Sotiris Ninis: Born with talent, blighted by injury

ninis 244x300 Sotiris Ninis: Born with talent, blighted by injurySotiris Ninis is regarded as one of Greece’s best young players. He’s an exciting, agile attacking midfielder who became the youngest ever player to be chosen captain of his club, at the age of 18 years and 125 days.

The prodigious Panathinaikos starlet, who has played for the Green’s since joining their youth set-up in 2003, has been watched by hundreds of scouts from European powerhouses with Arsenal, Manchester United and Real Madrid all tracking the 21-year-old in recent seasons.

Those addicted to PC game Football Manager will know him as the ‘playmaker’ with so much promise, while the same has been said by many experts within the Greek game, who feel he is a ‘youngster’ yet to reach his full potential.

High expectations

However, injury problems have certainly hampered Ninis’ long-term development, the most recent blow coming in September when he tore his anterior cruciate ligament while on national team duty, keeping him out of action until the end of January next year.

Besides injury worries and having to live up to the ‘Greek Messi’ tag, the imminent takeover of Panathinaikos by Saudi Prince Sultan al-Saud has thrown his own future into even more doubt. There have even been suggestions that midfield marquee signings such as Ronaldinho could become reality if the Prince puts his money where his mouth is.

Despite becoming a fans favourite at the Athens-based side, Ninis’ contract runs out next year prompting fresh speculation that he could be preparing himself for a big-money move to a European side.

He’s still got plenty of time left to find that ‘ideal’ European move, but it essentially relies on two main factors; finding consistency in his game and keeping fit long-term. What you can be sure of however, is that Sotiris Ninis is a supremely gifted footballer who is almost guaranteed to make a name for himself on the grand stage – it’s just a matter of time.

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