Sotiris Ninis

Sotiris Ninis
Personal information
Full name Sotiris Ninis
Date of birth 3 April 1990 (1990-04-03) (age 20)
Place of birth Himara, Albania
Height 1.73 m (5 ft 8 in)
Playing position Attacking midfielder
Club information
Current club Panathinaikos
Number 7
Youth career
2000–2001 Giannis Pathiakakis Academies
2001–2003 Apollon Smyrnis
2003–2006 Panathinaikos
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
2006– Panathinaikos 75 (19)
National team
2007– Greece U21 8 (2)
2008– Greece 11 (1)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic
league only and correct as of 8 January 2011.

† Appearances (Goals).

‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 13 October 2010 (UTC)

Sotiris Ninis (Greek: Σωτήρης Νίνης) (born 3 April 1990 in Himarë, south Albania), is a Greek footballer currently playing for Panathinaikos. Ninis is of Greek descent,[1] [2] and a member of the Greek national team. Born in Albania to Greek parents, the attacking midfielder possesses a dizzying range of skills to go with sublime vision, an electrifying change of pace and fearsome long-range shooting skills.[3]

Club career


Ninis began his career in 2004 as a youngster in Panathinaikos' football academies, joining from great academy of Apollon Smyrnis. During these 2 years, he became an integral part of the Panathinaikos Youth Squad and his coaches believe him to be the next promising talent of Greek football. As a result, on December 22, 2006, the club directors offered him a 5 year contract and just 2 weeks after that day, on January 7, 2007, Panathinaikos coach Víctor Muñoz selected him in the main squad for the match against Egaleo at the Olympic Stadium. His outstanding performance earned him the title of the Superleague Matchday MVP and he immediately became the hottest name in every Greek football quarter. He became the second youngest player ever to wear the club's shirt in a league match, at the age of sixteen (the first was Kostas Antoniou −15 years old- in 1978). In February 2007, he officially rejected a call to play for the Albanian Under-21 national team. On February 18, Ninis lead Panathinaikos in a 4–1 win over rivals AEK Athens in the Olympic Stadium. Ninis scored one goal and assisted two others. On July 6, Ninis signed a professional contract with Panathinaikos.

The 2007/2008 season was marred by injuries and non-selection. After coming on as a substitute against Olympiacos in the first game of the season, Ninis was hit by several injuries, a hamstring injury followed by stomach muscle injuries ruled him out of action for three months. It is thought that these injuries arose due to burnout from playing too many games at a young age. He eventually returned in December, but was not part of the Panathinaikos first team for the remainder of the 2007–2008 season. This decision by Panathinaikos coach Jose Peseiro was heavily criticised by all Panathinaikos fans.

The 2008/2009 season began well for Ninis. New manager Henk ten Cate showed faith in Ninis by featuring him regularly in Panathinaikos' pre-season training. He repaid this faith through his performances against teams such as R. Charleroi S.C. Having entered the pitch at half-time, Ninis assisted three goals and scored one, aiding Panathiniakos to a 5–1 victory against the Belgian club. On 11 August 2008, it was revealed that ten Cate had selected Ninis to be one of the new captains of Panathinaikos, along with fellow players Dimitris Salpigidis and Gilberto Silva. On September 23, 2008, Ninis extended his contract with Panathiniakos for an additional four years to 2012, with a €10m buy-out clause into the agreement for any foreign team wanting to buy him, rising to €17m for a Greek side.

Sotiris Ninis , 2007 (*)

International career

Greece U21

Ninis played with Greece national under-19 football team in the UEFA European Under-19 Football Championship in Austria, where he scored the equaliser against Germany, assisted two others and helped his team to progress to the final.[4] Ninis was eventually selected by UEFA in the "U19 names to note", containing the best eleven players of the 2007 UEFA European Under-19 Football Championship. He was selected as the right midfielder in a 4–4–2 formation. Also he was selected by Uefa as the MVP of this tournament.

Ninis returned to duty for the Under-19 Elite qualifying round of the European Championships, after making his senior international debut. He was a key player in games against Moldova and the Netherlands, particularly impressing in the latter game. He assisted one goal, and scored the match winner from 12 yards as he kept Greece's hopes of qualification alive. His Man of the Match performance attracted scouts from Europe's Elite clubs such as Arsenal, Manchester United, Real Madrid and A.C. Milan, who were assigned to watch him against Russia on 29 May 2008.[5]

On 8 September 2009, Ninis scored the equaliser in a match against England U21's, which finished 1–1.[6]


Ninis was officially called up by Greece coach Otto Rehhagel on May 16, 2008 for the game against Cyprus on May 19.[7] This was Ninis' first ever senior call-up and offers him a chance to stake a claim for the Euro 2008 squad. Ninis, who impressed as Greece reached the final of last year's UEFA European Under-19 Championship, expressed his delight at the news, saying: "It's a dream come true and an extra motivation to work even harder and improve myself. I'm very happy."

On his debut Ninis scored the opening goal of the games versus Cyprus in the fifth minute, after a solid pass by Panathinaikos striker Dimitris Salpigidis, Ninis slotted the ball underneath Antonis Georgallides and into the back of the net making the perfect debut and start for his country and becoming the youngest ever scorer for Greece with 18 years and 46 days, breaking Kostas Eleftherakis' old record by 244 days. Ninis also won the Man of the Match award for his performance.[8] He was, however, omitted from Greece's provisional Euro 2008 squad by coach Otto Rehhagel on 20 May.

On the 1st of June, 2010, Otto Rehhagel named his official 23-man squad for the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa. Ninis made the cut despite limited appearances for Greece. He was used twice, as a substitution in the matches against Nigeria and Argentina.[9] He is also the youngest player to have been selected by Rehhagel, at just 20 years of age.

International goals

# Date Venue Opponent Score Result Competition
1. 19 May 2008 Patras, Greece  Cyprus 2–0 Win Friendly Match


* On February 15, 2007 Ninis became the youngest player to participate with a Greek football team in a European cup match, against RC Lens in France.
* In December 2007, Ninis won the HFF Young Player of the Year, as voted by fellow players and managers. Ninis is the youngest player to have won this award.
* On May 19, 2008 Ninis became the youngest ever player to score for Greece. This was the day of his senior international debut for Greece.[10]
* Ninis is the youngest ever player to be chosen as captain of Panathinaikos, at the age of 18 years and 125 days.



* Super League Greece: 2009–10
* Greek Cup: 2009–10


* Greek Young Footballer of the year: 2007
* Named in UEFA U-19 European Championships 2007 "Names to Note"; the best 11 players of the tournament.
* UEFA U-19 European Championships Silver medal (Greece).
* UEFA U-19 European Championships MVP
* Youngest scorer in history of Greek national team
* Youngest scorer of Panathinaikos


1. ^ Manchester United target Sotiris Ninis: Top 10 things you need to know
2. ^ [1]
3. ^ [2]
4. ^ "Final the reward for determined Greece". UEFA. 2007-07-24.
5. ^ "Arsenal, Man Utd, Milan & Real Madrid Eager To Sign Panathinaikos Youngster". Premiership Latest Football News. 2008-05-28.
6. ^ Greece U21 1–1 England U21
7. ^ "Dream comes true as Greece select Ninis". UEFA. 2008-05-16.
8. ^ "Record-breaker Ninis stars for Greece". UEFA. 2008-05-19.
9. ^ "Greece's Rehhagel sticks with favourites in final 23 for World Cup". Canadian Press. 2010-06-01.
10. ^ " – Facts". 2010-11-15.

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