Papadopoulos with Leverkusen in 2014.
|Full name||Kyriakos Papadopoulos|
|Date of birth||23 February 1992|
|Place of birth||Katerini, Greece|
|Height||1.83 m (6 ft 0 in)|
|Playing position||Centre back, Defensive midfielder|
|2010–2013||Schalke 04 II||2||(0)|
|2014–2015||→ Bayer Leverkusen (loan)||14||(2)|
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 29 August 2015.
Born in Katerini, Papadopoulos was signed from hometown club Svoronos Katerinis by Olympiacos in July 2007. He immediately featured in several of Olympiacos' pre-season friendlies, three league games, and three Greek Cup games.
In the summer of 2007, Papadopoulos was invited on trial to train with the RCD Espanyol youth team during the pre-season, with a view to giving the player a role in the team. Papadopoulos, however, performed well enough for the club's management staff to fast-track him, promoting him to the reserve team, and then once more to the first team, offering him a contract immediately.
Olympiacos scouts were also aware of the prodigy's talents, however, and the former manager of Olympiacos, George Louvaris, was quick to secure a deal with Papadopoulos' father Nikos, thus bringing him to Piraeus.
The 2007–08 season was promising for Papadopoulos. He made his competitive debut for Olympiacos in the Greek Superleague as a substitute during a 3–1 win over Atromitos on 2 December 2007, thus becoming the youngest player to ever play in the Greek league at the age of 15 years and 283 days. He also made the substitutes bench in the UEFA Champions League against Real Madrid and S.S. Lazio, and featured in several Greek Cup games. If Papadopoulos had featured in any Champions League games, he would have broken the record for the youngest player to ever compete in the competition by nearly two years.
In September 2008, Papadopoulos signed a new contract with Olympiacos, which included a £4.6 million release clause, over three years. On 2 November 2008, Papadopoulos made his first league appearance of the 2008–09 season for Olympiacos at home to Ergotelis in a 2–0 home win.
On 23 June 2010, German club Schalke 04 announced that they had signed Papadopoulos on a four-year deal, keeping him until 2014. On 21 August 2010, Papadopoulos made his Bundesliga debut for the club in a 2–1 loss against Hamburger SV. On 25 August 2011, in the qualification round of the UEFA Europa League, he scored his first goal for Schalke in a 6–1 win over HJK Helsinki. On 1 December, in a game of the Group Stage of Europa League, Papadopoulos scored the opening goal in a 2–1 win over Steaua București. On 17 December, Papadopoulos scored his first goal in the Bundesliga in a 5–0 win over SV Werder Bremen and scored the next game on 21 January 2012 in a 3–1 win over VfB Stuttgart. Since joining Schalke from Olympiacos, Papadopoulos has played in over 70 matches in all competitions, scoring five goals and has ultimately gathered respect and praise from all over Europe due to his tenacious and skillful defending considering his young age.
Ahead of the 2012–13 season, Italian club A.C. Milan were interested in signing Papadopoulos. After showing interest, Schalke accused Milan of making an illegal approach for Papadopoulos without the club knowing. Also interested were Russian giants Zenit Saint Petersburg, but when their £16 million bid for Papadopoulos was accepted by Schalke, Papadopoulos rejected the move, opting to stay in Germany. In September 2012, Papadopoulos signed a new contract with Schalke that will keep him at the club until 2016. On match-day two of the 2012–13 season, Papadopoulos scored his first goal of the season and his third in the Bundesliga in a 3–1 win over FC Augsburg. The start of the 2012–13 season went well for the bullish defender and he opened his season account in Schalke’s first home game of the season – a 3-1 victory over Augsburg. However, after a virus kept him out for a number of games, Papadopoulos was then forced to go under the knife in attempts to correct his knee injury which he picked up in a 3-1 loss away at Hamburg in November 2012.
After a very difficult year for the defender absent through injury (383 days to be exact), Papadopoulos returned to action, much to the satisfaction of both his national team coach Fernando Santos and his coach at Schalke, Jens Keller, by playing in a home game against SC Freiburg in December 2013.
Unfortunately, a few weeks after his return to action, Papadopoulos suffered a new shoulder injury and could have been forced to undergo surgery. The news came as another bitter blow, as his recurring knee problems restricted him to just four appearances of the 2013–14 season. The new injury caused him to miss the World Cup in Brazil.
Bayer Leverkusen (loan)
On 3 August 2014, Bayer Leverkusen signed Papadopoulos on a season-long loan deal. He told Leverkusen's official website: "I am very happy that it worked out with the change. Bayer 04 is a club just like Schalke with major international ambitions. Unfortunately I was injured more often in the past season. But now I'm back fit and highly motivated to achieve with Leverkusen both my personal goals as well as the club's."
On 3 November 2014, Bayer Leverkusen have announced that Kyriakos Papadopoulos has been ruled out for the remainder of 2014 with a shoulder injury. The centre-back suffered the injury in the final training session ahead of his side's Champions League match at Zenit St Petersburg, and is set to undergo surgery. "That's just bitter for Papa," Leverkusen coach Roger Schmidt told reporters ahead of Leverkusen's trip to Russia. The 22-year-old, currently on a year-long loan from Schalke, only recently returned to action following nearly two years on the sidelines. Following his injury, the club announced that "Kyriakos Papadopoulos underwent successful surgery on Monday evening in Herne on his shoulder".
His performance during the season intrigued Liverpool's coach Brendan Rodgers.Papadopoulos, who has been watched by Reds scouts for the last two years, is currently on-loan at Bayer Leverkusen until the end of the season.They want to make the deal permanent and have made a £4.4million offer, but reports say he would prefer to move to a new league, clearing the way for Liverpool to move in. Brendan Rodgers is believed to be lining up a move and with Papadopoulos now ready to change leagues, this transfer would be easy to complete. On March 8, 2015 he scored his first goal with the club in a Bundesliga match against Paderborn. Papadopoulos injury misery continues as on April 25, 2015 faces an indefinite spell on the sidelines after dislocating his right shoulder in a Bundesliga away match against 1. FC Köln. Bayer Leverkusen's officials reported that Papadopoulos will return to the training after three months.
Regardless of his injury, Atletico Madrid and according to German publication Suddeutsche Zeitung, expressed interest in the 23-year-old Greek centre-back. The club were impressed with Papadopoulos’ performance during their Champions League knockout tie last month and intend to open negotiations with his parent club Schalke 04. Atletico are looking to reinforce their backline with the possible loss of Miranda and the seemingly likely departure of Toby Alderweireld, who is currently on loan at Southampton but has expressed a desire to remain in the English Premier League, where he’s enjoyed success as the starter.
According to Bild, Bayer Leverkusen are set to recruit Kyriakos Papadopoulos from Schalke. The Greek international spent the previous season on loan at Bay Arena, and despite initially struggling for playing time, he did eventually prove his worth. As a result, Bayer have entered talks with Schalke in an attempt to purchase his contract and Bild claims that a €6.5 million transfer fee is all but agreed. With the player having missed large chunks of the 2012/2013 and 2013/2014 seasons through a succession of injuries, the Miners are ready to offload the 23 years' old footballer. On 7 June 2015, the deal was finalized and the Greek international signed a 5 years' contract with the aspirins for a €6.5 million transfer fee.
Papadopoulos was called for the under-19 Greek national team to participate in the Elite round of the 2007 UEFA European Under-19 Football Championship. He participated in all three group games against Moldova, Netherlands, and Russia, helping Greece finish top and qualify for the finals.
Papadopoulos featured at the heart of the Greek defence in the finals tournament and was partners with teammate Konstantinos Lambropoulos. He was instrumental in keeping a clean sheet against the Czech Republic, as well as good performances against England and Italy. His performances attracted attention from scouts of elite teams such as Manchester United, Arsenal, and Chelsea.
The teams were impressed with the defender's maturity in a competition in which he was the youngest player by 13 months. Despite being the youngest player in the tournament, he was also one of the 10 most talented players in Europe as considered by UEFA in their UEFA Under-19 Team of the Tournament.
Senior Greek national team manager Otto Rehhagel is also said to have been impressed with the youngster's performances, and has met with EPO officials to talk about moving Papadopoulos to the senior national squad.
Having finished an excellent year with Schalke, on 4 June 2011, the new head coach of the Greek national football team, Fernando Santos, called him up for the first time to the senior squad in a match against Malta. Due to an Avraam Papadopoulos injury and Sokratis Papastathopoulos' inability to play, he took their place in the squad in the centre of defence next to Vangelis Moras. Not only did he have an excellent game, but he also scored the second goal of his team. On 6 September 2011, he scored his second international goal against Latvia in UEFA Euro 2012 qualification.
On April 17, 2015 injury-plagued defender Papadopoulos has been recalled to Senior Greek national team’s overhauled national team for next Sunday’s European Championship qualifier in Hungary. New Greece coach Sergio Markarian included the 23-year-old Bayer Leverkusen player, who has been troubled by a serious knee injury over the past two seasons, on his 24-man roster.
|1.||4 June 2011||Karaiskakis Stadium, Piraeus, Greece||Malta||2–0||3–1||UEFA Euro 2012 qualifying|
|2.||6 September 2011||Skonto Stadium, Riga, Latvia||Latvia||1–1||1–1||UEFA Euro 2012 qualifying|
|3.||31 May 2012||Kufstein Arena, Kufstein, Austria||Armenia||0–1||0–1||Friendly|
|4.||15 August 2012||Ullevaal Stadion, Oslo Norway||Norway||0–2||2–3||Friendly|
|Greece national team|
- Youngest ever player to play in the Greek League at 15 years and 283 days.
- UEFA U19 Team of the Tournament
- Schalke 04
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- Kyriakos Papadopoulos at Schalke 04 website
- Kyriakos Papadopoulos at fussballdaten.de (German)
- Kyriakos Papadopoulos – FIFA competition record
- Kyriakos Papadopoulos – UEFA competition record
- ESPN FC profile