Zagorakis set to join PAOK

The national team’s captain Theodoros Zagorakis appears headed for Thessaloniki club PAOK, one of his former clubs, after the player’s recently relegated Italian team Bologna agreed yesterday to release the player. The 33-year-old’s contract with Bologna was due to expire next June. Zagorakis, who joined Bologna from Athens club AEK after leading Greece to last summer’s Euro 2004 triumph, is expected to sign a two-year deal with PAOK tomorrow worth approximately 450,000 euros in annual fees, reports said. The Greek skipper, who was voted the most valuable player at last year’s Euro 2004 tournament and was included in the competition’s all-star team, opted to break his contract and deprive himself of fees rather than carry on with Bologna, his manager said. In an announcement posted on the player’s website yesterday, Zagorakis thanked the Italian club for its support and wished it a quick return to Serie A, Italy’s first division. According to the player’s manager, Bologna was keen to carry on working with Zagorakis, but the player was determined to return to Greece. PAOK’s president Yiannis Youmenos said yesterday’s release of the player by Bologna paved the way for his return to PAOK. «The end of his contract with Bologna paves the way for the player to move to PAOK. It’s a great honor for PAOK to add Zagorakis to its roster,» Youmenos said. Zagorakis spent six years with PAOK between 1992 and 1998 before transferring to English club Leceister City for a couple of seasons. He then moved back to Greece to play with AEK for four years before joining Bologna last season. Youmenos said that Zagorakis had already agreed to the terms of his new contract with PAOK. «We’ve already agreed to the terms. We put in a lot of effort for this transfer, but certain friends also helped,» Youmenos said. «We’ve waited for Theodoros Zagorakis to join us and strengthen PAOK.»

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