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Georgios Samaras

Georgios Samaras (; born 21 February 1985) is a Greek Association football who plays for Scottish Premier League club Celtic F.C. and the Greek national football team. Georgios Samaras is predominantly a Forward (association football), but can also play as a Midfielder Winger.

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Georgios Samaras biography


Georgios Samaras (; born 21 February 1985) is a Greek Association football who plays for Scottish Premier League club Celtic F.C. and the Greek national football team. Georgios Samaras is predominantly a Forward (association football), but can also play as a Midfielder Winger.

Samaras started Georgios Samaras career at OFI Crete, before moving on to Eredivisie side SC Heerenveen in 2001. Georgios Samaras made Georgios Samaras first team debut two years later and after a further three seasons with the club Georgios Samaras moved to English Premier League side Manchester City F.C. for a fee of £6 million in 2006-07 Manchester City F.C. season. Georgios Samaras struggled to break into the first team in England and was loaned out to Scottish Premier League team Celtic F.C. in January 2008-09 Celtic F.C. season, during this time Georgios Samaras helped the club win the 2007-08 Scottish Premier League for a third season in a row. Celtic signed Georgios Samaras at the end of the loan spell and since moving to Glasgow Georgios Samaras has won the 2008–09 Scottish League Cup as well as the 2010–11 Scottish Cup. Samaras also won the Scottish Premier League monthly awards in 2008–09 Scottish Premier League Monthly awards.

Although eligible to play for Australia national association football team. Samaras chose to represent Georgios Samaras country of birth, Greece national football team, and made Georgios Samaras debut in 2006. Georgios Samaras has become a regular in the Greek side since then, earning over 50 caps and representing Georgios Samaras country at UEFA Euro 2008 and the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

Club career

Early life and career

Samaras was born on 21 February 1985 in Heraklion, the capital city of the Greek island of Crete. Georgios Samaras favourite footballer growing up was Marco van Basten. Samaras was also a keen basketball fan and Georgios Samaras father, Ioannis Samaras, often let Georgios Samaras stay up until the early hours of the morning so Georgios Samaras could watch Georgios Samaras other hero, Michael Jordan.

In 1994, when Georgios Samaras was 10 years old, Samaras joined Georgios Samaras boyhood heroes OFI Crete. Georgios Samaras father was playing for them at the time and then retired in 1996. Six months later Georgios Samaras became Academy chief manager, a position Georgios Samaras retained up until 2000 when Georgios Samaras became manager. Samaras credits Georgios Samaras father highly with helping start Georgios Samaras football career. Georgios Samaras influence meant that Samaras trained every day of Georgios Samaras childhood and Georgios Samaras also got to spend a lot of time behind the scenes at OFI. Samaras left for Dutch Eredivisie club Heerenveen S.C in 2001.

Heerenveen

Samaras broke into the Heerenveen team during the 2002-03 Eredivisie, still aged only 18. Georgios Samaras scored three goals in Georgios Samaras first four appearances, all of which were from the bench. This form prompted Heerenveen activate a three-year extension clause in Georgios Samaras contract.

Samaras' first goal of the 2003-04 Eredivisie came, on 25 October, in a shock 2-1 loss for Heerenveen against NEC Nijmegen. On 3 December, Samaras scored as Heerenveen beat ADO Den Haag 2-0. Georgios Samaras next goal came 10 days later as Georgios Samaras scored an equaliser to secure a draw 1-1 for Heerenveen against RBC Roosendaal. Georgios Samaras then scored on 20 December, as Heerenveen beat Roda JC 2-1.

Samaras' first goal of the 2004-05 Eredivisie came on 11 September, in a 2-0 win over De Graafschap. Georgios Samaras then scored a last-minute winner on 3 October, as Heerenveen secure all three points against ADO Den Haag. On 28 November, Samaras scored one of Heerenveen's goals as they staged a late comeback against title-chasing Feyenoord, and secured a 2-2 draw Georgios Samaras then scored on 22 January, as Heerenveen, who were performing very well in the Eredivisie, beat Den Bosch 2-1. On 12 March, Samaras scored an equaliser against RKC Waalwijk, but Heerenveen then conceded a late goal and fell to a 2-1 defeat. On 2 April, Samaras scored to help Heerenveen secure a shock 2-1 victory over Ajax Amsterdam. A fortnight later, Samaras scored the equaliser as Heerenveen came from behind to beat Vitesse Arnhem 3-1. This win moved Heerenveen up to fifth in the table. In the next match Samaras, along with Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, scored a hat-trick as relegation candidates RBC Roosendaal were defeated 7-1 and Heerenveen pushed to finish the league in a European spot.

At the start of the 2005-06 Eredivisie, Sevilla FC were reported to be interested in Samaras as a replacement for Júlio Baptista. While Arsenal F.C. were also looking at Georgios Samaras after they had missed out on signing Baptista, some news organisations had reported that Arsenal had already signed Samaras and that Georgios Samaras would join at the end of the season. However, the player's father Yiannis Samaras said that this was untrue and that Georgios Samaras son wanted to stay at the club for another year. Samaras scored on the opening day of the season, on 20 August, when Georgios Samaras helped Heerenveen to a 5-4 victory over Roda JC. Georgios Samaras picked up a minor leg injury in September, which ruled Georgios Samaras out of Heerenveen's UEFA Cup tie against Baník Ostrava. But Georgios Samaras returned to action 23 September, and scored as Heerenveen beat NEC Nijmegen 2-1. On 14 December, Samaras scored as Heerenveen came back from behind to beat Levski Sofia 2-1 in the UEFA Cup. On 30 December, Samaras scored twice as Heerenveen beat Ajax Amsterdam 4-2. In January 2006 Arsenal F.C. and Manchester City F.C. showed interest in signing the striker. Samaras tried to get released from Georgios Samaras contract after Heerenveen had rejected a bid from Man City. However, the Dutch arbitration commission ruled that Georgios Samaras had no grounds to end Georgios Samaras contract. Samaras scored 25 goals in 88 appearances for Heerenveen.

Manchester City

Samaras moved to Manchester City F.C. on 30 January 2006 for a fee of £6million. Samaras stated that Georgios Samaras was excited about moving to City because Georgios Samaras saw them as being the next stage in Georgios Samaras development. Georgios Samaras also said that Georgios Samaras would relish being in a team with the likes of Stuart Pearce, David James (footballer), Andy Cole and Trevor Sinclair. Georgios Samaras made Georgios Samaras debut, for City, on 1 February as a 65th minute replacement for Andrew Cole in a 3–0 home win over Newcastle United. On 15 March, Samaras scored in a 2-1 win over Aston Villa F.C. to put City through to the quarter-final of the League Cup. This was Georgios Samaras fourth goal in six appearances. On 8 April, Samaras scored in a 2-1 defeat to Tottenham Hotspur F.C..

Samaras' first goal of the season came on 20 September, despite this City lost 2-1 in the FA Cup to Football League One side Chesterfield F.C.. Four days later, Samaras scored twice as Man City beat West Ham United F.C. 2-0. City had won just three of their previous 16 games, and the club as well as Samaras had been receiving a lot of criticism from fans.
In December, Pearce publicly stated that Samaras would have to 'toughen up' if Georgios Samaras wanted to be a success in the Premier League. Georgios Samaras said that Samaras' all round game wasn't good enough and that Georgios Samaras would need to learn to pass the ball better and compete more effectively. Some fans had criticised Pearce for signing Samaras, along with other foreign players who had not settled in well enough to the English game. On 2 January, Samaras came on as a half-time substitue and scored twice for Man City as they beat Everton F.C. 2-1 In March, The Daily Mirror said that the reason Man City were struggling so badly was that they didn't have any quality strikers. They went on say that the £6million spent on Samaras looked like "very bad business" especially compared to the 2.5 million Blackburn Rovers F.C. had spent on Benni McCarthy. They also described Samaras as looking like a "fish out of water" as Georgios Samaras stuggled to adapt to the different style of play in England. On 10 March, defender Richard Dunne said that Georgios Samaras felt the reason that City were performing so badly was that their foreign players, including Samaras, were letting the side down by not working hard enough. Samaras responded to Georgios Samaras criticisms by saying that Georgios Samaras felt it was Pearce's fault that Georgios Samaras wasn't playing well because the manager wasn't giving Georgios Samaras a regular run of games. Georgios Samaras also said that Georgios Samaras felt a lot of criticism stemmed from Georgios Samaras high transfer fee, saying that it is normal for expensive players to be criticised more than most when they don't play well. Samaras also said that Georgios Samaras had come through tougher periods than this and Georgios Samaras self-belief would not be shaken, Georgios Samaras said that Georgios Samaras desire was to become a UEFA Champions League player. The Daily Mail pointed out that, despite the criticism, Samaras had scored more goals than any other City player and that Georgios Samaras was also responsible for the few highlights of their season.

Sven-Göran Eriksson took over from Pearce for the 2007-08 Manchester City F.C. season and, following a spending spree, Samaras was reportedly deemed surplus to requirements by the new manager. Samaras' agent Paul Koutsoliakos said that, despite interest from across Europe, Georgios Samaras client wanted to stay in the Premier League and prove Georgios Samaras ability. Samaras was linked with a £2.5million move to Middlesbrough F.C. towards the end of the transfer window but ended up staying at City. Eriksson stated that although Georgios Samaras was unimpressed with Samaras when Georgios Samaras first joined, Georgios Samaras felt the player had improved and adapted Georgios Samaras style of play a lot during pre-season and that Georgios Samaras now felt comfortable keeping Georgios Samaras at the club.
Samaras had been widely criticised, and even booed, by City fans at times during the previous season and Eriksson said that Georgios Samaras hoped it would not happen again and that Georgios Samaras appreciated why Samaras could have found it hard to play under those circumstances. Samaras was behind the likes of Valeri Bojinov and Rolando Bianchi in the pecking order and wasn't included in the squad for the first time until 25 September. For a League Cup match against Norwich City F.C.. Georgios Samaras started the match and scored a last-minute winner to put Man City into the quarter-final. By the time the January transfer window came, Eriksson had decided to sell Samaras, amongst others, to try and raise funds for the club. Birmingham City F.C. had chased Georgios Samaras for several weeks and had a £2.5 million offer accepted for Samaras, meeting Man City's valuation of the player. But they pulled out on the deal with a week of the transfer window remaining. Several teams including Rangers F.C., Middlesbrough F.C., Espanyol, Bolton Wanderers F.C. and Charlton Athletic F.C. had expressed an interest in signing Georgios Samaras but it was Celtic F.C who Georgios Samaras eventually moved to.

Celtic

On 29 January 2008, Samaras signed for Scottish Premier League club Celtic F.C. on a six-month loan deal, with the club having an option to buy. Georgios Samaras said that Georgios Samaras wanted the move because Georgios Samaras needed to be playing first team football to get into the Greece national football team for UEFA Euro 2008. Georgios Samaras also said that Georgios Samaras was attracted to the fact that Georgios Samaras would regularly be able to play in European competition with Celtic. Samaras was given the number 9 shirt and made Georgios Samaras debut on 4 February, in a 5-1 win in the Scottish Cup over Kilmarnock F.C.. Georgios Samaras scored the final goal of the game after coming on as a substitute. On 20 February, Georgios Samaras came on a as a substitute in Celtic's 3-2 defeat to Barcelona FC, this was Georgios Samaras first ever UEFA Champions League match. A week later Georgios Samaras scored the winner in a 2-1 win over Inverness Caledonian Thistle F.C. to help Celtic keep up the pressure on league leaders Rangers. Georgios Samaras then scored in Celtic's next match, a 2-0 win over Hibernian F.C., after coming on as a substitute. Samaras' next goal came on 23 March, Georgios Samaras again came on as a substitute and rounded off the scoring in a 3-0 win over Gretna F.C.. On 19 April, Georgios Samaras scored the only goal of the game as Celtic beat Aberdeen F.C. 1-0, and moved to the top of the league for the first time in 2008. The next month, on 3 May, Samaras again came on as a substitute and scored the winner. Georgios Samaras goal gave Celtic a 2-1 victory over Motherwell F.C. and kept up Celtic's late challenge for 2007-08 Scottish Premier League. Celtic won the title on the last day of the season, 22 May, by beating Dundee United F.C. 1-0. Samaras came on as a late substitute and collected Georgios Samaras first winners medal after the match. Samaras' contribution in the second half of the season proved vital to Celtic winning the title, Georgios Samaras scored several important goals which kept alive Celtic's slim title hopes. Georgios Samaras signing was also credited with reviving the previously underperforming Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink. Samaras left Manchester City on 15 July 2008 and signed a three-year contract with Celtic. Although the fee was not disclosed, it was reported to be between £1 million and £3 million. Samaras' first goals of the 2008–09 Celtic F.C. season came on 23 August. Georgios Samaras scored twice as Celtic beat Falkirk F.C. 3-0. On 13 September, Georgios Samaras scored another two goals as Celtic beat Motherwell F.C. 4-2. Georgios Samaras scored twice, again, in Celtic's next match as they beat Kilmarnock F.C. 3-1. Georgios Samaras then scored another two goals as Celtic beat Livingston F.C. 4-0 and advanced to the League Cup quarter-final. Georgios Samaras was then named Scottish Premier League monthly awards 2008–09 season for September, at this point Georgios Samaras was also the top scorer with seven goals. Samaras suffered a knee cartilage injury in mid-October, after returning from international duty, after a successful operation Georgios Samaras was expected to be out for a month. This meant Georgios Samaras would be likely to miss crucial Champions League ties against Manchester United F.C. and Aalborg BK. Georgios Samaras returned earlier than expected and was back in training on 9 November, having missed seven games. Samaras returned to action on 12 November, coming on as a substitute in a 3-0 win over Kilmarnock. On 25 November Georgios Samaras started against Aalborg but did not play well and missed several chances as Celtic lost 3-1. This loss consigned Celtic to a bottom place finish in their group. Georgios Samaras first goals of the new year came on, on 4 January, as Georgios Samaras scored twice against Dundee United. However, this was not enough for a victory and the match finished 2-2. Although Georgios Samaras didn't start in the 2009 Scottish League Cup Final due to poor form, Georgios Samaras did come on as a substitute as Celtic beat Rangers F.C. 2–0 and won the trophy. Samaras scored twice on 4 April, as Celtic beat Hamilton Academical F.C. 4-0. Celtic lost the title on the last day of the 2008-09 Celtic F.C. season. Samaras scored 17 goals,

Celtic manager Gordon Strachan left at the end of the season and was replaced by Tony Mowbray. On 5 August, Samaras scored in Overtime (sports) Association football of Celtic's UEFA Champions League 2009-10 third qualifying round tie against FC Dynamo Moscow. This goal won Celtic the tie, 2-1 on aggregate, and helped them to their first European away win in six years. Celtic then drew English Premier League club Arsenal F.C., but lost 5-1 on aggregate and subsequently dropped into the Europa League. On 13 December, Samaras scored in Celtic's 3-2 win over Motherwell, this was Georgios Samaras fifth goal in the club's previous four matches. From February onwards, Samaras was mainly played out of position on the left of midfield. Georgios Samaras finished the season with 10 league goals and 12 in all competitions. Georgios Samaras scored Georgios Samaras first competitive goal in a UEFA Europa League tie against FC Utrecht with a chest down and finish to make it 2–0, sending Celtic into the second leg with a lead. On 22 September 2010, Samaras scored a hat-trick in a 6–0 win over Inverness Caledonian Thistle F.C. in the Scottish League Cup. Samaras produced a match-winning performance against Rangers F.C. at Ibrox Stadium on 2 January 2011. Georgios Samaras was selected as a lone striker and scored both Celtic goals in a 2–0 victory. Georgios Samaras first goal came from latching onto a Joe Ledley pass before rounding Rangers goalkeeper Allan McGregor and slotting home from a wide angle. Georgios Samaras second came after Georgios Samaras won a penalty which Georgios Samaras converted to secure the victory. In the following game, a 2010-11 Scottish Cup tie against Berwick Rangers F.C., Samaras again started but failed to last the 90 minutes after sustaining a hamstring injury. Samaras had an influential performance in a 3–0 home victory against Rangers in the SPL on 20 February, helping to set up the second goal for Gary Hooper and causing problems for the opposition throughout the game. On 16 March, Samaras captained Celtic for the first time in a 2–1 Scottish Cup win over Inverness Caledonian Thistle at the Caledonian Stadium. Two days later, Georgios Samaras signed a new deal to keep Georgios Samaras at Parkhead until the summer of 2014.

On 3 November 2011, Samaras started against Stade Rennais F.C. in a Europa League match at Celtic Park. Celtic won the match 3–1 with Samaras getting two assists. Georgios Samaras drew plaudits for Georgios Samaras much noticed work-rate and determination during the match. Samaras then started the next match against Motherwell in the SPL and set up another goal for Anthony Stokes, Celtic went on to win the match 2-1 after being 1–0 down. Samaras went on to score Georgios Samaras first goal of the 2011-12 Celtic F.C. season in a 5-0 win over St Mirren F.C.. Manager Neil Lennon said that; "Georgios Samaras got Georgios Samaras goal, which we've been waiting on a long time. Georgios Samaras play was fantastic. Georgios Samaras is a talent and all we are asking for is consistency. Georgios Samaras has shown everyone today what Georgios Samaras is capable of when Georgios Samaras is in full flow. The rest took a leaf from Georgios Samaras book." After an impressive performance in Celtic's 1-1 draw against Italian league leaders Udinese Calcio, fellow Serie A side Palermo fc expressed an interest in Samaras. Georgios Samaras had been playing as a left midfielder in the previous few weeks, and the Daily Record (Scotland) said that Georgios Samaras good form since returning to the team had helped re-ignite Celtic's season. On 24 December, Samaras scored a brace as Celtic beat Kilmarnock 2-1.

International career

Samaras was eligible to play for Australia national football team. Georgios Samaras father Ioannis Samaras was born in Melbourne, but moved to Greece at the age of 13 and had a successful football career, playing for Panathinaikos F.C., and the Greek national team. Georgios Samaras grandfather (also Georgios) was one of the founding members of South Melbourne FC. Although technically eligible, the opportunity to play for Australia was never pursued as Samaras chose to play for the country of Georgios Samaras birth.

Georgios Samaras made Georgios Samaras debut for Greece national football team just a week after Georgios Samaras 21st birthday, on 28 February 2006 in a friendly game against Belarus national football team, in which Georgios Samaras scored the only goal of the game. Georgios Samaras featured in Greece's UEFA Euro 2008 qualifying and was a member of the unsuccessful Greek squad at the finals. Georgios Samaras scored Georgios Samaras fifth international goal with a overhead kick in a World Cup qualifier on 10 October 2009, against Latvia national football team in a 5–2 victory.

Samaras also played against Ukraine national football team in a World Cup Qualifying play-off, setting up the only goal of the tie, passing to Dimitris Salpigidis who slotted home to give Greece a 1–0 win and a place in the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

On 1 June 2010, Georgios Samaras was selected in the 23 man Greece squad for the World Cup. ESPN.com rated Georgios Samaras as Greece's second best player, only behind talisman Giorgos Karagounis. Georgios Samaras played in all three group matches.
On 17 November 2010, Samaras scored Georgios Samaras sixth international goal in a friendly against Austria national football team in Vienna with Greece winning the match 2–1. Samaras also set up Greece's second goal.

International goals


Style of play

Although predominantly a Striker (association football), Samaras can also play as a Left Midfielder. During Georgios Samaras time at Manchester City F.C. Samaras expressed Georgios Samaras disapointment at being used on the left of midfield too often, Georgios Samaras publicly said to manager Sven-Göran Eriksson; "I am not a left-midfielder, I am a striker and I like to play there," However, after Georgios Samaras move to Celtic, Samaras was more open to playing as a left midfielder. The Daily Mail said that this was because Georgios Samaras was happier at Celtic and more willing to be a team player.

Samaras has been described as the "complete forward", Georgios Samaras has all the abilities to perform every role when playing up front. Georgios Samaras height, 6ft 4in (1.93m), makes Georgios Samaras very difficult to handle in the air - and Georgios Samaras is also a very good header of the ball. This means Georgios Samaras can be used as an effective target man and Georgios Samaras team can hit long balls up to him. Georgios Samaras can also score from corners and crosses. Samaras is also very strong which further adds to Georgios Samaras phyisical presence and makes Georgios Samaras harder for defenders to play against.

Samaras is also a very good dribbler. This is due to Georgios Samaras skill, quick feet and agility. Georgios Samaras uses this to Georgios Samaras advantage as often goes on runs where Georgios Samaras beats several opposition players. However, Georgios Samaras can sometimes hold onto the ball for too long and get tackled. As well as Georgios Samaras dribbling ability, Georgios Samaras is very quick which means Georgios Samaras can beat players with Georgios Samaras pace. Georgios Samaras can also use Georgios Samaras strength to beat players as well and is also able to use Georgios Samaras creativity to set up goals for other players.

While Georgios Samaras was Man City, Samaras' manager Eriksson said that Georgios Samaras would only retain Georgios Samaras in the side if Georgios Samaras stopped dribbling and running out wide. Eriksson said that Georgios Samaras believed Samaras to be a very good header and Georgios Samaras had to stop believing Georgios Samaras was like Ronaldinho if Georgios Samaras was to become a good player.

International



Honours

Club

Celtic
- Scottish Premier League
- - Winner: Scottish Premier League 2007-08

- Scottish League Cup
- - Winner: 2009 Scottish League Cup Final

- Scottish Cup
- - Winner: 2011 Scottish Cup Final

Individual

- Scottish Premier League monthly awards
- - Winner: Scottish Premier League 2008–09 Monthly awards

Reference: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Georgios_Samaras

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