Giorgos Karagounis

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"Karagounis" redirects here. For the midfielder of PEC Zwolle, see Thanasis Karagounis.
Giorgos Karagounis
Karagounis 2008.jpg
Karagounis playing for Greece in 2008
Personal information
Full name Georgios Karagounis[1]
Date of birth (1977-03-06) 6 March 1977 (age 39)
Place of birth Pyrgos, Greece
Height 1.76 m (5 ft 9 12 in)
Playing position Midfielder
Youth career
1993–1996 Panathinaikos
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1996–2003 Panathinaikos 118 (25)
1996–1998 Apollon Smyrni (loan) 55 (9)
2003–2005 Internazionale 21 (0)
2005–2007 Benfica 45 (3)
2007–2012 Panathinaikos 133 (16)
2012–2014 Fulham 39 (1)
Total 411 (56)
National team
1996–1999 Greece U21 39 (11)
1999–2014 Greece 139 (10)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 20:56, 23 May 2014 (UTC).
‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 01:02, 30 June 2014 (UTC)

Georgios "Giorgos" Karagounis (Greek: Γιώργος Καραγκούνης; born 6 March 1977) is a former Greek professional footballer.

In his club career he has played for Panathinaikos, Apollon Smyrni, Internazionale, Benfica and Fulham.

Internationally, Karagounis represented the Greece national team between 1999 and 2014. He was a member of the Euro 2004 winning squad, and also represented Greece in Euro 2008, the 2010 World Cup, Euro 2012 and the 2014 World Cup. With 139 appearances, he is the most capped player in the history of the Greek national team.

Club career[edit]

Panathinaikos and Apollon Smyrni (loan)[edit]

Giorgos Karagounis began career as a professional footballer in 1996 when he signed on loan for Apollon Smyrnis from Panathinaikos. In his first couple of years with the Athens-based club, he already showed signs of his talent as a very energetic player in the centre of midfield who could also score goals. After two seasons with Apollon he returned to his parent club Panathinaikos in 1998, the club where he learned his trade. At Panathinaikos he became a fixture in the first team for the next five years. Although Panathinaikos did not win the Alpha Ethniki title during his spell, due to several controversial reasons, including a ball-fixing scandal,[2] the team was always a title contender, and had good runs in both the UEFA Champions League and the UEFA Cup, with Karagounis scoring important goals for the team. He scored six times in 24 league games during his first season with the Greens, and in the 2000–01. In the UEFA Champions League appeared in all 12 of Panathanaikos' games, scoring a memorable goal from a direct free-kick against Manchester United at Old Trafford.[3] The following season, at the Apostolos Nikolaidis Stadium, he scored a wonderful goal against Arsenal, beating David Seaman with a header, in helping his team reach the quarterfinals of the UEFA Champions League.[4]


Karagounis left Panathinaikos and Greece to move to Italy to sign for Italian Serie A club Inter Milan in the summer of 2003. During his first season with Inter, he wasn't a regular started in the league, mainly appearing in European and domestic Cup matches. At the end of his first season in Italy, despite Karagounis spending a lot of time on the bench, Inter could only finish a disappointing 4th with city Rivals Milan winning the title. He still did enough to be called up to represent Greece at the 2004 UEFA European Championship in Portugal. After helping Greece win UEFA Euro 2004, he returned to Italy for the 2004–05 season. Under Roberto Mancini, he was again mainly used in European and domestic Cup ties, rather than in league games. He won the 2005 Coppa Italia, helping Inter beat Roma in the final. At the end of the 2004–05 season, Inter Milan finished third in the league with Juventus winning the title, and reached the quarter finalists of the Champions League, getting knocked out by Italian and City rivals AC Milan.


In 2005, he moved to Portugal to sign a three-year contract with Benfica,[5] who are based at the Estádio da Luz, the stadium where he won the Euro 2004 final with Greece.[6]

Karagounis scored a couple of memorable long-range goals while in Portugal,[7] against Shakhtar Donetsk, and a free-kick against Desportivo das Aves.[8]

Karagounis' first season at Benfica was challenging, as he had difficulty establishing himself as a first-team regular. However, he became a regular starter in his second season, putting in some excellent performances and becoming a fan favourite, who were by this time managed by Fernando Santos, who already knew Karagounis from Panathinaikos. After a successful stint with Benfica, Karagounis seemed ready to return to play in Greece, again for Panathinaikos.

He returned to Estádio da Luz to play for a Benfica All-Stars team in a charity match against a team that included Zidane and Ronaldo in 2010.[9]


Karagounis' contract with Benfica was due to expire in July 2008, but the player and his manager negotiated his immediate departure due to personal issues.[10] After his release in the summer of 2007, Karagounis immediately returned to Greece and to Panathinaikos, signing for the club for the next three years.[10] He quickly re-established himself in the team again, scoring key goals, especially in Europe.

With his acquisition by the Athenians regarded as the start of a new era at the club, Karagounis emerged not only as a leading figure at club level, but for Greece as well. He established himself as the Captain of the national team. Karagounis’ grit and dedication continued to give Panathinaikos an edge as the team made progress in Europe.[11] On 3 September 2009, Karagounis extended his stay until 2012 and stated that he wanted to end his career at the club.[12] As captain of the team he won his second Super League title and the Greek Cup. A 79th-minute strike by Karagounis secured Panathinaikos three Europa League points in Group F.[13]


Giorgos Karagounis playing for Fulham in May 2013

On 11 September 2012, Karagounis left Panathinaikos again to move to English Premier League side Fulham on a free transfer.[14] Karagounis became the eighth Greek player from the Euro 2004 winning side to play in the Premier League, after Nikos Dabizas, Stelios Giannakopoulos, Vassilios Lakis, Theodoros Zagorakis, Angelos Basinas and Kostas Chalkias. Speaking at Fulham’s Motspur Park Training Ground, Karagounis said: “I’m delighted to have signed for Fulham Football Club and I am excited by a new challenge in England and the Premier League. I’m looking forward to working under Martin Jol and playing alongside some fantastic players at this Club.” Fulham Manager Martin Jol added: “Giorgos Karagounis has a wealth of club and international experience and I’m happy that he’s joined us for this season. He’s been an influential player for his club sides and is a renowned player in world football as he’s about to become the most-capped player for Greece. He brings many certain qualities to our squad.” [15]

He made his debut for the club in the Premier League on 29 September 2012, against Manchester City at Craven Cottage, coming on in the 81st minute to replace Chris Baird.[16] Karagounis played the full 90 minutes for Fulham in their 4–0 loss to Liverpool at Anfield. He scored his first goal in England on 5 January 2013 in the FA Cup against Blackpool in the 80th minute, with a 'stunning 25-yard half-volley' which went in off the underside of the crossbar, the game ending 1–1.[17] On 12 January 2013, a week after his FA Cup strike, he scored his first goal in the Premier League against Wigan Athletic in the 22nd minute of the first half.[18]

Karagounis was one of twelve players released by Fulham at the end of the 2012–13 Premier League season.[19]

Karagounis then declared his interest to return to Fulham through his agent Paschalis Tountouris.[20] On 9 July 2013 Karagounis signed a new 1-year deal with Fulham.[21][22] In his second season with the cottagers, Karagounis scored his only goal in a 4-3 loss for League Cup against Leicester City F.C. when he equalised with just three minutes to go but couldn't prevent Leicester from scoring a late winner.[23] Karagounis suffered from muscle problems throughout the season but on 19 April 2014 he came on as a substitute in his last game for the club in a 3-1 away defeat against Tottenham Hotspur F.C..[24] Fulham were relegated from the Premier League at the end of the season.

Karagounis was one of nine players released by Fulham in the summer of 2014.[25][26]

International career[edit]

Karagounis captaining Greece in 2010

Early years[edit]

Karagounis captained Greece's entry to the 1998 UEFA Under-21 Championship, and the team came very close to winning, losing 1–0 to Spain in the final. After that, he soon became a regular on the national team. He made his first full international appearance against El Salvador in 1999 and went on to appear in qualifying for the 2002 FIFA World Cup.

UEFA Euro 2004 & beyond[edit]

The highlight of his international career was undoubtedly winning the European championship for Greece in Euro 2004. He was a key player for Greece and famously scored the first goal of the tournament against Portugal, a stunning long range shot that shocked the hosts and gave Greece the confidence they needed to win the game and progress in the tournament.[27] After winning Euro 2004, Karagounis continued to play on a regular basis for Greece in the 2005 FIFA Confederations Cup, the 2006 World Cup qualifying campaign, and the Euro 2008 finals. On 26 March 2008, Karagounis participated in a Greece-Portugal friendly match in Düsseldorf, Germany. This proved to be somewhat of a highlight of his international career as he scored two almost identical well-placed free-kicks to give Greece a 2–1 victory.[28]

Giorgios Karagounis as a captain of Greece contributed to the qualification for the 2010 FIFA World Cup. As captain, he led the Greek National team to its first win in a World Cup match with a 2–1 win against Nigeria. On 8 October 2010, against Latvia, Karagounis reached 100 appearances for the Greek national team equaling the record of his Euro 2004 winning ex-teammate Angelos Basinas. On 12 October 2010 Karagounis made his 101'st appearance, becoming the second most capped player in Greek footballing history behind Theodoros Zagorakis and scoring his seventh goal in the victory against the Israel national team. On 7 October 2011 Karagounis was awarded by Theodoros Zagorakis and Angelos Basinas for reaching 111 appearances with the Greek National Team. The awarding ceremony took place at Karaiskakis stadium before the kickoff of a football match against Croatia.

UEFA Euro 2012[edit]

Karagounis' penalty at Euro 2012, saved by Polish goalkeeper Przemysław Tytoń

On 8 June 2012, Poland played with Greece on the opening day of Euro 2012. Poland goalkeeper Wojciech Szczęsny fouled Greek international Dimitris Salpingidis, resulting in a red card for Szczęsny. Karagounis took the penalty against substitute goalkeeper Przemysław Tytoń who saved his penalty.[29]

On 16 June 2012, Karagounis started the final game of Group A against Russia, making him their joint most capped player with 120 caps, together with Theodoros Zagorakis who held the record of national team appearances at the time. He scored the only goal of the game on the stroke of half time.[30] This meant Greece qualified for the next stage of the competition. The second half was slightly less dramatic but had its share of talking points. Coming off a significant goal, Karagounis made a mad dash to the Russian box. The captain looked like he was going to score another but his leg was caught by a Russian defender. Karagounis was adamant that he had earned a penalty but the ref was hardly impressed and booked him for simulation. Karagounis received his second yellow card of the tournament causing him to miss the quarterfinals.[31][32]

"Karagounis is heir to the Greek and international football"

-Marca (newspaper) about Karagounis.[33]

Qualifying for World Cup 2014 and record[edit]

On 12 October 2012, he played in the second half in the match against Bosnia and Herzegovina in the qualifying for the 2014 FIFA World Cup, making the 121st appearance for his country. With this game, he set a new record of most caps for the Greece national football team. He also scored a great free-kick goal against the Liechtenstein national football team. Karagounis played another inspiring and energetic role throughout the entire qualifying campaign and helping boost his beloved country reach their 3rd World Cup finals appearance. Despite the waning number of starts for the 37-year-old, his influence is still huge in the Greek camp and Fernando Santos, who worked with the midfielder at Benfica, clearly holds him in high regard due to the sureness the veteran exudes. “We have confidence and know we can beat any opponent,” Karagounis said during World Cup qualifying.[34] Karagounis played the entire 120 minutes of the match between Costa Rica and Greece for the World Cup 2014, consisting of 90 minutes of regular time and 30 minutes of extra time. Greece captain Giorgos Karagounis retired from international football Sunday after his country's World Cup elimination in a penalty shootout loss to Costa Rica national football team. Karagounis leaves as Greece's most capped player with 139 appearances over 15 years since making his debut in 1999. Greece's goal-scorer on Sunday, defender Sokratis Papastathopoulos, paid tribute to his departing leader. "He's written his own story ... he's the record holder (of caps), he's given everything for the team and had to make concessions for it," Papastathopoulos said. "He's left us a legacy for the future. He shouldn't worry." [35][36]

Style of play[edit]

Karagounis is a midfielder that is short in stature, standing at 5 feet 9 inches, but he is known for his tough, gritty play on the field. He gains many comparisons to "The General", Mimis Domazos. He was known for his dribbling, and creative passing, especially the accuracy of his long passes. These are the same attributes that Karagounis has as a player. Karagounis has been described as a "dogged worker in the midfield and a deliverer of fine set plays".[37][38]

At his best he is one of the finest set piece exponents on the continent, with his delivery a source of a number of important Greek goals in the past. His dribbling has always been one of his strengths, with Karagounis able to win his own free kicks as well as provide a sometimes-laboured attack with bursts of energy. He also possesses a wonderful shooting ability from distance and combines his varied attacking talents with an aggression in midfield that makes him able to win the ball back, as well as produce with it at his feet. In short, he is his team’s midfield talisman and arguably its most balanced player.[39]

Career statistics[edit]

As of 23 May 2014[40][41]
Club performance League Cup Europe Total
Season Club League Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Greece League Greek Cup Europe Total
1996–97 Apollon Smyrni Alpha Ethniki 31 2 2 0 33 2
1997–98 24 7 2 0 26 7
1998–99 Panathinaikos Alpha Ethniki 24 6 5 1 0 0 29 7
1999–00 27 9 4 2 5 0 36 11
2000–01 23 4 5 2 14 1 42 7
2001–02 21 3 5 0 15 3 41 6
2002–03 23 3 3 0 10 0 36 3
Italy League Coppa Italia Europe Total
2003–04 Inter Milan Serie A 9 0 3 0 4 0 16 0
2004–05 12 0 5 0 3 0 20 0
Portugal League Portuguese Cup Europe Total
2005–06 Benfica Primeira Liga 19 1 4 0 7 0 30 1
2006–07 26 2 2 0 9 0 37 2
Greece League Greek Cup Europe Total
2007–08 Panathinaikos Superleague Greece 32 6 2 0 6 0 40 6
2008–09 24 7 1 0 10 3 35 10
2009–10 24 2 5 0 12 1 41 3
2010–11 28 0 2 0 4 0 34 0
2011–12 25 1 2 0 3 0 30 1
England League FA Cup/League Cup Europe Total
2012–13 Fulham Premier League 25 1 3 1 28 2
2013–14 14 0 5 1 19 1
Career Total 411 54 60 7 102 8 573 69

International goals[edit]

# Date Venue Opponent Score Result Competition
1. 5 September 2001 Helsinki, Finland  Finland 5–1 Loss 2002 FIFA World Cup qualifier
2. 13 February 2002 Thessaloniki, Greece  Sweden 2–2 Draw Friendly Match
3. 12 June 2004 Porto, Portugal  Portugal 1–2 Win UEFA Euro 2004
4. 30 March 2005 Athens, Greece  Albania 2–0 Win 2006 FIFA World Cup qualifier
5. 26 March 2008 Düsseldorf, Germany  Portugal 1–2 Win Friendly Match
6. 26 March 2008 Düsseldorf, Germany  Portugal 1–2 Win Friendly Match
7. 12 October 2010 Athens, Greece  Israel 2–1 Win UEFA Euro 2012 qualifier
8. 15 November 2011 Altach, Austria  Romania 1–3 Loss Friendly Match
9. 16 June 2012 Warsaw, Poland  Russia 1–0 Win UEFA Euro 2012
10. 15 October 2013 Piraeus, Greece  Liechtenstein 2–0 Win 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifier



Inter Milan


Greece U21


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  6. ^ «Δεκάρι» της Μπενφίκα ο Γιώργος Καραγκούνης 31 August 2005
  7. ^ Match report a-bole-e-redonda article, 6 July
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  21. ^ "Giorgos Karagounis signs on at Fulham for 2013/4 season". Sky Sports News. Retrieved 9 July 2013. 
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  29. ^ "Poland 1 Greece 1". BBC Sport. 8 June 2012. Retrieved 12 June 2012. 
  30. ^ Wilson, Paul (16 June 2012). "Euro 2012: Giorgos Karagounis avoids Greece exit and makes Russia pay". The Guardian. Warsaw. 
  31. ^ "Sweet result, personal bitterness for Karagounis". The Times of Malta. 18 June 2012. 
  32. ^ "Greece 1-0 Russia: Karagounis Marks 120th Cap With Winner". 16 June 2012. 
  33. ^ ""Παγκόσμια κληρονομιά" ο Καραγκούνης". Marca. 5 September 2012. Retrieved 5 September 2012. 
  34. ^ "Profile of Giorgos Karagounis". 
  35. ^ "Karagounis bows out as Greece heads home". 
  36. ^ "Greece captain Karagounis bows out after 139 caps". 
  37. ^ "Greece:Giorgos Karagounis". 
  38. ^ Wilson, Jonathan. "Euro 2012 Preview: Greece". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved 1 June 2012. 
  39. ^ "Greece:Giorgos Karagounis". 
  40. ^ "Giorgos Karagounis profile". Soccerway. Retrieved 20 April 2012. 
  41. ^ "Giorgos Karagounis profile". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 2 October 2013. Retrieved 20 April 2012. 

External links[edit]