Kostas Nestoridis - The Greek Football Legend

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Kostas Nestoridis was born on the 15th of March, 1930. He is a Greek former professional footballer, who played as a forward and a former manager. He is amongst the best players in the history of the AEK football team and one of the greatest ever players and scorers in Greek football.

Kostas Nestoridis was the youngest of three children of the Pontian Greek Giorgos and Kyriaki who arrived in Thrace as refugees after the Asia Minor disaster. He and his siblings, Christos and Nopi, experienced intensely the financial misery and the struggles of refugee life during their childhood. The work difficulties that his parents repeatedly faced, affected the young Nestoridis and were several times the criteria for any decisions during his football career. Nestoridis traveled from the dirt roads of Drama to the fields of Kallithea region where his family was forced to move in search of work and then to the fields of Preveza city, where they took refuge during The Occupation.

In 1950 Nestoridis volunteered for the Air Force to play for the Greek Military team, where he started scoring a lot of goals and participated in the CISM Football Cup. At the end of his two-year term, he declared another four years as recalled and remained in the army for a total of six years. However, in a match against the Italian Military team in 1956, a political issue arose regarding how an ordinary soldier without being an officer participated in the Military team for so many years. He was then offered a job in the Air Force, but he refused and withdrew from the Military team.

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Was life easy or difficult for you during childhood since you came from a refugee family and your family went after a new start in Greece?

The first few years were very difficult... The war came and it became even more difficult. Starvation was the biggest problem.

Imagine that from an early age, I worked as a shoeshiner to contribute to the family finances.


At what age do you remember yourself playing football?

I would say five or six years old from a very young age. My mother made me a ball out of rags because there were no balls at the time. I played with it until it was ripped and I went back to my mother to fix it for me. During the German Occupation, I was playing with the ball when I was noticed by Italian soldiers, they were watching what stunts I was doing with the ball and they gave me candies, chocolates and bread.

Does football have changed in our days?

Of course, it has changed. In the past, we trained twice or three times and we used to work in the morning. I would say we were more talented; today you have to be a professional athlete first. We prepared everything for the next generation of footballers to enter and enjoy this profession.

How would you describe the past and the present of football? Have the fans of the teams become more fanatic compared to that in the past and what is the reason for this?

It's very different, in the old days the fans used to see a football match side by side. 

Can you express how you felt during the inauguration of "OPAP ARENA", the AEK football team event at the new stadium in Nea Philadelphia?

Emotions…When on this field as a player and as a coach you have gone through so much. Joy, sorrow, injuries, celebrations of everything; all this goes through my mind for a moment and I wanted to run to get a ball and send the ball into the goalpost to hear this familiar word "Goal" once again.  I will never forget that evening. The fans were shouting my name and there for a moment I thought I had a match. I thank the whole world from the bottom of my heart!

How many years did you stay in the AEK ?

As a player and coach 15 years. Despite the fact that so many years have passed by, the love of the people remains with me until today. 

Do you think AEK team plays good football today?

I believe that it plays the best and most spectacular football of today; and it's just the beginning. Our president Dimitris Melissanidis will make it possible for our team to be in the first league in Greece and competitive in Europe.

What would you advise the fans of all teams?

I want to tell them that football is the most beautiful sport in the world.


Looking back in your life what would you say that you have gained and you are proud of?

What I gained from football was not money; I didn't play for it. I gained respect, glory and love from all the players of all teams and of course all the fans until today. Again, I would like to express my gratitude to the fans from the bottom of my heart.

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