Monday, November 24, 2014

Southeast Europe (Turkey, Greece and Albania) All-time best XI


This is my all-time team for Southeast Europe (Turkey, Greece and Albania). If there were an All-Time World Cup, this would be the 23 players I would bring to the tournament.  

Please also see my All-Time World Cup Team Index.


Greece 2004
This is my all-time 23-member team for Southeast Europe (Balkan Peninsula), excluding the former republics of Yugoslavia, Romania and Bulgaria. I have done a separated entries for them. I also did an all-time team for Turkey and an all-team form the former republics of Yugoslavia, excluding Serbia and Croatia.

Greece first qualified for a major tournament at the Euro 1980.  Fourteen years later, they went undefeated in the World Cup qualifying rounds in 1994, but had a poor WC Finals in the US. Then, in 2004, they went into Euro 2004 as the second least favorite to win the tournament.  They pulled upset after upset.  They won the tournament as the biggest surprise in football history.

Turkey also did not have a long history in football.  In the 2000's, they produced a Golden Generation.  Helped by the arrival  of German-born Turks, they came third at the WC in 2002. 

Turkey 2002

Team
GK: Nikos Sarganis (Greece)
In 1980, he shocked Greek football by leading Kastoria to victory in the Greek Cup.  He played with both Olympiakos and Panathinaikos.  He was capped 48 times.


He is regarded among the best Greek goalkeepers of all time having been awarded the most caps in the national team and playing an integral part in the UEFA Euro 2004 triumph.  He was the starting Greek keeper during the European Championship in 2004, where he was also voted goalkeeper of the Euro 2004 All Star team.  He played with both Olympiakos and Panathinaikos. 

GK:  Rustu Recber (Turkey)
He is Turkey's record appearance holder, having earned 120 caps.  The starting keeper for Turkey at the World Cup in 2002.  He was selected to the all-tournament team.   He played as a goalkeeper for Antalyaspor, Fenerbahçe, Barcelona and Beşiktaş.  

Rustu Recber
CB/RB:  Giourkas Seitaridis (Greece)
He was part of their team which won Euro 2004, for which he was voted into the Team of the Tournament.  He was capped 72 times.   He has last played in 2013 for Greek Superleague side Panathinaikos, having played previously at PAS Giannina, Porto, Dynamo Moscow and Atlético Madrid. 

RB: Ümit Davala (Turkey)
He was in the squad of Euro 2000 and the 2002 FIFA World Cup. He was a great player at Galatasaray.  He also had stints with both AC Milan and Inter Milan.


CB: Traianos Dellas (Greece)
He impressed during Greece's victory at the European Championship in 2004, during which he became the only player to score a silver goal in an international football match. He earned the nickname 'the Colossus of Rhodes'.  He played for many clubs.  In Greece, he was associated with AEK Athens.

CB: Stelios Manolas (Greece)
He was capped 71 times by Greece, as well as being one of only a few Greek footballers to have played his entire professional career for a single club - AEK Athens FC. He was considered the greatest Greek defender ever.  He played at the WC Finals in 1994.

CB: Basri Dirimlili (Turkey)
He was regarded among the greatest Turkish defender.  Dirimlili began playing football for Eskişehir Demirspor. He transferred to Fenerbahçe in 1951. He played 26 times for Turkey and was a member of 1952 National Olympic Team and the 1954 FIFA World Cup team.

SW: Fatih Terim (Turkey) 
He played for theTurkey 51 times between 1974 and 1985 and was the national team captain for 35 international games, setting the national record in both categories at that time. He ended his playing career at Galatasaray in 1985. 

He is the only player in PAOK FC history that has won 4 titles, being part of the squad that won 2 cups in 1972 and 1974 and the 1976 and 1985 Greek league, being also captain in the latter.  He participated in UEFA Euro 1980.

LB: Grigoris Georgatos (Greece)
He spent most of his career with Olympiakos, but also played in Italy for Inter Milan and for AEK Athens.  Georgatos also earned 35 caps and scored 3 goals for the Greek national team having debuted on 6 September 1995. 
  
DM: Theodoros Zagorakis (Greece)
He was the captain of the Greece national team that won the 2004 UEFA European Football Championship and he won Player of the Tournament.  Professionally, he played for AOK and AEK Arthens in Greece. He also had brief stints in England and Italy.

Theodoros Zagorakis

DM: Emre Belozoglu (Turkey)
In Turkey, he spent most of his career with Fenerbahçe and Galatasaray. His past clubs also included Inter Milan, Newcastle United and Atlético Madrid.  He won the UEFS Cup in 1999 with Galatasaray.  He played with Turkey that went to the semi-finals at the 2002 World Cup and at Euro 2008.


Emre Belozoglu


CM: Yıldıray Baştürk (Turkey)
Born in Germany of Turkish ancestry.   He is best remembered for his most successful years at Leverkusen. He was the playmaker of a great Leverkusen that finished second in the German league, the German Cup and the 2002 Champions League Final.  That same year, he led Turkey to the semi-final of the WC in Japan/Korea.

RM/CM:  Hamit Altıntop (Turkey)
He is a versatile player who can play in various position.  He played for Schalke 04, Bayern Munich, Real Madrid and now Galatasaray.  He helped Turkey to reach the senifinal at the Euro 2008, where he was voted into the all-tournament team.

LW: Vassilis Hatzipanagis (Greece)
Born in the USSR of Greek refugees, he played for the Soviet Olympic team.  He was highly rated in the Soviet Union. He returned to Greece in 1976, where he played Greece for one friendly march.  He was considered to be Greece's greatest player and was elected as Greece's UEFA Jubilee Player.


SS: Giorgos Sideris (Greece)
He is considered one of the greatest forwards in Olympiakos and Greek football history.  He finished second as the European Golden Boot in 1969. 

SS: Lefter Küçükandonyadis (Turkey)
He is regarded as one of the greatest footballers to play for Fenerbahçe and Turkey. He was one of the first Turkish footballers to play abroad, playing during 1951–1953 for Fiorentina in Italy and OGC Nice in France. He scored 22 goals for the national team and was the top scorer for Turkey until overtaken by Hakan Şükür. He was the first Turkish football player to receive the "Golden Honor medal", from the Turkish Football Federation, for having played for the National Selection in 50 international matches.

FW: Panajot Pano (Albania)
He was considered to be Albania's greatest player and was elected as its UEFA Jubilee Player.  He started his career with SK Tirana, but played most of his career with its rival Partizani Tirana.

Panajot Pano

ST: Hakan Sukur (Turkey)
Nicknamed the "Bull of the Bosphorus". He is the all-time leading scorer for Turkey.  He represented Turkey at UEFA Euro 1996 , Euro 2000  and the 2002 FIFA World Cup.  He helped Galatasaray to win the first European trophy for a Turkish club when it won the UEFA Cup in 1999.

ST: Angelos Charisteas (Greece)
He was capped 88 times by Greece, scoring 25 goals. He was a member of the UEFA Euro 2004 winning team, scoring three goals, including the winning goal in the final against Portugal. He also represented Greece in Euro 2008 and the 2010 World Cup. 

ST/FW: Nikos Anastopoulos (Greece)
With 29 goals he is the all time highest scorer for the Greek national football team.  He was most prominently played professionally for Olympiakos where he won 4 league titles.


ST: Zeki Rıza Sporel (Turkey) 
He played and scored in the country's first international match against Romania in 1923. He spent his entire career at Fenerbahçe scoring over 470 goals for them.

Honorable Mention
GK: Turgay Seren (Turkey), DM: Altin Lala (Albania), DM: Lorik Cana (Albania), ST: Metin Oktay(Turkey), ST: Tanju Colak (Turkey), AM: Mimis Domazos (Greece), FW: Arda Turan (Turkey), LW/ST:  Giorgos Karagounis (Greece), FW: Loro Boriçi (Albania), LW/FW: Thomas Mavros(Greece) 

Squad Explanation 
  • Greece and Turkey have done very well since the turn of the century.  Turkey reached the semifinal of the WC Finals in 2002 and Greece won the European Championship in 2004. Several players were selected just for their performance in those campaigns.  They probably have done more for their countries in those few games than the other players in their lifetime.   
  • Vassilis Hatzipanagis played twice for Greece which qualified him to be on this all-time squad. I have only selected one Albanian for this team.
 


Starting lineup
Formation 4-3-3



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