Dimitrios Eleftheropoulos (born 7 August 1976) is a Greek goalkeeper who is currently playing for Iraklis Thessaloniki F.C. in Greek Super League. In the past he played for the Greek national team.
Born in Piraeus, he is a fanatic of major Greek club Olympiacos, where he started playing as a goalkeeper at a very young age. Except for 1996, when he was loaned to Proodeftiki, he played for the Τhrylos from 1994 to 2004, winning seven championships in a row.
He was the young third goalkeeper in 1997's Olympiacos roster behind Foto Strakosha and Alekos Rantos but injuries and bad games from the previous two made coach Dusan Bajevic to give him a chance. His astonishing performances, which included impossible saves and penalty stops eventually lifted Eleftheropoulos to the level of an idol earning the nickname of "The Eagle", being one of the masterpieces for Olympiakos championship after ten years of disappointments.
He lost nearly all the 1998 season due to a severe knee injury, which was worsened by a badly treated arthrosis that also affected his shoulder. This did not prevent a glorious comeback in the 1999 UEFA Champions League, with Olympiacos advancing to quarterfinals for the first time and being chosen as the best goalkeeper in the competition.
On 23 October 2001, Eleftheropoulos made a sensational save penalty to Ruud van Nistelrooy at 65th-minute between Manchester United and Olympiacos for Champions League, in Old Trafford. It was the only penalty missed by the Dutch international striker for that season.
In 2004, Eleftheropoulos transferred to newly-promoted Serie A side Messina, where, despite some great performances, he could not unseat Marco Storari in the starting eleven.
In 2005, he was signed by Milan. Even though, due to a series of subpar performances in friendlies against Chelsea and Chicago Fire during a summer tour in the United States, coupled with Milan's heavy surplus of goalkeepers, he was loaned to Roma where he remained game-less for whole the season.
Eleftheropoulos signed for Ascoli for the '06–07 Championship and on February 25, 2007 he played his first Serie A match for Ascoli against Livorno.
On 11 June 2007, he was signed by A.C. Siena on free transfer, for 2 year deal, where although beginning the season in the starting eleven, he has finished as the substitute goalkeeper behind Austrian international Alex Manninger. According with Siena's official website , on 28 May 2009, Eleftheropoulos decided to leave the club for family reasons.
On 30 May 2009, Eleftheropoulos signed with PAS Giannina, a team locally known as “Ajax of Epirus” which in the past had formed players like Giourkas Seitaridis, that has promoted to the First Division. He started his new season becoming the most experienced player for his new club. Great savings during matches against Kavala, his former team Olympiakos and AEK contributed to achieve either victory for Giannina or himself to be elected as Man of the Match.
Eleftheropoulos after 5 years reached again the semi-final of the Greek Cup with his new club against Panathinaikos F.C..
On 3 August 2010, Eleftheropoulos signed a contract with Iraklis F.C..
Eleftheropoulos got his first of twelve senior international caps for Greece in a friendly against Belgium in 1999. From these caps, three were in the 2002 FIFA World Cup qualification rounds for the European zone; where although having brilliant performances in both games against Germany, he was left aside from the national team after a strong cross with coach Vassilis Daniil. For the Euro 2004 coach Otto Rehhagel chose Antonios Nikopolidis as his starting keeper and Konstantinos Chalkias and Fanis Katergiannakis as substitutes, leaving Eleftheropoulos out of the roster. In September 2010, rumors from the new coach Fernando Santos wants Eletheropoulos back to the Greek National Team.
* Greek Superleague: 1996–1997, 1997–1998, 1998–1999, 1999–2000, 2000–2001, 2001–2002, 2002–2003
* Greek Cup: 1999
1. ^ "Tactical Formation". Football-Lineups.com. http://www.football-lineups.com/wiki/_match4201.php. Retrieved March 1, 2007.
* Dimitrios Eleftheropoulos signed for Pas Giannina F.C.
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