Erdoğan called and congratulated Fatih Terim on becoming Panathinaikos manager

Fatih Terim, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan

In the revelation about the congratulatory phone call he received from Recep Tayyip Erdoğan after finalising his deal with Panathinaikos, Fatih Terim proceeded with his statements to the Sabah newspaper shortly after he arrived in Athens.

The experienced coach said that he wants to win the championship with his new team, emphasising: "As far as I know, Panathinaikos has not won a championship for years. Wherever I go, I go to win, and I don't just put my signatures on the paper... I do everything with my heart."

"There is a rivalry between four teams, our opponents are both qualified and strong, I respect them. As Panathinaikos, we want the championship, we want success in Europe, so the goals are clear. We had a meeting with the president on this matter," he continued.

"Of course, I watch the Greek championship. I know Panathinaikos, Olympiacos and AEK. I know all the teams, but I don't have full control, so I want to meet the team as soon as possible, see our weaknesses and work on them," added Terim.

At the end, he made the revelation: "I just arrived, I received a phone call from President Erdoğan, and he congratulated me on this move."

Panathinaikos announced on Tuesday the sudden departure of manager Ivan Jovanovic and his replacement with legendary Turkey coach Fatih Terim.

After two-and-a-half years at the helm of Panathinaikos, the Serb, one of the most popular coaches this century among Panathinaikos supporters, was shown the door on Tuesday.

Jovanovic led Panathinaikos to its best performances in the last decade at least, winning the Greek Cup in 2022, finishing winter champion (the unofficial title for the team that tops the league at its halfway point) in the last couple of seasons, securing a record run of 12 wins and one draw in the first half of the 2022-23 season, and taking the Greens to the Europa League group stage this year.

Above all he ensured Panathinaikos produced some football that was attractive to watch and came within a whisker from the league title last season, when the club led the standings until half of its team had Covid two games before the end and was still forced to play Olympiacos away.

In a statement Panathinaikos thanked Jovanovic for his contribution in the club, adding that the Panathinaikos door will always be open for him.

Reports link the Serb’s sacking with the elimination from Europe after the home loss to Maccabi Haifa earlier this month.

Alongside the surprise from the news of Jovanovic’s dismissal, came the news of the hiring of Fatih Terim which the 70-year-old Turk first confirmed before its was announced by the club.

Terim, out of work for almost two years has been a legend in Turkish football, having had as many as three spells at the bench of the Turkish national team leading it to the semifinals of the European Championship, and four spells at Galatasaray leading it to the triumph at the UEFA Cup in 2000 beating Arsenal in the final.

The “Emperor,” as his nickname is, arrived in Athens on Wednesday for his first training session with the Panathinaikos players

Notably Panathinaikos basketball club has also hired the best known Turkish coach in the sport, Ergin Ataman, since last summer.

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