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Alexandros Tziolis
20130814 AT-GR Alexandros Tziolis 2896 (cropped).jpg
Tziolis with Greece in 2013
Personal information
Full name Alexandros Tziolis
Date of birth 13 February 1985 (1985-02-13) (age 36)
Place of birth Katerini, Greece
Height 1.90 m
Playing position Defensive midfielder
Youth career
1995–2002 Apollon Litochorou
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
2002–2005 Panionios 63 (3)
2005–2009 Panathinaikos 84 (5)
2009 Werder Bremen (loan) 15 (1)
2009–2011 Siena 13 (0)
2010–2011 Racing Santander (loan) 10 (0)
2011–2012 Racing Santander 12 (0)
2012–2013 Monaco 3 (0)
2012–2013 APOEL (loan) 30 (0)
2013–2017 PAOK 66 (3)
2014 → Kayserispor (loan) 15 (0)
2017 Heart of Midlothian 16 (1)
2017–2019 Al-Fayha 54 (3)
Total 381 (16)
National team
2001–2005 Greece U21 13 (3)
2006–2018 Greece 75 (2)
  • Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
† Appearances (Goals).

Alexandros Tziolis (Greek: Αλέξανδρος Τζιόλης; born 13 February 1985) is a Greek former professional footballer who played as a defensive midfielder.

He was a Greek international from 2005 until his international retirement in 2018. He won 75 caps, scoring twice. He appeared in two World Cups (2010, 2014) and Euro 2008.

Club career

Panionios

Tziolis began his playing career as a teenager in a local team called Apollon Litochorou. He played there for about seven years and in 1995, a Panionios scouter spotted his talent and brought him to Athens. He was an integral part of Panionios team for three seasons, playing 61 matches and scoring three goals. As a result, Panathinaikos offered Panionios €650,000 and signed him.

Panathinaikos

Tziolis initially established himself as a first-team player for Panathinaikos ahead of Igor Biscan during the 2006–07 season. In April 2007, he scored a goal helping his club break Skoda Xanthi's unbeaten home run in the Superleague Greece and secure a place in the Greek Cup final against Larissa.

By the end of 2007–08 season Tziolis was close to his exit from Panathinaikos but new manager Henk Ten Cate chose to keep him. After being mostly left out of the starting lineup at the beginning of 2008–09 season, he was included in the team in November and was voted "Man of the Match" in a 3–0 win in Germany against Werder Bremen in the UEFA Champions League, where he also scored the third goal for Panathinaikos. He went on to again established himself, linking well with teammates Gilberto Silva and Simao Mate Junior. In his time at Panathinaikos, he made 113 appearances (six goals, eight assists) with the club in all competitions.

Loan to Werder Bremen

On 7 January 2009, joined Bundesliga side Werder Bremen on a half-season loan, for a fee of €300,000. Werder Bremen secured the right to sign him permanently for a fee of €1.6 million.

Tziolis played a regular role in Bremen's midfield and helped the club to make the UEFA Cup final against Shaktar Donetsk, on 20 May 2009. In the final, he came on as a substitute for Peter Niemeyer in the 103rd minute. After having nearly scored the equalizing goal when Bremen were a goal behind, the team lost the final of the last UEFA Cup edition to Shaktar with a final score of 2–1. Tziolis also featured in Bremen's 1–0 victory over Bayer Leverkusen in the German Cup final the same season, where Tziolis won his first ever trophy in professional football.

AC Siena

On 29 January 2010, Serie A club AC Siena, coached by former Panathinaikos coach Alberto Malesani, signed Tziolis for a fee of €1.4 million. He made his debut in the league on 7 February 2010 against Sampdoria. Tziolis was a regular for Siena, while the team was relegated to the Serie B.

Loan to Racing Santander

In August 2010, Tziolis moved to La Liga side Racing Santander on a one-year loan deal. In October 2010, he suffered a leg break in his nation's 1–0 win over Latvia and Racing Santander announced that the period of recuperation would be between four and six months.

After a successful league campaign in the second half of the season Racing Santander signed him permanently from Siena for an undisclosed fee.

Monaco

In January 2012, Tziolis joined AS Monaco for a reported transfer fee of €200,000.

Loan to APOEL

On 31 August 2012, Tziolis joined Cypriot side APOEL on a season-long loan deal from AS Monaco.

During his loan spell at APOEL, he became a league champion for the first time in his career, appearing in all but two of the league matches and helping his team to win the Cypriot First Division.

PAOK

On 25 June 2013, Tziolis signed a three-year contract with Greek Superleague side PAOK. On 17 August, he made his league debut in a 3–0 home win against Xanthi. On 22 December 2013, he scored his first goal with the club in a home victory against Levadiakos. He was among the key players of PAOK in the first half of the 2013–14 season. In the winter transfer window he signed with Süper Lig team Kayserispor with the stated intention of securing his selection for the Greek national team at the 2014 World Cup.

At the beginning of 2014–15 season, Tziolis returned to PAOK, playing 34 games in all competitions scoring only one goal in the Greek Cup. On 27 November 2015, in the UEFA Europa League match against Gabala FK, Tziolis reached 400 appearances with all his clubs for all competitions.

Tziolis' contract with PAOK was scheduled to expire at the end of 2015–16 season, but would have been automatically renewed if he had played at least 70% of team's matches. In December 2015 the club stated it wanted to keep the international midfielder for many years and that Tziolis had had a first meeting with technical director Frank Arnesen, to speak about the terms of a contract extension. On 19 August 2016, PAOK officially announced that the international midfielder was not in club's plans for the 2016–17 season.

On 28 January 2017, it was announced that his contract with PAOK had been terminated.

He left the club having made 111 appearances (four goals, five assists) in all competitions.

Loan to Kayserispor

On 31 January 2014, Tziolis signed a six-month loan contract with Kayserispor with Kayserispor being given the option to sign him permanently for a fee of €1.5 million, Nine days later, he made his debut in the Süper Lig in an away loss against Elazigspor.

Heart of Midlothian

On 30 January 2017, Tziollis joined Scottish Premiership club, Heart of Midlothian on a six-month deal running to the end of the 2016–17 season. and made his Hearts debut in the 4–1 win against Rangers. On 4 February 2017, Tziolis scored his first goal as Ian Cathro's side beat 10-man Motherwell 3–0 at Fir Park. At the end of the season, he was released by the club.

Al-Fayha

On 4 August 2017, Tziolis signed a two-year contract with newly promoted Saudi Professional League club Al-Fayha FC. On 23 November 2017, he scored his first goal with the club in a 3–1 home win game against Al-Shabab FC. On 2 July 2019, Tziolis departs Al-Fayha after a two-year stay with the Saudi club. Al-Fayha FC did not offer Tziolis a new contract. The 34-year-old joined the Al-Fayha in 2017 and made 58 appearances across all competitions with three registered goals and assists. On 30 August 2019, he terminated his contract with the club.

International career

20130814 AT-GR Alexandros Tziolis 2896
Tziolis with National Team

After representing his country 13 times for the under-21 side, Tziolis made his international debut for Greece on 21 January 2006 in a friendly match against South Korea. He was a part of the defending European champions at UEFA Euro 2008, where he played once, when he came on as a substitute in a 1–2 loss to Spain in the group-stage. He also made four appearances in qualifying, including as a substitute in the play-off win away to Ukraine.

He was also part of the squad that participated to the 2010 FIFA World Cup. He played every minute of the tournament for his country, including their first ever World Cup win over Nigeria on 17 June 2010.

But, after the participation in two major events, Greece coach Fernando Santos dropped Alexandros Tziolis from his final 23-player squad for the UEFA Euro 2012. Tziolis had a poor season and could not even get a regular spot in the Monaco team, in Ligue 2, while his performance in the last friendlies did little to change Santos's mind. Two years later, Tziolis exceptional season year with both PAOK and Kayserispor was his passport not only to be called by Santos to the 30-man provisional World Cup squad, but also to the final 23-man squad for 2014 FIFA World Cup.

Style of play

Tziolis is a tall defensive midfielder, good in air, with powerful long shots. He plays a "silent" role in the game, and he tends to occupy the role of a deep-lying playmaker more than a defensive stopper.

Career statistics

Club

Appearances and goals by club, season and competition
Club Season League National Cup Continental Other Total
Division Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Panionios 2002–03 Superleague Greece 14 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 14 0
2003–04 21 3 0 0 1 0 0 0 22 3
2004–05 28 0 0 0 4 0 0 0 32 0
Total 63 3 0 0 5 0 0 0 68 3
Panathinaikos 2005–06 Superleague Greece 21 1 0 0 4 0 0 0 25 1
2006–07 Superleague Greece 24 2 6 0 7 0 0 0 37 2
2007–08 27 2 1 0 8 0 4 0 40 2
2008–09 10 0 0 0 5 0 0 0 15 0
2009–10 2 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 3 0
Total 84 5 8 0 24 0 4 0 120 5
Werder Bremen (loan) 2008–09 Bundesliga 15 1 4 0 8 0 0 0 27 1
Siena 2009–10 Serie A 13 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 13 0
Racing Santander (loan) 2010–11 La Liga 10 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 10 0
Racing Santander 2011–12 La Liga 12 0 4 1 0 0 0 0 16 1
Monaco 2011–12 Ligue 2 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 0
APOEL (loan) 2012–13 Cypriot First Division 30 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 30 0
PAOK 2013–14 Superleague Greece 19 1 1 0 10 0 0 0 30 1
2014–15 20 0 2 1 7 0 5 0 34 1
2015–16 27 2 3 0 11 0 5 0 46 2
2016–17 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 1 0
Total 66 3 6 1 29 0 10 0 111 4
Kayserispor (loan) 2013–14 Süper Lig 15 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 15 0
Heart of Midlothian 2016–17 Scottish Premiership 16 1 2 0 0 0 0 0 18 1
Al-Fayha 2017–18 Saudi Professional League 25 2 2 0 0 0 1 0 28 2
2018–19 29 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 30 1
Total 54 3 3 0 0 0 1 0 58 3
Career total 381 16 27 2 66 0 15 0 489 18

International

Scores and results list Greece's goal tally first, score column indicates score after each Tziolis goal.
List of international goals scored by Alexandros Tziolis
No. Date Venue Opponent Score Result Competition
1 7 June 2011 Citi Field, New York City, United States  Ecuador 1–1 1–1 Friendly
2 7 October 2017 GSP Stadium, Nicosia, Cyprus  Cyprus 2–1 2–1 2018 FIFA World Cup qualification

Honours

Club

Werder Bremen

Panathinaikos

  • Greek Cup: Runners-up 2006–07

APOEL

Individual

  • Greek Young Footballer of the year: 2004
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