SPORTS

Big welcome for Gonzalez

More than 13,000 Panathinaikos fans attended yesterday’s friendly game with Apollon yesterday to get a first look at the abilities of Argentinean midfielder Ezequiel Gonzalez, whom Panathinaikos signed on Sunday. Gonzalez appeared to need some time to fit in with the team. He did show a few nice touches in the game: Playing on the left side at midfield, the 24-year-old was quick, defended his opponents closely and showed a good passing touch without keeping the ball too long. He is, however, unlikely to start in Panathinaikos’s next game, even if his clearance to play, the so-called «blue card,» arrives on time. He himself says he still feels the effects of jet lag after six days in Greece. Despite that, hundreds of fans stormed the pitch after the game, an easy 3-1 victory, to get a glimpse of their new idol. Someone got his uniform and others carried him to the locker room in triumph. Panathinaikos has provided no details of the contract but news reports said Gonzalez signed a two-and-a-half year deal with an annual salary of 800,000 euros. Gonzalez, who moved from Argentinean club Rosario Central, was welcomed at Athens Airport on Saturday by more than 300 Panathinaikos fans. He watched his first game Sunday, when Panathinaikos beat AEK 2-1.