Zisis Vryzas (Greek: Ζήσης Βρύζας) is a former football player, and had been the vice president of PAOK FC for the past 3 years. He was born 9 November 1973 in Kavala, city of northern Greece, located in the region of Macedonia (Greece). He played as a striker for various teams in Greece and abroad, as well as the Greek National team, with which he won the Euro 2004. After his retirement, he worked for PAOK as technical director, and for a brief period, took up the position of president, following Theodoros Zagorakis' resignation. On August 16, 2010, Zisis Vryzas became the Assistant Coach of Greek national football team.
Vryzas started his football career at the Thracian club Skoda Xanthi where his talent attracted the interest of stronger domestic as well as foreign Clubs. In 1996, Zisis Vryzas was signed by the most popular northern Greek Club PAOK FC and moved in the capital of Central Macedonia, Thessaloniki, where he enjoyed great popularity among PAOK fans for his power, determination and devotion with which they describe his game and for scoring a handful of very important goals. The most significant memory of his career with PAOK FC occurred in the 1st round 2nd leg of the 1997/98 UEFA Cup. It was the fantastic equaliser (1-1 on the night, 2-1 on aggregate) he scored in the 87th minute against Arsenal at Highbury, which resulted in a notable, historic qualification for PAOK against the English giants who managed to win the double in the Premier League that same season.
In 2000, while PAOK were struggling with endless financial problems due to the ineffective policy of debts and mismanagement of the main share-holder, consequently Vryzas was sold to the Italian Serie A relegation battlers A.C. Perugia. In Perugia, he once again gained popularity among the local fans for his work-rate and immediate adjustment to the new environment, which proved to be a key-factor for Perugia's constant presence in the Serie A, under the management of Serse Cosmi. His very positive performances with Perugia earned him a more lucrative contract at the once mighty Fiorentina in 2003, at that time struggling in Serie B; ironically, the Viola returned to Serie A at the expense of Perugia, through a two-legged playoff, as they had finished sixth in Serie B that season, while Perugia had finished at 15th place in Serie A.
In 2004, the Greek striker joined Celta Vigo in a loan deal from Fiorentina with an option for the deal to become permanent. The Greek striker eventually departed again to join another popular Club of northern Italy, Torino F.C. in January 2006, under a loan deal from Celta Vigo until the end of his contract with the Spanish Club.
In the summer of 2006 Zisis Vryzas returned to Greece and in particular to the club where he started his professional career, Skoda Xanthi. In June 2007, he finally decided to join the "club of his heart" and signed a two year contract with PAOK FC. There he found his old companion and team-mate, at both PAOK and the Greek National Team during the 1990s, Theodoros Zagorakis - who had only just taken the reins of the club. Vryzas stated upon his return that PAOK F.C. was an emotional choice for him, and the last stop in his career should only be in the club he loved and supported since childhood.
Vryzas debuted for Greece in October 1994 in a home Euro 96 qualifier against Finland, a 4-0 victory. He scored his first goal three months later, in a friendly against Cyprus in Larnaca, but had to wait until 2004 and Portugal to take part in a final stage of a tournament.
Although not a very prolific scorer, Vryzas' tenacious work ethic, his restless battles with the opposing defenders, his talent to create chances and open spaces for his attacking partners, in addition to his aerial ability and passing skills made him a valuable member of all the Clubs he played for, as well as the Greek National Team with which he won the European Championship in 2004. He was a notable member of the starting eleven in Greece's victorious team and scored a tremendously important goal, a fine chip over the keeper, in Greece's 2-1 loss to Russia. That goal sent the tournament underdogs into the quarter-final, on a better goal average against contenders Spain.
Retirement and Career After Retirement
On January 6, 2008, Zisis Vryzas played his last game of his successful football career at the home game of PAOK FC against Larissa F.C. at the legendary ground of PAOK FC Toumba Stadium, a game which PAOK won 1-0, with a goal scored by Lazaros Christodoulopoulos, a goal which the scorer dedicated to Vryzas. Zisis Vryzas, actually came in as a substitution in the 82nd minute of the game to replace Christodoulopoulos and was honoured by the fans with a standing ovation and with a long singing of his name, which lasted until the end of the game as Vryzas thanked them during his "goodbye round" of the stadium.
On January 8, 2008, Zisis Vryzas was officially appointed as the Technical Director of PAOK FC. He joined the club's board along with former team-mate and current chairman of the club, Theodoros Zagorakis. During his first steps in his new career he succeeded in bringing to PAOK Pablo Contreras, Zlatan Muslimović, Vieirinha, Lino and Pablo Garcia in 2008. He succeeded sell Lazaros Christodoulopoulos and Christos Melissis to Panathinaikos FC for 10.000.000€ and Daniel Fernandes to VfL Bochum for 1.100.000€ (Total income: 11.100.000€)
On July 2009 he continued and succeeded in bringing to PAOK Mirko Savini, Olivier Sorlin, Lucio Filomeno, Bruno Cirillo, Mohammed Abubakari and Vasilios Koutsianikoulis(a hot prospect of Greek football.).
On October 9, 2009, Zisis Vryzas was appointed PAOK FC Chairman, following Zagorakis resignation for personal reasons.
On August 11, 2010, Zisis Vryzas resigned from the position of director of football from PAOK FC.
Five days later, he is become collegue with Fernando Santos the head coach of Greek national football team.
* Italian Second Division: 2004
* European Championship: 2004
Celta de Vigo
* in 2004-05's Segunda
* Italian Second Division: 2006
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