We have so much in common with our Greek neighbours; history, cuisine, culture and passion for football. Despite so many commonalities, Greek players didn’t play in Turkish leagues until 2011.
Of course, we are not counting in Turkish players with Greek heritage like Lefter Küçükandonyadis, Niko Kovi, Kostas Kasapoğlu, Aleko Yordan, Alekos Sofianidis, Hristo Kostanda or Con Blatsis who represented Australia.
Let’s take a look at the 9 Greek football players who left a footprint in the Turkish leagues.
1- Theofanis Gekas
Theofanis Gekas, who transferred to Samsunspor for 300 thousand Euros between the half of the 2011-12 season, made history as the first Greek football player to play in the Super League . He became the first Greek football player to score 3 goals in a match in Turkey with a hat-trick in the Fenerbahçe match played on February 2, 2012.
Due to his humble nature and prolific football, Gekas became the fan’s favorite almost at every Turkish team he’s played for.
Overall Gekas scored 52 goals in 94 games for Samsunspor, Akhisar, Konyaspor, Eskisehirspor and Sivasspor.
2- Anastasios Bakasetas
Baka started his career in Turkey while playing for in Alanyaspor in the 2019-20 season. He caught the attention of big clubs in his first season by scoring 14 goals and providing 8 assists in 43 games. During the 2020-2021 winter transfer season, he was transferred to Trabzonspor for 3 million Euros .
It didn’t take too long for Bakasetas to make an impact at Trabzonspor as he managed to score 3 goals in the first 6 games.
Trabzonspor returned to the throne of Turkish football after many decades and an important part of its success is owed to the Greek footballer Anastasios Bakasetas, who made 41 participations in all competitions, contributing 9 goals and 8 assists.
Bakasetas was voted as the Best Greek Player Abroad for his incredible title winning season with Trabzonspor and his National Team performances.
3- Kostas Mitroglou
Mitrogoal, who was loaned from Marseille in the 2018-19 season, scored only 1 goal in the league with the Galatasaray jersey, but he became one of the most unforgettable football players of Galatasaray with that goal .
Mitroglou’s last-minute goal in a dramatic 1:0 triumph over Akhisarspor was one of the key moments for Galatasaray to win the championship.
Mitrogoal hasn’t been able to make his mark in Turkey with only two goals in nine appearances across all competitions, however he still manage to win two trophies as Galatasaray won both the Super Lig and the Turkish Cup.
4- Manolis Siopis
Siopis followed his compatriot Bakasetas from Alanyaspor to Trabzonspor.
Despite his small physique, his seemingly infinite energy both on and off the field, endeared him to Trabzonspor fans.
As well as his football, he is known for his dance moves. He danced “kolbasti”with team mate Abdulkadir and “zorba” with his daughter during championship celebrations.
The 28-year-old midfielder played 17 games for Trabzonspor this season. The Greek player remained on the field for 916 minutes.
5 – Dimitrios Pelkas
Fenerbahçe signed Dimitrios Pelkas from the Greek team PAOK at the beginning of 2020. He quickly became a fan’s favorite at Fenerbahçe with his football.
His magnificent goal against Trabzonspor is an example of his ability.
However the arrival of Mesut Ozil and Irfan Kahveci during the winter transfer window meant limited playing time for Pelkas and he was loaned to Hull City in the EFL Championship.
6- Georgios Tzavellas
Alanyaspor became a launching pad for Greek footballers in Turkey.
Experienced defender Tzavellas played a total of 127 matches for Alanyaspor in 4.5 years. During this time he scored 6 goals and provided 3 assists.
7 – Stelios Kitsiou
The solid right-back, who was transferred from PAOK to Ankaragücü for 300 thousand Euros 3 seasons ago, played a total of 75 matches providing 2 goals and 10 assists. He switched to Gaziantep in 2021 and has played 44 games for the club.
8- Giannis Maniatis
Another Alanyaspor player here. 50 times capped Giannis Maniatis played for Alanyaspor between 2019 and 2021.
9- Dimitris Kolovetsios
Experienced centre-back has been playing for Kayserispor since 2020. He has played 60 games and contributed with 2 goals.
10- Alexandros Katranis
The young left-back from Volos, played for Hatayspor on loan from Saint-Etienne in 2020-2021 season, netting one goal in 22 games.