Stelios Giannakopoulos started his football career with Ethnikos Asteras, continued at Paniliakos and in the summer of 1996 he made a big transfer to Olympiacos.
In Piraeus he won the Greek championship for 7 consecutive years, while he also reached the quarterfinals of the Champions League (1998-1999).
After a decade in Greece, he played abroad - in the Premier League when he joined Bolton in 2003, followed by Hull and Larissa.
Undoubtedly the best moment in his career was the conquest of the European Football Championship in 2004, a moment that every Greek will remember.
"From Euro 2004, I will never forget when the referee whistled the final with Portugal," he said.
EURO 2020, taking place in a few days time instead of last year due to COVID-19, will not have the presence of the National Greek Team, but Stelios is optimistic that the "blue and white" will return to the big events.
"I want to believe that Greece will return to the big events. I am optimistic," said the former international who made 77 appearances and 12 goals for the national team.
The "blue and white" made one of the biggest surprises in the history of world football and many teams use it as an example to reach the coveted cup.
But what does a national team need to reach the top?
"In order for a team to win the European Championship, it must be the best team in the tournament. That is all that is needed," pointed out Giannakopoulos.
EURO 2020 is one of the most difficult tournaments to predict since most of the "big" teams are present and it does not seem that one is one step ahead of another.
"I think that there are many good teams in this year's event and it will hardly be a surprise," Giannakopoulos said, adding: "At Euro 2020, there are many good teams."
"Which is the best team in Euro 2020 is a very good question. There is no team that will be day and night with the rest and stand out. There is no first favorite to conquer. There is no big favorite for the event, everyone can conquer it," concluded Giannakopoulos.
This article first appeared in Greek on Sputnik.
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