Theofanis Gekas

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Fanis Gekas playing for Panathinaikos

Theofanis Gekas (Greek: Θεοφάνης Γκέκας, born May 23, 1980 in Larissa, Greece) is a retired footballer. He has been very successful being top goalscorer of the Greek League (17 goals) in 2005 and runner-up in 2006 (15 goals). He has also won 78 caps of the Greek National Team, scoring 24 goals which leaves him at #3 on the list of alltime top scorers for the Ethniki. Gekas has been described as a prolific forward with a vision for goal.

In Greece

Theofanis Gekas started his professional career at his local club AE Larisa FC. (Greek Second Division) After three years there, he moved to Kallithea FC in the summer of 2001. In his first season Kallithea was promoted to the Greek first division. Gekas had scored 30 goals in 87 second division matches.

Gekas kept scoring goals, so the Greek top clubs became interested in him. After scoring 32 goals in 73 matches, Gekas moved to Panathinaikos during the 2005 winter break. At his new club Gekas kept up scoring and became top goal scorer of the Greek league in 2005. (17 goals) He shot into the national squad, where he made his debut in the 2-0 World Cup qualifying victory against Albania in March 2005, despite never having represented the Greek national side at junior level. In the Confederations Cup 2005 Gekas was part of the team of the European champion.

With Panathinaikos, Gekas scored 23 goals in 41 appearances. In the season 2005/2006 Gekas made his debut in the UEFA Champions League and came second in the Greek top goalscorers list.

Abroad

Gekas celebrates a goal for Bochum

The German Second division club VfL Bochum was already interested in Gekas in the spring of 2006, but Panathinaikos wanted 1.5 Million Euro for its forward which was too much money for the German club.

But in the summer of 2006 Panathinaikos signed Greek top scorer Dimitris Salpigidis from PAOK Thessaloniki (One of the reasons was that Gekas didn’t want to sign a long-term contract). As part of the deal Gekas would be transferred to PAOK. But Gekas refused to be transferred to the club. Panathinakos owner Giorgos Vardinogiannis felt personally insulted and loaned Gekas to newly-promoted VfL Bochum for only 300,000 Euro.

VfL Bochum were fighting against relegation that season, but in a short period Gekas became one of the stars of the team and popular among the fans. He scored 20 goals in the league in 30 games and two in the cup. Coach Marcel Koller described him in November 2006 as their "life insurance."

Gekas gathered the second largest number of votes, in a poll of German footballers, for Bundesliga MVP, after Werder Bremen's Diego.

Bayer Leverkusen acquired him after the 2007 season. In January 2009, he was loaned out to English club Portsmouth until the end of the season. In December of that same year he was loaned out to Hertha Berlin, until the end of the 2009-2010 season, in their attempt to stay in the top-flight of German football.

In May 2010, Gekas signed for Eintracht Franfurt. He scored a total of 23 goals in 48 appearances for Eintracht and then, on January 7, 2012, Gekas made history when he became the first footballer from Greece to sign for a Turkish club - Samsunspor. His spells at clubs became shorter and shorter as he played for Levante (Spain), Akhisar Belediyespor (Turkey), Konyaspor (Turkey), again Akhisar Belediyespor, Eskisehirspor (Turkey), Sion (Switzerland) and Sivasspor (Turkey) till he retired in 2017.

Trivia

  • Gekas was a successful Greco-Roman wrestler in his youth. But his father advised him to concentrate on football.
  • Gekas is the only of two players to have topped the Greek scoring charts in a season in which he played for two teams.

Links

A portion of content for this article is credited to Wikipedia. Content under GNU Free Documentation License(GFDL)