Now in his 18th year as a professional footballer, Giorgos Karagounis has quite a story to tell. From humble beginnings in Greece to strutting his stuff in the centre of the park in SW6, it’s been a remarkable journey.
Glugging from a sports drink, Giorgos Karagounis settles back in his chair and reflects on a fine debut season in England. Despite his, how shall we say, advancing years, the man from the sunshine of Greece slotted straight into life at the Cottage. Arriving on a free transfer in September 2012 after departing Panathinaikos, the veteran would go on to surprise many with his youthful exuberance on the pitch - as testified by his 28 appearances for the Whites in all competitions last term.
“I think it was a good season and a great experience for me,” he told Fultime. “Compared to Greece, Italy and Portugal, football over here is played in better grounds and there’s a great atmosphere at the games. The Premier League is most certainly the best in the world.
“What this league offers you, you can’t find anywhere else. The organisation, the grounds and the facilities that each team has allows you to play under the best circumstances every week. Playing over here, there are no excuses for not preparing well in your preparation for a game.
“I wouldn’t call it a culture shock but it’s hugely different. The whole set-up is far more organised here - there’s no comparison really. And how English people see football generally is vastly different."
While some of the more skilful players in the world strut their stuff in this country's top flight, Karagounis has eased himself into the hustle-and-bustle side of the Premier League with something of an old-school English style.
“Yes, I do like the way my game has fitted in here,” he said. “On many occasions the referees don’t stop the games and the matches have good pace and rhythm. That kind of football suits my style and I like it very much over here.”
To read the full interview with Giorgos, as well as in-depth discussion from Shahid Khan, Martin Jol, Darren Bent, Adel Taarabt, Luis Boa Morte, Tony Gale and Josh Pritchard, be sure to pick up your copy of Issue 42 of Fultime magazine. There's also the chance to win a copy of Football Manager 2014 and FIFA 14.
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