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Nikos Liberopoulos

Published: Thursday 31 May 2012, 18.55CET
AEK Athens FC
Published: Thursday 31 May 2012, 18.55CET

Nikos Liberopoulos

AEK Athens FC

A veteran striker now in his 17th year of senior international service, Nikos Liberopoulos is still going strong at 36 and, against all odds, has been included in Greece's UEFA EURO 2012 squad after a fine swansong season with AEK Athens FC. He has been voted Greece's player of the year on three occasions.

• Born in Filiatra on the Peloponnese peninisula, he made his debut in the Greek top flight with 11 goals for Kalamata FC in 1995/96 and won his first cap  – against Israel – in the same season.

• Joined Panathinaikos FC in 1996 and remained with the Athens club for seven seasons but without winning a major trophy; peaked with 23 league goals in 1999/2000, during which he established himself as a regular for Greece with five goals – all in friendlies.

• Lost his international place when Otto Rehhagel took over and played no part in UEFA EURO 2004 – either qualifiers or finals – despite topping the 2002/03 Greek Super League scoring charts with 16 goals; enjoyed a successful reintroduction to the national team, scoring three important goals in UEFA EURO 2008 qualifying and making his major tournament bow at the finals against Russia.

• Left Panathianikos for AEK in 2003 and was an immediate success; went on to win the Super League top scorer crown again in 2006/07 (18 goals) before finally moving abroad, aged 32, where he spent two seasons in the German Bundesliga with Eintracht Frankfurt.

• Returned to AEK in 2010 and finally won the first major trophy of his career when the Athens club captured the Greek Cup, beating Atromitos FC 3-0 in the final – he opened the scoring and was voted man of the match; prominent again in 2011/12, registering seven league goals and another three in the play-offs.

Last updated: 02/06/12 15.16CET

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