Nikos Liberopoulos

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Nikos Liberopoulos
Liberopoulos.JPG
Liberopoulos in 2012
Personal information
Full name Nikolaos Liberopoulos
Date of birth (1975-08-04) 4 August 1975 (age 39)
Place of birth Filiatra, Greece
Height 1.87 m (6 ft 2 in)
Playing position Striker / Attacking midfielder
Club information
Current team
AEK Athens (Technical Director)
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1991–1994 Erani Filiatrion 53 (33)
1994–1996 Kalamata 78 (20)
1996–2003 Panathinaikos 186 (72)
2003–2008 AEK Athens 141 (67)
2008–2010 Eintracht Frankfurt 50 (10)
2010–2012 AEK Athens 53 (17)
Total 561 (219)
National team
1996–2012 Greece 76 (13)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 20 May 2012.

† Appearances (Goals).

‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 20:18, 22 June 2012 (UTC)

Nikolaos "Nikos" Liberopoulos (Greek: Νίκος Λυμπερόπουλος; born on 4 August 1975) is a retired Greek international footballer who played as a striker. He is famous for his aim-to-goal shot, his innate in-play instincts, and his technical attacking skills. Liberopoulos is a unique player in Greek domestic football, as he is equally adored by fans of both AEK Athens and Panathinaikos. Due to the tense rivalry between the Greek clubs, this happens very rarely. He is the only player to be recorded in the top ten scorers of all time for both these teams. Indeed, after seven seasons at Panathinaikos Liberopoulos scored 103 goals. On 10 May 2012, he reached a milestone 100 goals for AEK Athens after a brace against Atromitos, making him the only player in history to score a century of goals for both Athens clubs.

Club career[edit]

He is one of the most popular footballers to come out of Peloponnesus. Liberopoulos started off his career with Erani Filiatron, he then moved to Kalamata F.C. in 1994. After an impressive debut season in Greece's top division, AEK Athens and Olympiakos F.C. tried to sign him during the summer of 1996 yet Panathinaikos managed to snap him up.

Panathinaikos F.C.[edit]

In summer 1996, he signed for Panathinaikos. With them he reached the semi-final stage of the UEFA Champions League. Italian clubs, mainly Juventus and Hellas Verona showed interest in hiring him, but his loyalty to Panathinaikos kept him in Athens. In 2003, Liberopoulos clashed with Panathinaikos' board which eventually led to him leaving the club.

AEK Athens[edit]

Following his departure from Panathinaikos he was ready to join Sochaux but he finally chose his childhood club AEK Athens where he became a formidable offensive player and inspirational leader. He went to score several times against his former team but never celebrated earning the fans' applause and a standing ovation for his action. He helped AEK Athens scoring 79 times in his 195 appearances and earning a top scorer award during the 2006–07 season. His most important goals originated from two long range shots, the one against Lille OSC (AEK Athens won 1–0) and the other against Olympiakos F.C. (AEK Athens won 4–0). During June 2007, Liberopoulos was offered a lucrative contract with 1. FC Nuremberg worth 4 million euros, which he declined to remain with AEK Athens. Club president Demis Nikolaidis had publicly announced his intent to retain Lymperopoulos at all costs in an effort to bolster AEK Athens' chances at achieving dominance in the Greek Super League. On 7 July 2008, Liberopoulos was released by AEK.[1] German team Eintracht Frankfurt announced his signing on 13 July 2008.

Eintracht Frankfurt[edit]

Liberopoulos signed a two-year deal and received the number 10 shirt. He made his German Bundesliga debut for Eintracht Frankfurt, playing the full 90 minutes against Hertha BSC on 17 August 2008 at the Commerzbank-Arena in Frankfurt. Liberopoulos scored his first goal against Mainz 05. He won 55 caps scoring 13 goals in all competitions.

AEK Athens[edit]

Liberopoulos again signed for AEK Athens in the summer of 2010 and put in an impressive display in AEK's 5–3 win against Australian A-League club Sydney FC on 25 July 2010, scoring one goal and setting up two others. Liberopoulos also scored against Blackburn three days later. He made his Superleague Greece debut against Kerkyra and scored his first official goal in a UEFA Europa League match against Hajduk Split. On 19 January 2010, in a Greek Cup match against Panathinaikos he scored two goals leading his team to victory. Liberopoulos was applauded during his substitution later in that game by some of Panathinaikos' fans despite their team's defeat. After the match Liberopoulos said "I have spent seven nice years in Panathinaikos in which I matured as a player. I keep only the positive things, but now for me AEK is my family and I will do everything for the team." and about the Panathinaikos' fans ovation "It means a lot to me. It's a great feeling to be applauded during your substitution. There were some hoots also but even if the whole stadium was hooting at me that would not have changed what I have said earlier about my feelings for Panathinaikos".[2] On 30 May 11, Liberopulos won his first trophy in his career with AEK winning the Greek Cup 2010–11 against Atromitos 0–3 while also scoring the first goal and was awarded MVP of the match.

On 16 June 2011, Liberopoulos signed a new one-year deal keeping him at the club until 2012.[3] Also, his teammate Traianos Dellas decided to stay for one year in AEK in order to stop his professional career with his best friend, Nikos Liberopoulos.

On 20 May 2012, he had his last match with AEK against Panathinaikos. A lot of Panathinaikos fans and AEK fans respected him by pay him a visit when he was exiting the stadium.

International career[edit]

Liberopoulos appeared 76 times in total for Greece scoring 13 goals in the process. His most notable performance in the Euro 2008 qualifiers to date was a last-second goal five minutes into stoppage time to grant Greece a 2–1 victory over Moldova on 6 June 2007, which placed Greece at the top of their qualifying division. Liberopoulos has been known on the international scene as a "super sub", coming off the bench many times in the final quarter of games and scoring the decisive goal.

He was a member of the 23-man squad formed by coach Otto Rehhagel for UEFA Euro 2008, but was surprisingly out of favour for UEFA Euro 2004.

On 11 September 2009, Liberopoulos announced his retirement from international football,[4] But he returned to the national squad about a year later when he was recalled by the new coach Fernando Santos.

He was also called for UEFA Euro 2012 by the coach Fernando Santos. Liberopoulos announced his retirement from international football after Greece lost to German 4–2 in the Euro 2012 quarter finals on 22 June 2012.[5]

Records[edit]

  • He had a total 88 appearances in European competitions which was a record for a Greek striker, till the end of his career.
Club UCL UEL Total
Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Panathinaikos 33 6 15 5 48 11
AEK Athens 16 3 24 3 40 06
Total 49 9 39 8 88 17

Last updated: May 2012
Source: uefa.com

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
1991–94 Erani Filiatron Delta Ethniki 53 33 - - - - 53 33
Kalamata Beta Ethniki 21 5 2 0 0 0 23 5
1994–95 27 4 4 2 0 0 31 6
1995–96 Alpha Ethniki 30 11 4 2 0 0 34 13
1996–97 Panathinaikos 32 7 6 2 0 0 38 9
1997–98 27 2 4 1 0 0 31 3
1998–99 31 13 5 2 0 0 36 15
1999–00 26 23 4 3 0 0 30 26
2000–01 26 11 6 3 7 0 39 14
2001–02 17 0 3 1 8 1 28 2
2002–03 27 16 4 2 1 0 32 18
2003–04 AEK Athens 27 13 7 3 6 1 40 17
2004–05 28 9 9 3 6 1 43 13
2005–06 27 14 5 2 2 0 34 16
2006–07 Super League 29 18 1 0 9 2 39 20
2007–08 30 13 1 0 8 0 39 13
Germany League DFB-Pokal Europe Total
2008–09 Eintracht Frankfurt Bundesliga 29 9 2 1 0 0 31 10
2009–10 21 1 3 2 0 0 24 3
Greece League Greek Cup Europe Total
2010–11 AEK Athens Super League 23 7 6 3 5 2 34 12
2011–12 30 10 1 0 4 0 35 10
Total Greece 511 209 72 29 88 17 671 255
Germany 50 10 5 3 0 0 55 13
Career total 561 219 77 32 88 17 726 268

International[edit]

Greece national team
Year Apps Goals
1996 03 00
1998 03 01
1999 14 04
2000 09 02
2001 07 01
2002 02 00
2003 01 00
2005 04 01
2006 05 01
2007 07 02
2008 10 01
2009 02 00
2011 07 00
2012 02 00
Total 76 13

Last updated: 22 June 2012
Source: Nikos Liberopoulos at National-Football-Teams.com

Nikos Liberopoulos: International goals
Goal Date Venue Opponent Score Result Competition
01 14 October 1998 Athens Olympic Sports Complex, Athens, Greece  Georgia 2–0 3–0 2000 UEQ
02 18 August 1999 Kavala Stadium, Kavala, Greece  El Salvador 1–0 3–1 Friendly
03 18 August 1999 Kavala Stadium, Kavala, Greece  El Salvador 2–1 3–1 Friendly
04 20 August 1999 Kavala Stadium, Kavala, Greece  El Salvador 2–0 3–0 Friendly
05 18 December 1999 Trikala Stadium, Trikala, Greece  Estonia 2–2 2–2 Friendly
06 3 June 2000 Stadionul Steaua, Bucharest, Romania  Romania 2–1 2–1 Friendly
07 7 October 2000 Athens Olympic Sports Complex, Athens, Greece  Finland 1–0 1–0 2002 WCQ
08 14 November 2001 Athens, Greece  Cyprus 1–1 1–2 Friendly
09 7 September 2005 Almaty Central Stadium, Almaty, Kazakhstan  Kazakhstan 1–2 1–2 2006 WCQ
10 2 September 2006 Zimbru Stadium, Chişinău, Moldova  Moldova 0–1 0–1 2008 UEQ
11 6 June 2007 Pankritio Stadium, Heraklion, Greece  Moldova 2–1 2–1 2008 UEQ
12 13 October 2007 Athens Olympic Sports Complex, Athens, Greece  Bosnia-Herzegovina 3–1 3–2 2008 UEQ
13 24 May 2008 Stadium Puskás Ferenc, Budapest, Hungary  Hungary 3–2 3–2 Friendly

Honours[edit]

AEK Athens

2011

Greece

Individual

1996
2000, 2006, 2007
2003, 2007

References[edit]

  1. ^ "AEK FC release Liberopoulos". aekfc.gr. [dead link]
  2. ^ Athanasiou, Nikos (19 January 2010). ""Λύμπε": "Πιο συγκεντρωμένοι στη ρεβάνς"" (in Greek). gazzetta.gr. Retrieved 20 January 2011. [dead link]
  3. ^ "Ανακοίνωση" [Liberopoulos renews contract] (in Greek). aekfc.gr. 16 June 2011. Retrieved 2 May 2012. 
  4. ^ "Λυμπερόπουλος: "Αποχωρώ από την Εθνική ομάδα"" [Liberopoulos retires from Greek national team] (in German). sport-fm.gr. 11 September 2009. Retrieved 2 May 2012. 
  5. ^ "Greece Duo Announce Retirements". Fox Soccer. Retrieved 23 June 2012.