SPORTS

Dellas parts ways with Roma, reports claim

Towering central defender Traianos Dellas and struggling Serie A club Roma have parted ways, according to reports published yesterday by Italian sports websites. Dellas, a key element of Greece’s solid defensive play that proved instrumental to the national team’s sensational Euro 2004 triumph in Portugal last summer, is believed to be seriously considering an offer extended by the leading Scottish club Glasgow Rangers. Certain insiders contend the deal has already been sealed. Should the move to the Glasgow club proceed, Dellas would join his compatriot Sotiris Kyrgiakos there in its defensive line. The 31-year-old defender’s reported departure from Roma, whose recently dreadful run of results has dropped the renowned Italian club close to the Italian league’s relegation zone, comes as the latest in his series of relatively short stints spent at various clubs. Dellas joined Roma for the 2003-04 season after playing just a handful of games with Perugia in Italy. He notched up 14 games in his first season with Roma, which finished runners-up to AC Milan. The Greek national team’s astonishing Euro 2004 triumph in Portugal a little less than a year ago helped boost the defender’s reputation abroad, including the high-caliber Italian league. But even so, Dellas failed to cement his place as a regular starter at Roma this season. Dellas had launched his career abroad in the summer of 1997 with a transfer from Thessaloniki team Aris to English club Sheffield United. The Greek defender spent close to three seasons there, returned to Greece for 40 games with AEK, and then took off again for his crack at Italian soccer. It remains uncertain whether Dellas, currently injured and set to undergo hernia repair surgery in Greece within the next few days, will be ready for the national team’s crucial World Cup qualifier against Turkey in Istanbul on June 4. Greece is placed second, three points behind the European zone’s Group 2 leader Ukraine, and greets the front-runner four days later. Turkey is third, two points behind Greece. Besides the uncertainty of Dellas’s selection against Turkey, coach Otto Rehhagel will need to cope without captain Thodoris Zagorakis, suspended for a game. Yesterday, Rehhagel called up a new face to the Greek squad, central defender Stathis Tavlaridis of French club Lille.