Theodoros Zagorakis

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Theodoros Zagorakis
Theodoros Zagorakis.jpg
Personal information
Full name Theodoros Zagorakis
Date of birth (1971-10-27) 27 October 1971 (age 42)
Place of birth Lydía, Kavala, Greece
Height 1.78 m (5 ft 10 in)
Playing position Defensive midfielder
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1988–1993 Kavala 114 (6)
1993–1998 PAOK 155 (10)
1998–2000 Leicester City 50 (3)
2000–2004 AEK Athens 101 (4)
2004–2005 Bologna 32 (0)
2005–2007 PAOK 45 (0)
Total 497 (23)
National team
1994–2007 Greece 120 (3)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
† Appearances (Goals).

Theodoros "Thodoris" Zagorakis (Greek: Θεόδωρος Ζαγοράκης, born 27 October 1971) is a retired Greek footballer. He was the captain of the Greece national football team that won the 2004 UEFA European Football Championship, and is former president of PAOK F.C.. On May 25, 2014 he was elected as a Greek MEP at the European Parliament election, 2014 (Greece).

Club career[edit]

Kavala[edit]

Zagorakis was a defensive midfielder who usually operated on the right hand side of midfield. He started his career with Kavala, the club that also produced Zisis Vryzas, with whom he became close friends. Zagorakis was crucial in helping Kavala win promotion to the Greek second division.

PAOK[edit]

In the 1992–93 season, Zagorakis left Kavala as a winter transfer to join PAOK, part of a string of star-transfers made that season. He played for PAOK until December 1997, and also captained the squad in his last two seasons. He rose to become an iconic figure for the fans.

Leicester City[edit]

Zagorakis left in another winter transfer window to Leicester City. While in England, he took part in two consecutive League Cup finals at Wembley Stadium, losing the first against Tottenham Hotspur in 1999 and defeating Tranmere Rovers in the second. Theodoros Zagorakis scores for Leicester City against Manchester United on 16 January 1999 a wonderful goal. Nevertheless, he was disappointed with Martin O'Neill's reluctance to use him regularly and decided to return to Greece.

AEK Athens[edit]

He moved to Athens based football club of AEK Athens, and played alongside fellow countrymen such as Michalis Kapsis, Vassilis Lakis, Demis Nikolaidis and Vassilios Tsiartas. With AEK, Zagorakis won the Greek Cup in 2002 against rivals Olympiacos.

Bologna[edit]

On 14 July 2004, he left AEK Athens for Bologna, signing a two-year contract worth €1.5 million per year. In Serie A's season, Zagorakis was a regular feature in the team's squad but the team found itself relegated to Serie B after a play-out series against Parma FC. In the following summer he was released from the team as they couldn't afford his payroll under the new conditions.

PAOK[edit]

Zagorakis eventually signed a 2-year contract with PAOK for as little as €700.000 a year. When Zagorakis landed at Makedonia Airport in Thessaloniki, 7000 supporters were there to welcome him back. His return however coincided with a turbulent period, with the club many financial and administrative problems.

International career[edit]

Zagorakis received his first cap for Greece on 7 September 1994, against the Faroe Islands. He scored his first goal against Denmark in 2006 World Cup qualifying, in Athens, while earning his 101st cap. Numbering 120 caps, Zagorakis was Greece's all-time leader in international games played until 12 October 2012, when Giorgos Karagounis made his 121st appearance for the national team. He earned his 100th against Kazakhstan on 17 November 2004, and was the team's longest-serving captain.

Zagorakis played an important role in Greece's win in the 2004 European Championships, and was named the Player of the Tournament by UEFA and cosenquently he was in the Team of the Tournament. FIFA named Zagorakis as a contender for the 2004 FIFA World Player of the Year award (he finished in 17th place alongside the Spain's and Real Madrid's legend, Raúl), as well as UEFA named him for the 2004 European Footballer of the Year award (he finished in the 5th place), behind great legends such as Ronaldinho (title winner) and Thierry Henry (4th place). He holds the record of most consecutive matches (57) (except one in 2006 because of injury) of the national team (due to either injury or not selection) since his first cap in a period of 12 years.

After fourteen full playing years as the captain for Greece, Zagorakis announced his retirement from international football on 5 October 2006. On 22 August 2007, however, he played for the last time with the national side, in a special friendly match against Spain in Toumba Stadium, Salonica. He played for about 15 minutes and was then replaced by Giannis Goumas, receiving an applause by fans singing his name.

International goals[edit]

# Date Venue Opponent Score Result Competition
1. 9 February 2005 Piraeus, Greece  Denmark 2–1 Win 2006 FIFA World Cup qualifier
2. 21 January 2006 Riyadh, Saudi Arabia  South Korea 1–1 Draw Friendly Match
3. 25 January 2006 Riyadh, Saudi Arabia  Saudi Arabia 1–1 Draw Friendly Match

PAOK presidency[edit]

On 28 May 2007, after the fifth Greek Superleague All-Star Game, Zagorakis announced his retirement from professional football. After many widespread rumours, it was announced that he was to become PAOK's new president, on June 18.

The club had been in dire financial straits for several years. Zagorakis undertook to sort out finances by attracting investors, increasing revenue and mobilizing the club's fan base. In his unifying first statement he said: "The strength of PAOK lies in its supporters, its fans...I would have not made this decision" (to retire from playing and assume administration) "if i did not love my club. The situation for PAOK is very difficult and I will not try to hide its problems; instead I will do all I can to solve the pressing financial issues."

Soon he set about restructuring the club's debt and team, and recruited former teammmate Zisis Vryzas as technical director. As of late 2008, PAOK has been able to pay off most of its accumulated debt, seen a steady increase in ticket sales and advertising revenue, and team performance on the field has improved considerably, under the coaching of Portuguese manager Fernando Santos.

On 15 December 2008, Zagorakis announced a major issue of new stock by the club, valued at 22.3 million euros. He appealed to small investors and stated that, although it is unlikely that the entire sum could be covered in a worldwide crisis environment, he felt confident that the expected influx of capital would enable PAOK finally to put its past problems behind and focus on future growth.

On 8 October 2009 Zagorakis surprised fans and press alike by announcing his decision to quit the presidency. In a short announcement on the club's official website, he cited that personal problems have led him to this decision. He was rapidly replaced by his close friend Zisis Vryzas.

Nevertheless, he kept close contact with his former associates, and also frequently attended the club's home games alongside Vryzas. Zagorakis finally changed his mind and on January 20 he reprised his position as president, with Vryzas stepping down to assume the post of vice president.

Personal life[edit]

  • Zagorakis is married to former fashion model Joanna Lilli; they have two children, a boy and a girl.
  • He wore number 7 for both the national team and clubs.
  • He was featured on the cover of the Greek edition of FIFA 2001.

He is a candidate for the European Parliament with Nea Demokratia, in the elections of 25 May 2014, where he was elected as an MEP and eventually a member of the European People's Party (Christian Democrats).

Career statistics[edit]

Club[edit]

Club performance League Cup League Cup Continental Total
Season Club League Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Greece League Greek Cup League Cup Europe Total
1988–89 Kavala Beta Ethniki 8 2 1 0 - - 9 2
1989–90 Gamma Ethniki 38 2 2 0 - - 40 2
1990–91 Beta Ethniki 28 0 0 0 - - 28 0
1991–92 32 2 1 0 - - 33 2
1992–93 8 0 0 0 - - 8 0
1992–93 PAOK Alpha Ethniki 20 2 1 0 - 0 0 21 2
1993–94 30 0 5 1 - - 35 1
1994–95 31 4 4 0 - - 35 4
1995–96 27 0 7 1 - - 34 1
1996–97 32 2 3 0 - - 35 2
1997–98 15 2 2 0 - 6 3 23 5
England League FA Cup League Cup Europe Total
1997–98 Leicester City Premier League 14 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 14 1
1998–99 19 1 2 0 5 0 0 0 26 1
1999–2000 17 1 4 0 7 0 0 0 28 1
Greece League Greek Cup League Cup Europe Total
2000–01 AEK Alpha Ethniki 23 1 5 0 - 7 0 35 1
2001–02 26 3 9 1 - 10 4 52 9
2002–03 25 0 7 1 - 11 1 43 2
2003–04 27 0 5 0 - 8 0 40 0
Italy League Coppa Italia League Cup Europe Total
2004–05 Bologna Serie A 32 0 2 0 - - 34 0
Greece League Greek Cup League Cup Europe Total
2005–06 PAOK Alpha Ethniki 22 0 0 0 - 5 0 27 0
2006–07 Superleague 23 0 4 0 - - 27 0
Total Greece 415 20 56 4 - 47 8 518 32
England 50 3 6 0 13 0 0 0 69 3
Italy 32 0 2 0 - 0 0 34 0
Career total 497 23 64 4 13 0 47 8 621 35

International[edit]

Greece national team
Year Apps Goals
1994 4 0
1995 11 0
1996 9 0
1997 9 0
1998 4 0
1999 13 0
2000 5 0
2001 9 0
2002 10 0
2003 10 0
2004 16 0
2005 11 1
2006 8 2
2007 1 0
Total 120 3

[1]

Honours[edit]

Club[edit]

Leicester City
Winner
Runner-up
AEK Athens
Winner
Runner-up

International[edit]

Individual[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Sporting positions
Preceded by
Marinos Ouzounidis
Greece captain
2001–2006
Succeeded by
Angelos Basinas