Kleanthis Maropoulos

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Born in Tuzla, Asia Minor, in 1919, Kleanthis Maropoulos was arguably the best player of his period (late 1930s - early 1950s) known affectionately as the "Blond Eagle of AEK".

Maropoulos came to Greece with his family at age 3 - after the Asia Minor Disaster and settled in Kalamata. At age 12 he joined the local football club Prasina Poulia. When his parents moved to Kalogreza in the Athens area, he signed for Ethnikos Kalogreza. In 1934, he was spotted by AEK who placed him in their youth team. In 1936, he was promoted to the first team.

Led by Maropoulos, alongside players like Tryfon Tzanetis and Kostas Negrepontis, AEK won their first two championships in 1939 and 1940 including the first domestic double by a Greek club.

Unfortunately, the glory years of AEK and Maropoulos were interrupted by the World War II. He continued his career after the war and played until 1952. He is credited with scoring 253 goals, 97 of which he attained prior to the war.

Maropoulos was capped 10 times by the National Football Team of Greece and scored one goal in those matches. He subsequently managed the Greek National Team in the early 1960s before retiring altogether from football to manage his sporting goods stores. He died on January 3, 1991.