Groth type: Early/Peak
Kostas Eleftherakis was one of if not the key player of Panathinaikos' 1971 european campaign that saw the greens reach the European Champions' cup final. Nicknamed ''the dear'' for his graceful movement with the ball Eleftherakis is one of the best and most well rounded midfielders Greece has produced, with excellent technique to retain the ball, the ability to spot attackers with his long balls from any area of the field and his movement to support his team's offensive and defensive efforts. He made his debut at the age of 14 for Fostiras that was playing at the second division at the time, scoring a brace, though his team had already been relegated. He was picked up by Panathinaikos in 1968 at the age of 18 where he played for 12 seasons and conquered 4 league trophies. One of the great talents of european football at the time he was chosen as the player of the year from sport's editors in 1971 and 1972 and was one of the 16 canditates for the Ballon d'Or in 1971 attracting the interest of top European clubs. In 1977 he sustained a knee injury that would stunt his career from then on. Unable to regain his past level he left Panathinaikos three years later and spent one year in Aek Athens and his boyhood club Fostiras before he retired at the age of 32.