SPORTS

Star striker defers his retirement for 6 months

Contrary to developments announced on Monday, Panathinaikos’s record-breaking striker Krzysztof Warzycha will see the current season through at the club. The 39-year-old Warzycha, who has broken both scoring and appearance records at Panathinaikos over a 14-year career at the club, was expected to announce his retirement from the game yesterday, but instead was persuaded by club officials to stay on for a further six months. His previous contract expires today. The Polish striker, who holds the club’s all-time scoring record with an average of approximately a goal every two games in over 500 games in league, cup and European competition, agreed to stay on for an additional six months following talks yesterday with club president Argyris Mitsou and leading official Velimir Zajec. «I went to the meeting having made up my mind to stop playing soccer. But the people at Panathinaikos persuaded me to stay on and showed that they needed me,» said Warzycha, who in more recent years has joined teammates as a substitute with his phenomenal scoring ability intact. «I was moved by the interest they showed. I saw real interest in these people and could not say no to their offer of staying on until the summer,» added the widely popular and inspirational veteran. The short-term contract’s financial terms, Warzycha said, were not a factor in his decision to carry on. «We didn’t even discuss the financial side. Honestly, it does not interest me at this stage. As I said, I was kept by the interest shown by the people at Panathinaikos,» he said. Warzycha, who has netted 244 goals in the Greek League – all with Panathinaikos – 16 less than the record’s retired holder, Thomas Mavros, broke the Athens club’s European appearance record two seasons ago after notching up a 56th appearance against Real Mallorca in a Champions League game. When retirement eventually does come his way, Warzycha is expected to assume other peripheral responsibilities at the club. He expressed a wish to end his career with a league title at Panathinaikos. After narrowly missing out on winning the Greek League last season, despite leading most of the way, Panathinaikos is currently placed second, four points behind front runner and defending champion Olympiakos, at the season’s halfway mark.