SPORTS

Volleyball star heads for Italy

Since 1994, volleyball star Marios Giourdas’s name has been firmly associated with the triumphs of his club, Olympiakos. Over the ensuing nine-year period, the player, who felt deeply attached to his team, helped it rake in numerous titles. Despite his overwhelming commitment over the years, Giourdas recently signed with Italian club Parma, and, in an interview with Kathimerini, admits that the decision was not easy. During games, Giourdas tended to become one with the fans as they all got charged up together. Away from competition, he seems an entirely different man – mild and polite. At Olympiakos, Giourdas played a key role in helping the side win five league titles, four Greek Cup finals, and a European Cup Winners Cup. Giourdas says he found out about Parma’s interest following the domestic league’s completion. The Italian side made its offer soon after, which Giourdas describes as «very good.» Domestically, the best offer, he said, came from Thessaloniki club Iraklis, but the challenge of competing in the powerful Italian League eventually proved too much of a temptation. Now that you’ve left Olympiakos, what would you like to say to the youngsters who would go to games wearing jerseys with your name? I love them very much. I ask them to remain committed to the team and support it in the new season. You never hid the fact that you were a fan of Olympiakos. Considering your great love for the side, was there no offer for you to remain? And do you feel bitter now that other players are signing new deals? I neither felt embittered, nor did I get upset. I experienced gratifying and intense years at Olympiakos, which will remain embedded in my mind. Olympiakos wasn’t obliged to keep me, and I wasn’t obliged to stay. What was the greatest moment you experienced at Olympiakos? There were two. When we won the European title at the Peace and Friendship Stadium [in Faliron] and when I won my first-ever title: It was in Orestiada [in northern Greece] in 1997, after a three-year spell without a title. Your worst memory? When I got injured in a Champions League semifinal match in Opole, Poland, which deprived me of playing in the final, as well as the rest of the domestic competition, which we lost.