SPORTS

Commitment until the very end

Swedish midfielder Par Zeterberg, who transferred to Olympiakos from Belgian club Anderlecht three years ago and has just rejoined his former club, will be able to look back at his tenure in the Greek league as a success, following a subdued beginning. The Swede, whose committed midfield play was instrumental in his side’s last two league title triumphs, needed to find his way after a confused first season. Olympiakos, too, needed to rebound from inconsistent play this year before eventually nudging Panathinaikos out of the top spot just two rounds before the season’s finale for a record seventh consecutive league title. In an interview with Kathimerini just prior to his departure, Zeterberg said he had remained unperturbed by the criticism directed against Olympiakos during the team’s poor phases which prompted four coaching changes at the club without, remarkably, marring the Piraeus side’s title campaign. «As for all the criticism about me, well, fortunately, I don’t read papers,» noted Zeterberg. «But I don’t have a problem, they can write whatever they like,» he added. Still feeling dismayed by their displacement from top spot in the second-to-last round following a heavy loss against Olympiakos, the players at Panathinaikos, frontrunner for most of the season, contend that Olympiakos is an unworthy champion. Zeterberg said he disagreed. «At some points, Panathinaikos may have played better than us, but what counts is who is in first place at the end of the season,» Zeterberg said. «The team that wins games deserves winning the league, even if some other team is performing better. The most important thing is to end first,» he added. Commenting on his side’s latest disappointing run in the Champions League, Zeterberg contended that Olympiakos became overconfident after an impressive opening with a 6-2 win against Leverkusen. He said players would need to change mentality if Olympiakos wants to figure in Europe. «Coaches need to work on this,» said Zeterberg. «I think Olympiakos’s roster is capable of registering away wins in Europe,» he added. Zeterberg, who signed his new contract with Anderlecht before the season was over, maintained his high standard of play at Olympiakos until the season’s end. The Swede implied that he could have stayed on at the Greek club. «When Anderlecht made an offer, Olympiakos showed no interest. I don’t regret decisions,» said Zeterberg. «Besides Anderlecht, I also had other offers, but it was an easy decision from the moment that Olympiakos did not react.»