Fyssas ends up with Hearts

Scottish Premier League leaders Hearts added more depth to their ambitious squad after completing the signing of Greek star Takis Fyssas from Benfica yesterday. Hearts manager George Burley finally secured Fyssas’s signature after having chased the tough-tackling international left-back for some time. «We’re really pleased to bring in someone with such a fine pedigree,» said Burley, who, since taking over at Tynecastle, has made seven signings. Fyssas, 32, has played in the Champions League and was part of the Greece side which stunned football by winning the European Championships in 2004. «The lad has played in the Champions League and has won the European Championships,» Burley added. «I am sure he will prove to be a good signing.» The Athens-born defender started his career with Panionios, where he spent nine years, before signing for Panathinaikos in 1999 where he played Champions League football before moving to Benfica in December 2003. He won the Portuguese Cup in his first season with the Lisbon club, scoring a dramatic equalizer which paved the way for an extra-time triumph in the final. His arrival overshadowed the early capture of Gillingham goalkeeper Steve Banks. The experienced 33-year-old has been handed a two-year contract and is sure to put pressure on number-one stopper Craig Gordon. Burley said: «We needed to provide experienced backup for Craig Gordon, and Steve will do very well here at Hearts. The signing of Steve provides Hearts with good cover in this area of the side and that will be useful as the season goes on.» Hearts lead the league on goals difference ahead of reigning champions Rangers, although with only two league games played Burley’s side know the road to league success will be long. Fyssas’s former club, Panathinaikos, announced late on Monday it had signed Hungary striker Sandor Torghelle from Crystal Palace. The Athens club did not give further details. The 23-year-old Torghelle is set to replace Cyprus striker Michalis Constantinou, who moved to Panathinaikos’s archrival Olympiakos Piraeus two months ago. Panathinaikos, who were playing Wisla Krakow away late last night in a Champions League first-leg, third-qualifying-round fixture, finished second to Olympiakos in last season’s Greek league. (AFP/AP)