Celebrated for the excellent man-marking job he carried out on Lionel Messi while playing against Argentina at the 2010 FIFA World Cup, Sokratis Papastathopoulos is a muscular, abrasive defender who played a leading role in Greece's successful UEFA EURO 2012 qualification.
• A scorer on his debut for AEK Athens FC in a Greek Cup game, he had a spell in the second division on loan at Niki Volou FC before making his Super League debut in 2006/07, when he also accrued three appearances in the UEFA Champions League, one of which brought a famous 1-0 win against AC Milan.
• Helped AEK finish Super League runners-up twice and the UEFA Cup round of 32 in 2007/08 before leaving for Italy shortly after his 20th birthday and joining Genoa CFC.
• The captain of the Greek Under-19 team that reached the 2007 European final in Austria, he was handed his first senior cap in February 2008 but did not appear at UEFA EURO 2008 despite being voted Greece's young player of the year.
• Impressed in Serie A with Genoa, making 51 league appearances for the club − plus five in Europe − before representing Greece at the 2010 World Cup, his place in the team having been cemented by two excellent displays in the qualifying play-off against Ukraine.
• Joined Milan after the World Cup but was unable to break into Massimiliano Allegri's Scudetto-winning team, making just five league outings and none in Europe, before returning to Genoa and being despatched on a season loan in 2011/12 to SV Werder Bremen.
• Despite his troubles at Milan he remained key to Greece's UEFA EURO 2012 qualifying bid and started eight of the ten matches, in which the team conceded just four goals.
UEFA European Under-19 Championship: runner-up 2007
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