Karagounis back at Panathinaikos

Greece midfielder Giorgos Karagounis has agreed to return to Panathinaikos after a four-year spell playing club-level soccer with Inter Milan and Benfica. Local reports said the player, whose fearless play helped the national team to its astonishing Euro 2004 win in Portugal, was likely to sign a three-year deal yesterday and commence training with Panathinaikos today. Karagounis, 30, battled in his first of two years at Benfica but cemented his place last season. Portuguese sports media reported that the Greek midfielder paid his way out of the remainder of his contract with Benfica for 100,000 euros. Also, at the demand of Benfica’s administration, Karagounis committed himself to not joining any other Portuguese team. It has been rumored that the player’s family had difficulties in adjusting to life in Lisbon. Meanwhile, Nery Castillo of Greek champions Olympiakos, currently in Venezuela competing in the Copa America with Mexico, has reportedly agreed to a deal with Spanish club Valencia. Reports said Valencia is offering 15 million euros for Castillo, whose contract with Olympiakos has yet to expire. Just days ago, the Piraeus club rejected another offer believed to have come from Ukrainian club Shakhtar Donetsk. It was reportedly worth about 8 million euros. Cypriot striker Yiannis Okkas, whose contract with Olympiakos was not renewed for the new season, is expected to undergo a trial at English Premiership club West Ham this week.

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