Karagounis has returned home, i.e. in the national team frame, with the Hellenic Football Federation (EPO) staging his official presentation on Friday without having a clear-cut job description for him yet, now that he has decided to hung up his boots at the age of 37 years. His new post is named “director of the federation”.
“I’m diving into deep water here, but then you journalists have always claimed I am a diver,” quipped Karagounis, who also praised national team coach Claudio Ranieri. He revealed that he will be assisted to his task by other members of the Euro 2004 winning squad.
“It was meant to be that I should remain at the national team,” said Karagounis, who also said that he has turned down the proposal for a testimonial in his honor: “The [federation] president proposed to me a friendly game for my departure, but I have now returned so I do not think such a thing is needed.”
The federation also confirmed that Karagounis will join a UEFA charity committee consisting of some of the soccer’s biggest names.
Just before the Karagounis presentation, the federation announced the squad that Ranieri has chosen for the Euro 2016 qualifiers on October 11 and 14 against Finland and Northern Ireland respectively.
Despite leading the scorers’ chart in the Turkish league, Fanis Gekas has once again been omitted, as Ranieri opted instead for Panathinaikos’s Nikos Karelis.
The full squad is as follows:
- Goalkeepers: Orestis Karnezis, Panayiotis Glykos, Stefanos Kapino and Sokratis Dioudis.
- Defenders: Vassilis Torosidis, Loukas Vintra, Jose Holebas, Costas Manolas, Sokratis Papastathopoulos, Vangelis Moras, Costas Stafylidis and Yiannis Skondras – a last-minute replacement for injured Avraam Papadopoulos.
- Midfielders: Yiannis Maniatis, Costas Fortounis, Panayiotis Tachtsidis, Andreas Samaris, Alexandros Tziolis, Panayiotis Kone, Charis Mavrias, and Lazaros Christodoulopoulos who is also injured but will undergo a medical on Monday.
- Forwards: Dimitris Salpingidis, Costas Mitroglou, Nikos Karelis, Stefanos Athanasiadis and Giorgos Samaras.