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Sotiris Ninis

Sotiris Ninis

Tipped for international superstardom when he first burst on to the scene with Panathinaikos FC and Greece Under-19s, Sotiris Ninis has struggled to live up to the hype but remains a highly gifted young footballer who could yet light up UEFA EURO 2012 with his tricks, dribbles and powerful long-range shooting.

• Born in Albania to Greek parents, he is a star graduate of the Panathinaikos youth academy and became the second youngest player to make a first-team appearance for the club when he featured against Egaleo FC on 7 January 2007; 20 days later he became the Greens' youngest scorer with a goal in a 2-0 defeat of Panionios GSS.

• Voted player of the tournament at the UEFA European Under-19 Championship in July 2007 − when Greece reached the final, losing 1-0 to Spain − his meteoric progress was halted by an injury-ridden 2007/08 campaign.

• Ended that season on a high, however, by scoring five minutes into his full international debut against Cyprus on 19 May 2008, thus becoming Greece's youngest goalscorer − at the age of 18 years and 46 days; there would be no place for him, though, at UEFA EURO 2008.

• After two fallow years he re-asserted himself in 2010, scoring his first European goal in a memorable 3-2 win at AS Roma in the UEFA Europa League and earning a place in Greece's FIFA World Cup squad; the youngest player in Otto Rehhagel's party, he made substitute appearances against Nigeria and Argentina.

• Made his UEFA Champions League debut in September 2010 against FC Barcelona and was fully integrated into the national team by new head coach Fernando Santos, making seven appearances in UEFA EURO 2012 qualifying and scoring his first competitive international goal to bring Greece a vital 1-0 win in Israel.

UEFA honours
UEFA European Under-19 Championship:
runner-up 2007

Last updated: 30/11/12 12.29CET

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