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Giorgos Samaras

Published: Tuesday 17 January 2012, 14.00CET
Celtic FC
Published: Tuesday 17 January 2012, 14.00CET

Giorgos Samaras

Celtic FC

A tall target man who can also play in a wide midfield or winger role, Giorgos Samaras has a sure touch and is an expert at bringing others into play. He has never played domestic football in Greece but has now passed half a century of caps for his country and will attend his third major tournament at UEFA EURO 2012.

• Born on the island of Crete to an Australian-born father, Giannis, who played professionally for Panathinaikos FC and Greece (16 caps), Giorgos moved to the Netherlands at 16 and made his Eredivisie debut at 17 for sc Heerenveen.

• Generally a substitute for Heerenveen but managed 25 Eredivisie goals plus two in the UEFA Cup before crossing the North Sea to join Manchester City FC in January 2006.

• Handed his international debut a month later, in a friendly against Belarus in Cyprus, he was on target in his first two matches for Greece then played in eight UEFA EURO 2008 qualifiers before making just one 45-minute substitute appearance, against Sweden, at the finals.

• Left City for Celtic FC in a loan deal in January 2008 and scored five goals in the club's SPL title triumph; also appeared twice as substitute against FC Barcelona in his first taste of the UEFA Champions League.

• Signed permanently for the Bhoys and emerged as a key figure, scoring 15 league goals in 2008/09 and ten the following term, but was subsequently bedevilled by inconsistency as Celtic went three seasons without winning the league.

• Made three appearances for Greece at the 2010 World Cup and eight starts under new boss Fernando Santos during UEFA EURO 2012 qualifying, his one goal, in a 2-0 home win against Croatia, helping to cement the team's passage to Poland and Ukraine; won his 50th cap the following month in a friendly versus Russia.

Last updated: 20/01/12 14.40CET

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