουκάς Βύντρα; born 5 February 1981) is a Greek footballer who plays for Spanish club Levante UD and the Greek national team mainly as a central defender.

Early life[edit]

Vyntra was born in Město Albrechtice, Czechoslovakia to a Czech father and a Greek mother. Vyntra moved as a youngster to his mother’s homeland of Greece.

Club career[edit]

Paniliakos[edit]

Vyntra signed his first professional contract in 1999 in Paniliakos. He made his senior debut on loan with third division Veroia in 2000/01. Returning in Paniliakos at the end of the season, he swiftly became established in the starting 11, helping them win promotion to the Alpha Ethniki in 2002/03. Making his debut in the Greek top-flight, Vintra played in Paniliakos' first 15 games of the 2003-04 season.

Panathinaikos[edit]

Panathinaikos was quick to notice his potential and brought Vyntra to Athens in 2004. Immediately making an impact at the club, Vyntra has become a regular for Panathinaikos since his first season wearing the green-and-white. Despite his success at the club, Vyntra is occasionally scrutinized for his lack of consistency in defence. Nevertheless, Vyntra is versatile in the Panathinaikos back-line as he tends to switch between playing on the right side and the centre of defence.[1] On 29 September 2004, he made his debut to European competitions in a 1-0 away loss against PSV Eindhoven for UEFA Champions League.[2]

In the summer of 2007, Hertha BSC Berlin approached the player but Panathinaikos did not wish to sell him unless they found adequate cover.Although he is a hard working player good in tackling and marking and he is picked by all his managers for the starting XI, his lack of stability made him the target of complaints and he has received the most critisicm for Panathinaikos' recent inability to win titles. However his new manager, Henk ten Cate, has been using Vyntra mainly as a central defender for the 2008–2009 season and he offered him a lot of support helping him to build his confidence. Although the heart of the defence remained a problem for the team, Vyntra gained more respect and support from the fans. During the 2009–2010 season he was one of the key players, enjoying a particularly memorable season and helping Panathinaikos to the domestic double, reaching 50 games in European competition; also ended the campaign by appearing in all three matches for Greece at the 2010 FIFA World Cup.[3]

Vyntra has been used mainly as a defensive midfielder or right back for Panathinaikos and more recently he has moved to the centre of the defence. He also played some games as a left back in 2008. Besides his versatility, he is a quite fast defender, good in close marking and tackling.

After Panathinaikos' head coach Henk ten Cate was sacked, he gave an interview to a Greek sports website and he was asked "If you get hired by a big European club, which player from Panathinaikos F.C. would you recommend to your new club?" and his answer was "Only one: Vyntra. He can play either as a defensive midfielder and right or left back, he can also play as a centre back, he is quick, he has good aerial abilities, with a good technique for a defender, he is good in tactics. What else can a manager ask from him? He has a tough mind because he plays many years under continuous, unfair criticism". [4] Described by his critics as error-prone, Vyntra's greatest asset is his natural athleticism: he has consistently led his teammates in all fitness tests, he is indefatigable, and has never suffered a single injury.

He scored two memorable goals during the 2004/2005 Season, one against Arsenal in the UEFA Champions League and one against FC Sevilla in the UEFA Cup. He scored 2 important goals in the Greek Superleague derby against rivals PAOK Thessaloniki on 8 February 2009.[5] Two seasons later on 16 October 2010 he scored the winning goal against PAOK again, with a fantastic strike.

Levante[edit]

At the beginning of 2013, Vyntra was typically out from Panathinaikos, searching for a new professional roof. But mainly looking for a team that has fans that do not disapprove looking for scapegoats. Perhaps this is one of the reasons that seeks alternatives abroad. For this reason has asked his manager to make some contacts with foreign teams and Anderlecht arranged immediately a scouter to watch him.[6] During the 2012/13 season he signed a half year contract with the Spanish club Levante. He expanded it at the end of the season.[7] On 19 January 2014 he scored his first goal with the club in a 1-1 draw against FC Barcelona. Vyntra got Levante off to the best possible start as he headed low past Victor Valdes from Andreas Ivanschitz's cross after 10 minutes.[8][9] On 25 January 2014, Levante pulled off an unlikely 3-2 victory over a dominant Sevilla in an enthralling game at the Sanchez Pizjuan, when Vyntra levels just three minutes after going behind by heading in a corner swung in by Andreas Ivanschitz.[10] Ten days later, in the second leg of the Copa del Rey quarter-final, Levante stunned the Spanish champions by taking the lead on the night early as Vyntra rises inside the box before thumping his header into the bottom corner, but Barcelona levelled just before the 30-minute mark and eventually triumphed by 5-1 and 9-2 on aggregate.[11]

On May 4, 2014 couple of days after Atlético Madrid succeeded to reach the UEFA Champions League final, Levante took advantage of a clearly worn down Atlético side and pulled off an impressive 2-0 victory over the league leaders. It was Atléti that had two close calls as they chased the equalizer. One of them, in the 63rd minute it was Filipe Luis whose shot from just inside the box was blocked on the six-yard line by Loukas Vyntra. The Greek defender was among the key players in this victory.[12]

International career[edit]

Vyntra represented Greece at the 2004 Summer Olympics.

He made his debut with the Greece national football team on 8 June 2005 in a 1-0 home loss match against Ukraine for the qualifying 2006 FIFA World Cup. He was included in the final squad for the 2005 FIFA Confederations Cup in Germany.[13]

He represents Greece instead of his birth country; Vyntra has gone on to feature for the national team on several levels. Generally his services have been employed in the more natural right-back position, but his playing-time has only benefited through injuries to regular starters. With his occasional gaffes, Vyntra faces the same scrutiny that surrounds him at Panathinaikos. It is his tendency to perform when it matters that keeps him in the national team fold, as manager Otto Rehhagel has opted to recall Vyntra despite several self-destructive errors. Nevertheless, Vyntra is the best choice for the national team off the bench as his speed and agility remain useful for the Greece national football team.[14] Vyntra 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.[15]

Career statistics[edit]

Club Season League Cup Europe Total
Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Paniliakos 1999-00 4 0 0 0 0 0 4 0
Veria 2000–01 24 0 0 0 0 0 24 0
Paniliakos 2001–02 26 2 1 0 0 0 27 2
2002–03 29 2 1 0 0 0 30 2
2003–04 8 0 1 0 0 0 9 0
Panathinaikos
2003–04 5 0 3 0 0 0 8 0
2004–05 27 0 3 0 7 1 37 1
2005–06 23 0 1 0 6 0 30 0
2006–07 26 0 6 0 8 0 40 0
2007–08 23 0 1 0 7 0 31 0
2008–09 30 2 3 0 12 0 45 2
2009–10 24 4 5 0 13 1 42 5
2010–11 31 2 3 2 6 0 40 4
2011–12 24 0 2 1 4 0 30 1
2012–13 14 2 1 0 9 0 24 2
Levante 2012–13 15 0 0 0 0 0 15 0
2013-14 33 2 5 1 0 0 38 3
2014-15 4 0 0 0 0 0 4 0
Career Total 370 16 36 4 75 2 481 22

Honours[edit]

Panathinaikos[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Loukas Vyntra". goal.com. 
  2. ^ "Loukas Vyntra". uefa.com. 
  3. ^ "Loukas Vyntra". uefa.com. 2012-1-17. 
  4. ^ Kontos, Christos (30 May 2010). "Κεραυνοί Τεν Κάτε σε συνέντευξη στην "Κ"". Kathimerini (in Greek). Retrieved 26 January 2014. 
  5. ^ "Παναθηναϊκος-ΠΑΟΚ 3-0" (in Greek). 8/2/2009. 
  6. ^ "Ενδιαφέρον της Άντερλεχτ για Βύντρα". ysterografa.gr. 2013-01-20. 
  7. ^ "Loukas Vyntra signs contract extension at Levante". footballhellas.com. 11/07/2013. 
  8. ^ "Barcelona held by battling Levante". sports.ndtv.com. 2014-01-20. 
  9. ^ "Dogged Levante hold Barca". football-espana.net. 2014-01-20. 
  10. ^ "Sevilla FC 2-3 Levante". espnfc.com. 2014-01-26. 
  11. ^ "Barcelona 5-1 (9-2) Levante - as it happened". sportsmole.co.uk. 2014-01-29. 
  12. ^ "Levante vs. Atletico Madrid: Final score 2-0, Les Granotes knock off the league leaders". sbnation.com. 2014-05-04. 
  13. ^ "Loukas Vyntra". uefa.com. 2012-1-17. 
  14. ^ "Loukas Vyntra". goal.com. 
  15. ^ "Greece World Cup 2014 squad". telegraph.co.uk. 19 May 2014. 

External links[edit]