Dimitrios Eleftheropoulos

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Dimitrios Eleftheropoulos
Personal information
Full name Dimitrios Eleftheropoulos
Date of birth (1976-08-07) 7 August 1976 (age 40)
Place of birth Piraeus, Greece
Height 1.90 m (6 ft 3 in)
Playing position Goalkeeper
Club information
Current team
Asteras Tripoli (Manager)
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1994–2004 Olympiacos 152 (0)
1995–1996 Proodeftiki (loan) 30 (0)
2004–2005 Messina 10 (0)
2005–2006 Milan 0 (0)
2006 Roma 0 (0)
2006–2007 Ascoli 14 (0)
2007–2009 Siena 14 (0)
2009–2010 PAS Giannina 16 (0)
2010–2011 Iraklis 28 (0)
2011–2012 Panionios 12 (0)
Total 276 (0)
National team
1999–2001 Greece 12 (0)
Teams managed
2012–2013 Panionios
2013–2014 AEK Larnaca
2015 Olympiacos Volou
2015–2016 Panthrakikos
2016 Veria
2016–2017 Asteras Tripoli
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 26 January 2016.
‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 29 June 2008

Dimitrios Eleftheropoulos (Greek: Δημήτριος Ελευθερόπουλος; born 7 August 1976) is a retired Greek goalkeeper and the former manager of Asteras Tripoli. In the past he played for the Greek national team.

Football career[edit]

Greece[edit]

Born in Piraeus, and an ardent supporter of major Greek club Olympiacos, where he started playing as a goalkeeper at a very young age. Except for 1996, when he was loaned to Proodeftiki, he played for Olympiakos from 1994 to 2004, winning seven championships in a row.

He was the young third goalkeeper in 1997's Olympiacos roster behind Foto Strakosha and Alekos Rantos but injuries and bad games from the previous two made coach Dusan Bajevic to give him a chance. His astonishing performances, which included impossible saves and penalty stops eventually lifted Eleftheropoulos to the level of an idol earning the nickname of "The Eagle", being one of the masterpieces for Olympiakos championship after ten years of disappointments.

He lost nearly all the 1998 season due to a severe knee injury, which was worsened by a badly treated arthrosis that also affected his shoulder. This did not prevent a glorious comeback in the 1999 UEFA Champions League, with Olympiacos advancing to quarterfinals for the first time and being chosen as the best goalkeeper in the competition.

On 23 October 2001, Eleftheropoulos made a sensational penalty save to Ruud van Nistelrooy at 65th-minute between Manchester United and Olympiacos for Champions League, in Old Trafford.[1] It was the only penalty missed by the Dutch international striker for that season.

He is also remembered by some for being the goalkeeper present during the worst loss of any Greek team in the Champions League, when on December 10, 2003 Olympiakos lost to Juventus 7-0.

Italy[edit]

In 2004, Eleftheropoulos transferred to newly promoted Serie A side Messina, where, despite some great performances, he could not unseat Marco Storari in the starting eleven.

In 2005, he was signed by Milan. Even though, due to a series of subpar performances in friendlies against Chelsea and Chicago Fire during a summer tour in the United States, coupled with Milan's heavy surplus of goalkeepers, he was sold to Roma where he remained game-less for the entire season.

Eleftheropoulos signed for Ascoli for the '06–07 Championship and on 25 February 2007 he played his first Serie A match for Ascoli against Livorno.[2]

On 11 June 2007, he was signed by A.C. Siena on free transfer, for 2-year deal, where although beginning the season in the starting eleven, he has finished as the substitute goalkeeper behind Austrian international Alex Manninger.[3] According with Siena's official website, on 28 May 2009, Eleftheropoulos decided to leave the club for family reasons.

Return to Greece[edit]

On 30 May 2009, Eleftheropoulos signed with PAS Giannina,[1] a team locally known as “Ajax of Epirus” which in the past had formed players like Giourkas Seitaridis, that has promoted to the First Division. He started his new season becoming the most experienced player for his new club. Great saves during matches against Kavala, his former team Olympiakos and AEK contributed to achieve either victory for Giannina or himself to be elected as Man of the Match. Eleftheropoulos after 5 years reached again the semi-final of the Greek Cup with his new club against Panathinaikos F.C. On 3 August 2010, Eleftheropoulos signed a contract with Iraklis F.C.[4] In the summer 2011, signed with Panionios. He announced the end of his career on 21 December 2011.[5]

International career[edit]

Eleftheropoulos got his first of twelve senior international caps for Greece in a friendly against Belgium in 1999. From these caps, three were in the 2002 FIFA World Cup qualification rounds for the European zone; where although having brilliant performances in both games against Germany, he was left aside from the national team after a strong cross with coach Vassilis Daniil. For the Euro 2004 coach Otto Rehhagel chose Antonios Nikopolidis as his starting keeper and Konstantinos Chalkias and Fanis Katergiannakis as substitutes, leaving Eleftheropoulos out of the roster.

Coach career[edit]

Eleftheropoulos started his managerial career at Panionios. He most recently managed Superleague Greece side Asteras Tripoli, as he was appointed to replace Makis Chavos on 27 September 2016. For the third consecutive time he teamed up with his former club teammate Stylianos Venetidis who served as assistant manager.[6] His contract was terminated on 17 February 2017 by mutual consent, on grounds of successive poor results culminating to a 0-5 heavy home defeat against Panathinaikos.[7]

Managerial statistics[edit]

As of 11 February 2017
Team Nation From To Record
G W D L Win %
Panionios Greece 29 May 2012 16 February 2013 24 9 1 14 37.50
Larnaca Cyprus 1 July 2013 15 December 2013 13 4 4 5 30.77
Olympiakos Volou Greece 6 January 2015 30 June 2015 24 13 2 9 54.17
Panthrakikos Greece 19 September 2015 26 January 2016 19 3 8 8 15.79
Veria Greece 26 January 2016 8 July 2016 11 1 5 5 09.09
Asteras Tripoli Greece 27 September 2016 17 February 2017 24 10 6 8 41.67
Total 115 40 26 49 34.78

Honours[edit]

Club[edit]

Olympiacos
  • Greek Superleague: 1996–97, 1997–98, 1998–99, 1999–2000, 2000–01, 2001–02, 2002–03
  • Greek Cup: 1999; Runner-up 2001, 2002, 2004

International[edit]

Greece U21

References[edit]

Notes
Bibliography