Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Charisteas looking for another Euro high after club hell

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 9 Jun 2008

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Angelos Charisteas joined other more mythical Greek heroes when he headed the winning goal at the Euro 2004 final against hosts Portugal – but since then he has sunk careerwise into the equivalent of Hades.

The 28-year-old could well be described as much-travelled, which is a step up from being called a journeyman striker but four clubs since that heady night in Lisbon tells its own tale.

It all looked so different for Charisteas as he appeared to have shown his then Bundesliga club Werder Bremen that he could produce more than the paltry four goals he had scored for them the season leading up to the European championships.

However, it mattered not a jot to Bremen, who made it pretty clear that he was not considered to be first choice and thus after a summer of highs he was plunged into uncertainty and Greece's German coach Otto Rehhagel – a former Bremen coach – advised him to look for another team.

Thus it was in January 2005 that Dutch giants Ajax came knocking on his door, desperate to find a top replacement for Swedish star Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who left for Juventus.

If he thought that five million euros tranfer fee had allowed him to enter the Elysian fields with a chance to really prove himself at club level, then he was quickly disabused of that notion as then coach Henk Ten Cate placed him fifth in the list behind Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, Ryan Babel, Markus Rosenberg and a certain Rydell Poepon…..

An increasingly frustrated Charisteas quickly let Ten Cate – who was to end up at Chelsea alongside Avram Grant and share the same fate as the Israeli at the end of the 2007/08 season – know he wanted to either return to Germany or England.

However, bizarrely he ended up at Ajax's bitter rivals Feyenoord, which went down like a lead balloon with the Rotterdam side's supporters, some of whose more hardnosed members marched in protest – and they looked to have been right when Charisteas failed to score in his first 10 appearances.

So low had his star fallen he was shipped off to traditional German relegation candidates FC Nuremberg for just 2.5million euros – his value in the market halved in just two years.

Thus no wonder that back at the Euro stage where he made his mark four years ago he expressed his delight to have changed scene.

“I am delighted to be back at this extraordinary tournament with Greece,” he said.

For Charisteas too there is the consolation that no matter what his troubles over the past few years at club level, no one can rob him of his moment of glory.

“In 50 years time, everyone will remember that I scored the goal that made Greece champions of Europe,” he said with justifiable pride.

And one imagines not many will recall the name of Rydell Poepon.

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