Vyntra with Greece in 2008
|Full name||Loukas Vyntra|
|Date of birth||5 February 1981|
|Place of birth||Město Albrechtice, Czechoslovakia|
|Height||1.84 m (6 ft 0 in)|
|Hapoel Tel Aviv|
|2000–2001||→ Veria (loan)||24||(0)|
|2015–||Hapoel Tel Aviv||18||(0)|
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 23 January 2016.
Loukas Vyntra (Greek: Λουκάς Βύντρα; born 5 February 1981) is a Czech-born Greek footballer who plays for Hapoel Tel Aviv and the Greek national team. Mainly a central defender, he can also play as a right back.
Vyntra signed his first professional contract in 1999 with Paniliakos. He made his senior debut on loan with third division Veroia in 2000–01. Returning to Paniliakos at the end of the season, he swiftly became established in the starting 11, helping them win promotion to the Alpha Ethniki in 2002–03. Making his debut in the Greek top-flight, Vintra played in Paniliakos' first 15 games of the 2003–04 season.
Greek giants Panathinaikos was quick to notice his potential and brought Vyntra to Athens-based club in 2004. Immediately making an impact at the club, Vyntra became a regular for Panathinaikos since his first season wearing the green-and-white. He was a versatile member of back-line, switching between playing on the right and the centre of defence. On 29 September 2004, he made his European competition debut in a 1–0 away loss against PSV in the UEFA Champions League. He scored two memorable goals during the 2004–05 season, one against Arsenal in the Champions League and one against Sevilla in the UEFA Cup.
In the summer of 2007, German Bundesliga side Hertha BSC approached the player about a transfer, but Panathinaikos did not wish to sell him unless they found adequate cover in defence. Although he is a hard working player good in tackling and marking and he is picked by all his managers for the starting XI, his lack of stability made him the target of complaints and he has received the most critisicm for Panathinaikos' recent inability to win titles. Incoming manager Henk ten Cate, however, began using Vyntra mainly as a central defender for the 2008–09 season.
During the subsequent 2009–10 campaign, he was one of the side's key players, enjoying a particularly memorable season and helping Panathinaikos to the domestic double, reaching 50 games in European competition. He also ended the year by appearing in all three matches for Greece at the 2010 World Cup. He scored two important goals in the Greek Superleague derby against rivals PAOK FC on 8 February 2009.
After Henk ten Cate's resignation as Panathinaikos manager on 8 December 2009, Ten Cate gave an interview to a Greek sports website where he was asked the question, "If you get hired by a big European club, which player from Panathinaikos F.C. would you recommend to your new club?" He responded, "Only one: Vyntra. He can play either as a defensive midfielder and right or left back, he can also play as a centre back, he is quick, he has good aerial abilities, with a good technique for a defender, he is good in tactics. What else can a manager ask from him? He has a tough mind because he plays many years under continuous, unfair criticism." 
On 16 October 2010, Vyntra scored the winning goal against PAOK.
At the beginning of the 2013 calendar year, facing criticism from fans and in-and-out of the starting lineup, Vyntra asked his manager to make some contacts with foreign teams and Belgian club Anderlecht arranged immediately a scout to assess him. During the 2012–13 season, however, he ultimately signed a half-year contract with Spanish La Liga side Levante, later extending it at the conclusion of the year with an annual salary of €450,000.
On 19 January 2014, Vyntra scored his first goal with Levante in a 1–1 draw against Barcelona, heading-home a low goal past goalkeeper Víctor Valdés from an Andreas Ivanschitz cross after ten minutes. On 25 January 2014, Levante pulled off an unlikely 3–2 victory over a strong Sevilla side in an enthralling game at the Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán. After just three minutes going behind, Vyntra headed-in a corner swung in by Andreas Ivanschitz. Ten days later, in the second leg of the Copa del Rey quarter-final, Levante stunned Barcelona by taking an early lead, as Vyntra rose inside the box to thump-in his header into the bottom corner. Barça, however, levelled just before the 30-minute mark and eventually triumphed 5–1 and 9–2 on aggregate.
On 4 May 2014, a couple of days after Atlético Madrid succeeded to reach the 2014 UEFA Champions League Final, Levante took advantage of a worn-down Atlético side by pulling off an impressive 2–0 victory over the league leaders. Atlético had two close calls as they chased the equalizer. One of them, in the 63rd minute came from Filipe Luís, whose shot from just inside the box was blocked on the six-yard line by Vyntra. The Greek defender was among the key performers in the victory.
The 2014–15 began poorly for Levante, and head coach Lucas Alcaraz did not hesitate to pull Vyntra out of the lineup along with David Barral, defensive pillars for the club just one season prior. The team's unsuccessful results against Elche, Villarreal and Athletic Bilbao had Vyntra on the substitute's bench, kept out of the starting XI in favour of central defenders David Navarro and Iván Ramis. Vyntra eventually returned to the starting lineup on 4 April 2015 in a 4–1 away win over Almería.
Without reaching the 30-appearance mark that was the target for the 2014–15 season, Vyntra was touted for a return to Greece for the subsequent season, as it was believed Levante would not renew his contract. According to sources from Israel, Hapoel Tel Aviv was interested in signing Vyntra.
Hapoel Tel Aviv
On 27 July 2015, Hapoel Tel Aviv reached an agreement with Levante and Vyntra for his signature; he ultimately signed a two-years'contract with an annual salary of €250,000 after passing his medical.
Vyntra represents Greece instead of his birth country, the Czech Republic; Vyntra has gone on to feature for the national team on several levels. He represented Greece at the 2004 Summer Olympics, held on home soil in Athens.
Vyntra made his debut with the Greek senior team on 8 June 2005 in a 1–0 home loss match against Ukraine in a 2006 World Cup qualifying match. He was included in the final squad for the 2005 Confederations Cup in Germany.
Generally for Greece, Vyntra has been used in his more natural right-back position, but his playing-time has benefited through injuries to regular starters. With his occasional gaffes, Vyntra faces the same scrutiny that surrounded him at Panathinaikos. Vyntra called from Greek national manager Fernando Santos to both the 30-man provisional 2014 World Cup squad and the final 23-man squad.
|Hapoel Tel Aviv||2015–16||18||0||2||0||0||0||20||0|
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- "Ψάχνει ομάδα ο Βύντρα". www.newspao.gr. 5 June 2015.
- "Hapoel Tel Aviv wants Vyntra". www.sdna.gr. 19 July 2015.
- "Ανακοίνωσε Βύντρα η Χάποελ Τελ Αβίβ!". www.sdna.gr. 27 July 2015.
- "Loukas Vyntra". uefa.com. 17 January 2012.
- "Loukas Vyntra". goal.com.
- "Greece World Cup 2014 squad". telegraph.co.uk. 19 May 2014.
- "Νοκ άουτ ο Χολέμπας στην Εθνική, κάλεσε Βύντρα ο Μαρκαριάν". eleftheriaonline.gr. 23 March 2015.
- Loukas Vyntra at National-Football-Teams.com
- (Czech) Loukas Vyntra – Čech v řeckém dresu
- (Greek) «Ποταμός» Τεν Κάτε!