Barbarouses gets loan deal with Panathinaikos
Football fans can be hard markers when assessing the quality of new players.
But Kosta Barbarouses is assured of some significant support in the Olympic Stadium stands after yesterday finalising a one-year loan to Greek Super League club Panathinaikos.
The All Whites striker from Wellington remains contracted to Russian Premier League club Alania Vladikavkaz for two more years but has been loaned to the Athens team as they bid to qualify for the Champions League.
"We're a big family, mate, Kosta might have over 30 first cousins there," said a chuffed Nick Barbarouses, Kosta's father and a lifelong Panathinaikos supporter.
"They all love football as well. To play for Panathinaikos, it's a big thing. His cousins, his nephews, they will love him playing in his homeland. I'm definitely going over. He's very excited and he's very impressed by the training facilities."
Barbarouses joins Greece midfielder Giorgos Karagounis, French defender Jean-Alain Boumsong and former Liverpool striker Sebastian Leto at Panathinaikos.
If Barbarouses impresses the club's Portugese coach Jesualdo Ferreira then Panathinaikos have the option to buy him at season end.
"But they would have to pay 1 million to the Russians," Nick said.
The 22-year-old remained committed to New Zealand's Olympic Games campaign and will play all three of their warm-up games, his father said.
New Zealand play Japan in Tokyo on July 11 before further friendlies in Korea (July 14) and the United Arab Emirates (July 19) before moving on to London.
The Oly Whites play Olympic group games against Belarus (July 27), Egypt (July 29) and Brazil (August 2) meaning Barbarouses will miss Panathinaikos' third round Champions League qualifier on July 31.
But if New Zealand fail to progress out of their group then Barbarouses will be available for Panathinaikos' following qualifier on August 7.
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The Dominion Post