Orestis Karnezis

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Orestis Karnezis
20130814 AT-GR Orestis Karnezis 2402.jpg
Karnezis with Greece in 2013
Personal information
Full name Orestis-Spyridon Karnezis[1]
Date of birth (1985-07-11) 11 July 1985 (age 32)
Place of birth Athens, Greece
Height 1.90 m (6 ft 3 in)
Playing position Goalkeeper
Club information
Current team
Watford (on loan from Udinese)
Number 30
Youth career
2003–2005 OFI
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
2005–2007 OFI 10 (0)
2007–2013 Panathinaikos 54 (0)
2013– Udinese 108 (0)
2013–2014 Granada (loan) 6 (0)
2017– Watford (loan) 0 (0)
National team
2004–2005 Greece U21 3 (0)
2012– Greece 44 (0)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 18:17, 7 May 2017 (UTC).
‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 3 September 2017

Orestis-Spyridon Karnezis (Greek: Ορέστης Καρνέζης; born 11 July 1985) is a Greek footballer who plays as a goalkeeper for English club Watford on loan from Italian club Udinese and the Greek national team.

Club career[edit]


Born in Athens, Karnezis started his professional football career at Panathinaikos in 2007. He counted only a few appearances for the club until the 2011–12 season, when he got more chances and impressed. So, after a few months, his coach, Jesualdo Ferreira, trained him and he made him the regular goalkeeper of Panathinaikos. He gave great performances and he saved his team at crucial moments. Reports from Greece indicate that Panathinaikos‘ keeper Orestis Karnezis is the subject of plenty transfer speculation as the Greek international has attracted many suitors from around Europe after a solid campaign in the Super League last term (the 2012–13 season). Reports from Greece indicated that Udinese Calcio have emerged as front-runners to land Karnezis after the Italian club reportedly offered €800.000 to bring Karnezis to the Serie A this summer. Karnezis took over as Panathinaikos’ number one choice in goal last season and played admirably for the Athens giants. Karnezis’ exploits for the Trifylli earned him consistent call-ups to the Greek national football team.[2]


Orestis Karnezis made his Spanish La Liga debut for Granada in a 3–0 away loss to Almeria on 4 January 2014.[3] Karnezis had earlier in the season played in both legs of the Copa del Rey (Spanish Cup) against AD Alcorcón on 8 December 2013 and 18 December 2013.

On 12 April, in a tremendous game months after his debut with the club Karnezis was the key player in a 1–0 home victory against Barcelona. Granada keeper Orestis Karnezis pushed out Lionel Messi's beautifully-flighted free-kick before saving at the feet of Sergio Busquets as Barca pressed.Gerardo Martino's men could not find a way past Granada's inspired goalkeeper Karnezis. The Greece international showed superb reactions to push away Cesc Fàbregas' first-time shot, before clawing out a 20-yard free-kick from Lionel Messi. Then, he bravely dived at the feet of Busquets in the six-yard box following a corner. Incredibly, Barça totalled a massive 29 shots on goal against a Granada side while Karnezis saved a total of 6 crucial shots giving a glorious victory to his team.[4][5]


Orestis Karnezis completed his move from Panathinaikos to Udinese Calcio after the two clubs reached an agreement over the Greece international’s transfer. The 28-year-old keeper has been linked with a move to the Serie A side in recent weeks, with Panathinaikos manager Yannis Anastasiou keen to use the income from his transfer to continue building his squad. A fee of €750,000 has been quoted by the Greek press, with a further €2 million set to go to Panathinaikos if the player returns to Greece to play with another club in the future.[6][7]

Orestis Karnezis signed a five-year contract on 22 July 2013 but was immediately loaned out to Spain's Granada for the season by the Italian club. In his return to Udinese after a loan stint with Granada in the Spanish La Liga, Orestis Karnezis made his Serie A debut in Udinese's 2–0 home victory over Empoli on 31 August 2014. On 9 November 2014, Udinese succeeded to scrap a 1–1 draw against Palermo as Karnezis parrying a Franco Vazquez penalty.[8] On 15 March 2015, Andrea Stramaccioni praised Orestis Karnezis and Antonio Di Natale after Udinese picked up a point against Atalanta, by stated that throughout the year and not only in that game, Karnezis gives a sense of security to the squad, even without necessarily making difficult saves.[9]

Italian sports newspaper La Gazzetta dello Sport claims that Napoli is interested in signing Greek goalkeeper Orestis Karnezis after his remarkable 2014–15 season with Udinese next summer. "It is too early", his agent Vasilis Panayotakis said. "We will see what happens after May 20, when we know what is really going on with the clubs that have shown interest. Karnezis is committed to Udinese until the end of the season, that is more important right now".[10][11] During the season former Italian national goalkeeper Dino Zoff has heaped praise on both Orestis Karnezis and Mattia Perin, labelling the pair the best glovesmen in Serie A.“It’s going well, he’s young and can only get better: he is taking confidence that is essential for a goalkeeper. I think Karnezis and Perin are the best goalies in Series A.”[12]

On 14 May 2015, Udinese Calcio confirmed they’re ready to sell Orestis Karnezis to make room for Simone Scuffet and Roma are interested. The Greek goalkeeper has been guarding the sticks this season and earned links with a move to the Giallorossi. “Karnezis could’ve gone to Benfica last summer,[13] but Andrea Stramaccioni decided to focus on his international experience,” explained Udinese director Andrea Carnevale on TeleRadioStereo. “Now with his excellent season, he can go to a more important club. Our future is Simone Scuffet. We’ve been preserving him, as a season working as understudy to Karnezis has helped him to grow.”[14][15]

On 24 May 2015, in a home game against Sassuolo, Karnezis was injured so the hosts were forced to make their first substitution in the 29th minute with goalkeeper Simone Scuffet replacing him.[16] According to La Gazzetta dello Sport, the discussions over the new agreement have already begun and that the 29-year-old goalkeeper is ready to put pen to paper, to extend his stay until 2020. Udinese Calcio have turned down offers from Roma, Inter, Napoli, Benfica and other European clubs.[17]

On 1 July 2015, Karnezis has signed a new contract until June 2019 with the Friuli outfit. “Udinese Calcio announces the renewal with mutual satisfaction of the economic agreement in place with the goalkeeper Orestis Karnezis,” read the statement.“The contract of the Bianconeri player will now expire on June 30, 2019.”[18][19] In the opening of 2015–16 season in a game against the champions Juventus had a particularly strong second-half when Juve piled on the pressure, coming up with key saves and marshalling his backline to more effectively stop the Bianconeri forwards, helping his club to achieve a glorious win.[20] On 25 October 2015, he made key saves helping his club extended their unbeaten run in Serie A to four matches by edging to a 1–0 victory over Frosinone at the Stadio Friuli.[21] On 1 November 2015, in a home 0-0 draw against Sassuolo the visitors threatened with Gregoire Defrel who crashed in two strikes that had to be kept out by Karnezis.[22] On 8 November 2015, Karnezis kept his side level with two good pieces of goalkeeping as Napoli continued to knock on the door, first when he dived low to keep out Gonzalo Higuaín's effort before he smothered the ball at the feet of José Callejón minutes later after Higuain had slipped the Spaniard through, but besides his saves his club could not avoid the 1-0 away defeat.[23] On 20 December 2015, with his crucial saves along with a late first half goal from his teammate Stipe Perica who with a rifled shot past the outstretched fingers of the ‘keeper to nestle inside the far post, and besides the fact that finished the game with 10 players due to Molla Wague's expulsion he helped his club to escape with a 1–0 away win against Torino.[24] On 9 January 2016, despite his remarkable save one-on-one with Cristian Zaccardo, sticking out a trailing foot to deny the angled drive, his club faced a surprise 2–1 away loss against Carpi in the Serie A.[25] On 7 February 2016, in an 1–1 away draw against A.C. Milan, Karnezis was in fine form produced sensational saves to deny Carlos Bacca, Mario Balotelli and Riccardo Montolivo kicks helping his club to escape with a valuable draw.[26] On 24 April, thanks to Karnezis Udinese managed to keep the score down to 3–1 against Inter as he made some fantastic saves to deny Geoffrey Kondogbia, Marcelo Brozovic and Ivan Perisic to keep his side afloat.[27] On 14 May 2016, he voted from the fans as the MVP of the club for the 2015–16 season.[28] On 15 May 2016, he set a new record for the 2015–16 season as he was the only player that he did not miss not even one minute.[29]

He started the 2016–17 season as the undisputed first goalie for the club. On 11 December 2016, Karnezis put on a superb performance as Luigi Delneri’s men managed to win where teams like Roma couldn’t and if the 3–1 scoreline is harsh on Atalanta, it’s because La Dea had a myriad of chances, but Karnezis denied plenty of goals. Without the keeper’s wonder saves, the game could have gone very differently. In at least five cases he was superb, even stopping from his own teammate Silvan Widmer.[30] On overall, in December 2016 Karnezis has only been forced to pick the ball out of his own net once in the last four matches, with clean sheets against U.C. Sampdoria, F.C. Crotone and Bologna. On 5 February 2017, in a 0–0 away draw against Chievo, Karnezis reached 100 appearances with the jersey of the club in all competitions. On 19 February 2017, in a frustrating lost match against Sassuolo reached 100 appearances with the jersey of Udinese in Serie A, in a game where the Greek international performed a desperate double save on Matteo Politano and the Federico Ricci follow-up. On 12 March 2017, in a 3–1 away win against Pescara, he suffered an injury replaced by his teammate Scuffet. He has been diagnosed with a dislocated finger and the microfracture at the base of the little finger in his right hand. Karnezis’s hand has been immobilised with a cast for the next three weeks.[31] On 9 April 2017, he returned to the squad in a 3-0 Serie A home game against Genoa C.F.C.

Karnezis is caught between Napoli and Watford for next season. The Greek international will turn 32 in July and is under contract with Udinese until June 2019. However, with Alex Meret returning from his loan at Spal and Simone Scuffet also on the books, the Friulani have no shortage of talented goalkeepers. According to sources, Karnezis would be to join Napoli and replace the increasingly shaky Pepe Reina, or even act as his understudy. He could instead join Marco Silva’s Watford F.C., to meet another ex-Greek international Jose Holebas.[32][33] As a result of this possibility, since 14 May, Udinese's coach Luigi Delneri has decided to start with Simone Scuffet the remaining matches of the season.


With around 12 hours before the closure of the transfer market, Watford announced the signing of Orestis Karnezis for a one-season-loan from Udinese Calcio. The finer details are yet to be revealed. The 32-year old will compete with Heurelho Gomes for the starting place at Vicarage Road.[34] [35]

International career[edit]

Karnezis's good performances led Greece national football team coach Fernando Santos to call him for a friendly match on 29 February 2012 against Belgium, in which he made his international debut, playing the entire game. Unfortunately for Karnezis, Fernando Santos didn't call him for UEFA Euro 2012 to be one of the three goalkeepers of the Greek National Team. Fernando Santos said: "If Karnezis keeps going that way, he will be without a doubt in the squad of the Greek National Team for the qualifying matches of Mundial 2014." And, indeed, he was called to be part of Greek National Team both for a friendly game with Norway and for the qualifying matches after that. Karnezis called from Greek national manager Fernando Santos to the 30 man provisional World Cup squad, but also to the final 23-man squad for 2014 FIFA World Cup.[36]

Personal life[edit]

On May 2015, Karnezis's partner Silia gave birth to their first son, Odysseas Karnezis, in Greece.

Career statistics[edit]


As of 7 May 2017[37]
Club Season League Cup Europe Total
Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Panathinaikos 2007–08 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 0
2008–09 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2009–10 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 0
2010–11 0 0 4 0 0 0 4 0
2011–12 22 0 2 0 0 0 24 0
2012–13 29 0 1 0 10 0 40 0
Total 53 0 7 0 10 0 70 0
Granada 2013–14 6 0 2 0 8 0
Total 6 0 2 0 8 0
Udinese 2014–15 37 0 0 0 37 0
2015–16 38 0 1 0 39 0
2016–17 33 0 1 0 34 0
Total 108 0 2 0 110 0
Career Total 167 0 11 0 10 0 188 0


As of match played 9 June 2017
National team Year Apps Goals
Greece 2012 7 0
2013 10 0
2014 10 0
2015 7 0
2016 7 0
2017 3 0
Total 44 0






  1. ^ "2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil: List of Players" (PDF). FIFA. 11 June 2014. p. 18. Retrieved 11 June 2014. 
  2. ^ "Panathinaikos taking offers for Karnezis". footballhellas.com. 12 July 2013. Retrieved 23 March 2017. 
  3. ^ "Almeria -Granada 3-0". Soccerway. Retrieved 23 March 2017. 
  4. ^ "Granada-Barcelona 1-0". fcbarcelona.com. Retrieved 23 March 2017. 
  5. ^ "Granada-Barcelona 1-0". BBC Sport. 12 April 2014. 
  6. ^ "Panathinaikos goalkeeper Orestis Karnezis set to complete Udinese move". footballhellas.com. 18 July 2013. 
  7. ^ "Karnezis signs with Udinese, media reports". 
  8. ^ "Stramaccioni: 'Thanks Karnezis!'". Football Italia. 9 November 2014. Retrieved 23 March 2017. 
  9. ^ "Stramaccioni content with point". Football Italia. 15 March 2015. Retrieved 23 March 2017. 
  10. ^ "Napoli targeting Karnezis". 
  11. ^ Gaetano Mocciaro (27 March 2015). "Napoli, per la porta si pensa a Karnezis" (in Italian). TuttoMercatoWeb.com. Retrieved 23 March 2017. 
  12. ^ "Zoff: Karnezis and Perin are the best goalkeepers in Series A". forzaitalianfootball.com. 9 November 2014. Retrieved 23 March 2017. 
  13. ^ "Karnezis talks up Benfica switch". 
  14. ^ "Scuffet sends Karnezis to Roma". Football Italia. 14 May 2015. Retrieved 23 March 2017. 
  15. ^ "Udinese invite offers for keeper Orestis Karnezis". 
  16. ^ "Udinese 0-1 Sassuolo". ESPN FC. 24 May 2015. 
  17. ^ "Karnezis ready to sign new Udinese deal". 9 June 2015. 
  18. ^ "New Udinese deal for Karnezis". Football Italia. 1 July 2015. 
  19. ^ "Στην Ουντινέζε μέχρι το 2019 ο Καρνέζης!". 1 July 2015. 
  20. ^ "Udinese player ratings: Karnezis and Thereau inspire Zebrette". La Gazzetta dello Sport. 23 August 2015. 
  21. ^ Udinese edge past Frosinone
  22. ^ Udinese play out goalless draw with Sassuolo
  23. ^ Gonzalo Higuain inspires Napoli to Udinese victory
  24. ^ Torino 0-1 Udinese: Man advantage not utilised as Zebrette hold on
  25. ^ "Carpi 2 - 1 Udinese". Football Italia. 9 January 2016. 
  26. ^ Milan 1 - 1 Udinese
  27. ^ "Karnezis clinic prevents heavier defeat". La Gazzetta dello Sport. Retrieved 23 March 2017. 
  28. ^ Οι οπαδοί της Ουντινέζε ψήφισαν κορυφαίο τον Καρνέζη!
  29. ^ Έγραψε ιστορία ο Καρνέζης!
  30. ^ "Le pagelle di Atalanta-Udinese 1-3" (in Italian). Eurosport.com. Retrieved 23 March 2017. 
  31. ^ "RELIVE Serie A Pescara-Udinese 1-3: tre gol per tre punti che chiudono una volta per tute il discorso salvezza!" (in Italian). TuttoUdinese.it. Retrieved 23 March 2017. 
  32. ^ Νάπολι ή Premier League ο Καρνέζης
  33. ^ Ο Καρνέζης έδωσε απάντηση για το "φλερτ" της Νάπολι
  34. ^ Orestis Karnezis quitte l'Udinese pour Watford
  35. ^ Επίσημο: Δανεικός στη Γουότφορντ ο Καρνέζης
  36. ^ "Greece World Cup 2014 squad". telegraph.co.uk. 19 May 2014. 
  37. ^ "O. Karnezis".