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"Giant From Greece"

Nikos Machlas is not a name which is readily familiar to those few who do not follow the European soccer scene. None-the-less, Machlas  who actual name is Nikolaos Machlas, is one of the most accomplished strikers of the current generation. Although he recently transferred from Vitesse Amheim to the legendary Ajax, he was awarded the coveted golden ball as Europe's top scorer during 1998. During that season with Vitesse Amhem he scored an amazing 34 goals in 32 matches garnering 68 points in the process. With all of his achievements Nikos Machlas the man is a humble down to earth kinda guy, never too aloft or busy too stop and chat with reporters, or sign autographs for his fans. Through a greek speaking enterpretor he told us how much he enjoyed life, the game of soccer and visiting the USA. He also spoke about the success he expects to achieve with his new team.

George Manalos (below left), Chairman of the marketing firm Hellas Multimedia who has followed this exceptional athlete over the years explains why this "Giant From Greece"  has stood a head above the tallest in the European soccer world.

Q: For those  of our readers who are not familiar with the name Nikos Machlas can you tell them a little about him?
A: Yes, Nikos started his professional career with a team in named OFI in Crete, Southern Greece. He also participated in the 1994 World Cup as a starting member of the Greece National Team. He eventually left Greece to play in Holland with a team called Vitessee Anheim and became the number one scorer in Europe for two years in a row.
Q: How old is Nikos, and when did he begin playing with Ajax.
A: He's in his mid-20's and Ajax bought him  about a month ago for approximately $9,000,000 USD which is one of the largest amounts that Ajax has ever played for a player, and possibly the most ever paid for any player from Greece. There are not many players who leave the country to play for foreign teams.

Q: How many league teams are there in Greece?
A: We have a wonderful league with several very good teams such as Panathinaikos, Olympiakos, AEK Atenas, Appollon Atenas, and Aris Salonica and as I have stated OFI Creta which was the team Nikos played for.

Q: In your opinion, what makes Machlos such a good player.
A: He has patience which is necessary for any forward . But when given the opportunity he rarely fails during his attempts to score. You may have observed him in the game this evening  at the Gotham Cup where the scored the first goal for Ajax. Although the goal was scored with his head that time as opposed to a kick, he scores quite often, and that's all that counts.

Q: Do you anticipate him participating in the qualifying rounds for World Cup 2002.
A: Yes, in fact he currently participates in all games involving the nation team of Greece. Being very nationalistic as most players are, he had mixed feeling about not playing with Panathinaikos
at this Gotham Cup. But during the qualifying rounds of WC2002 you can certainly expect to see the Greek National Team, and with them up front will be Nikos Machlos.

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                                        Other Interesting Links

1. "A World Cup Soccer Prayer" (Greek Language)
2.  Greek Soccer Links
3.  Unofficial Nikos Mahlas Home Page  - by Wilco Vertegaal


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