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07/27/2013
 
Olympiacos FC, sometimes known as Olympiacos Piraeus, is by far the most successful club in Greek football. They have amassed a record 40 League titles, a record 26 Greek Cups, and a record 16 League and Cup doubles. The 16 doubles is the third highest in world football. To put their success in stark comparison: Since the Greek Championship was made official in 1928, the Erythrolefki have won more titles that the rest of Greece put together.

Their recent domestic dominance is even more astonishing. In the last 17 seasons, Olympiacos have emerged champions on 15 occasions. Arch-rivals, Panathinaikos, somehow managed to thwart them in 2004 and 2010. The rivalry with Panathinaikos is famous throughout the globe and is termed the derby of the eternal enemies. Historically, Olympiacos drew supporters from the working class area of Piraeus port in Greater Athens although this has been less marked in modern times.

However, despite their remarkable domestic success, Olympiacos have never made an impact in European competition. Their best performance in Europe is a quarterfinal appearance in the Champions League in 1999. Last year in the Champions League they finished 3rd in an extremely tough group, just 1 point behind Arsenal and 3 points behind group winners Schalke. The year before, 2012, was a similar story. A 3rd place finish, just 1 point behind Marseille and 2 points behind group winners Arsenal. But it has been groundhog day for some time. Appearances in the last 16 of Europe’s premier club competition in 2008 and 2010 have been difficult to improve on. They qualify straight into the group stages of this year’s competition after winning the Superleague and will likely be in pot 3 for the group draw.

The signing of Argentinian star Javier Saviola from FC Malaga on a free transfer will no doubt bolster both the fans’ and squad’s confidence but apart from the €1.5 million ($2m) spent on securing Algerian international Carl Medjani from AS Monaco, Olympiacos’ purse has been tightly shut. The Greek champions have actually received more cash from sales this summer than they have spent. However, the names on their back-room team are impressive. The current head coach is Spanish legend Michel and an assistant coach is compatriot Victor. The strategic advisor is former France and Real Madrid star Christian Karembeu. 


 
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07/24/2013
 

Argentine striker Javier Saviola has signed a two-year contract with Olympiakos, the Greek champions announced on Wednesday.


The 31-year-old former Real Madrid and Barcelona marksman was welcomed by some 2,500 Olympiakos supporters outside the club's headquarters after meeting with club president Vangelis Marinakis to finalize the deal.


Greek media reported that Saviola will receive a yearly salary of €1.6 million ($2.6) plus a bonus of €400,000 ($530,000). The diminutive forward has won 40 caps for Argentina, scoring 11 goals, and arrives from Spaniards Málaga.


He also played for Portuguese giants Benfica after beginning his career at River Plate, while Monaco and Sevilla count amongst his former clubs.


The Buenos Aires native has won domestic titles in Argentina, Spain and Portugal as well as the 2006 UEFA Cup with Sevilla and the Olympic gold medal at Athens in 2004.


He was named the South American player of the year at just 19 in 1999 while still at River Plate, which attracted the attention of Barcelona where he spent six seasons at the beginning of his European adventure.


 
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