Former Greek professional footballer who gave his heart for the Greek national team and was a part of the UEFA Euro 2004 winning squad, Giorgos Karagounis was born on March 6, 1977 in Pyrgos, Greece.
Giorgos Karagounis’ professional football career began in 1996 playing for Apollon Smyrnis, on loan from Panathinaikos. In his first few years with the Athens-based club, he showed signs of his talent- a very energetic centre midfield player who could also score goals.
After two seasons he returned to Panathinaikos in 1998, where he played until 2003 and made 118 league appearances.
During the summer transfer window, Karagounis signed for the Italian Serie A team Internazionale, however in his 2003/2004 season there he wasn’t given sufficient playing time on the field.
In 2005, Karagounis left Italy for Portugal, signing with Benfica. He played for them for two seasons before returning back to Greece in 2007 and re-joining Panathinaikos.
Karagounis played for Panathinaikos until 2012, and was apart of the team when they won the 2010 Superleague Greece and the Greek Cup. In September 2012 he moved to Fulham however in the summer of 2014, 37-year old Karagounis was one of nine players released by the club.
At international level, Giorgos Karagounis represented Greece between 1999-2014, earning his first cap for the Greece national team in 1999, in the match against El Salvador.
He was apart of the UEFA Euro 2004 winning squad and from then on he was the national team regular, taking part in major international tournaments.
The superstar midfielder was the Greek National Team captain in the 2010 FIFA World Cup, as well as for the UEFA Euro 2012 where he received two yellow cards forcing him to miss the quarter-finals and the 2014 World Cup.
Karagounis retired from international football after Greece’s World Cup elimination in 2014, with a penalty shootout loss to Costa Rica.
Even though Karagounis was short, he was largely known for his tough, gritty play on the field with his dribbling, and creative passing of the ball. He possessed a shooting ability from distance and combined his varied attacking talents with an aggression in midfield that made him able to win the ball back.
With 139 appearances over 15 years since making his debut in 1999, Giorgos Karagounis is the most capped player in the history of the Greece National Team.
Xronia Polla Giorgos, Happy 42nd Birthday!