Panathinaikos sacks Gonzalez

The career of Argentinean playmaker Ezequiel Gonzalez at Panathinaikos ended yesterday as the club announced it had terminated the player’s contract. Gonzalez was one of the Greens’ most popular players but his numerous disciplinary problems this season forced the club to part ways with the Argentinean. Gonzalez was surprised to hear the news from journalists, who contacted him for his reaction, and not the club itself. «I did not know anything about it, nobody told us anything. I feel very sorry and very disappointed. I do not even have the chance to say farewell to my teammates,» Gonzalez said. Gonzalez may need to fight a legal battle for about a million euros in compensation for the remainder of his contract, which expires next year. He joined the Athens club in January 2004 and won the league-and-cup double with Panathinaikos that year. He was appointed team captain last year but remained sidelined for the greater part of the past two seasons because of serious injury. Upon returning to action earlier this year, Gonzalez was involved in fights with colleagues and had two verbal encounters with coach Jose Peseiro. Panathinaikos probably decided the player’s end had come when he abandoned the team before a game against Aris in Thessaloniki late in April.