Angelos Messaris

Angelos Messaris (Άγγελος Μεσσάρης ) (1910-1978) is a former Greek footballer. He is widely regarded as the best Greek player of the pre-war era. This is probably also due to the myth that followed for decades his sudden and mysterious early leaving from football.

Angelos Messaris made his last appearance in the football field on the 23rd of April 1931 at the age of only 21. This was at the match with AEK in which Panathinaikos was losing with 2-0. Angelos Messaris made two reverse headers after which the score was tied and received great cheering. This was his last appearance. He never played football again.

Angelos Messaris descended from Kefalonia, an island in the Ionian sea. Actually he was born in Cape Town of South Africa in 1910. In 1927 he came to Athens and after a short stay at the team of Goudi he was transferred to Panathinaikos. His triple, his perfect control together with his versatile mind and hard work in the football field elevated him to the top. During his short football career (four years altogether) he succeeded 53 goals: 23 in the EPSA championship, 11 in the Panhellenic championship, 2 with the National Team (he played four times) and 17 in international and friendly games of PAO and the mixed team of Athens. During 1929-30 he was announced as the first scorer with 7 goals. At the legendary victory over Olympiakos with 8-2 he had scored the first three goals and had actually brought about three more. Great was also the victory over Aris with 4-1 in Thessaloniki which called forth the following little poem We scored eight on Olympiakos and four more on Aris - hooray Angele Messaris.

After giving up football Messaris returned to South Africa where he concluded his studies and following this he came back to Greece where he became an executive manager at the Doxiades enterprises. It is said that the reason why Messaris left Panathinaikos rests on the unbearable pressure Apostolos Nikolaidis was putting on to him in order to persuade him to commit himself to football and forget about his studies at the National Technical University of Athens. In a short telephone talk he had with the journalist Dimitris Lyberopoulos back in 1973 he said: Please leave me alone... the football player you are asking for died in 1931!

He died in 1978 and his funeral was attended by thousands of people.

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