Sotirios Kyrgiakos: Built Greek tough
Defender ready to beat down every offensive phalanx
Born: July 23, 1979, in Trikala, Greece
Position: Centre back
Clubs Played for: Sotirios Kyrgiakos is a Panathinaikos product who won a Greek league and cup double in 2004 before turning the same trick with Rangers in Scotland a year later. The Greek defender then spent time with Eintracht Frankfurt and AEK Athens until Liverpool signed him in 2009. This season, Kyrgiakos has normally come off the bench for the Reds.
International career: Injury kept Kyrgiakos from being a part of the Greek squad that won Euro 2004, but since 2002, Soto has been part of the foundation of Greece’s defence, making over 50 appearances for his country.
Why is he so special? Kyrgiakos is an old-school centre back: powerful, mean and stubborn. His game doesn’t include panache. It's excuted best with force and anger — battling the opponent in every way, legally and illegally.
His most famous moment: Soto was an unlucky offensive machine when Rangers faced Motherwell in the 2005 Scottish League Cup final. Kyrgiakos scored the second and fifth as The Gers won the first trophy of the season 5-1.
He said it: "There are a lot of elbows flying in football [in England] and the referee says no foul. That is part of football. It’s tough and I like this side of the game."
What they’re saying about him: "Even when he doesn’t play, you know he will work very hard. Soto knew when he came here that he was only going to play specific games, but he wanted to improve and when he has come in, he has done the job that we have needed him to do." Rafa Benitez
Here is an interesting fact: Liverpool fans chant for Kyrgiakos to the tune of "Oh Campione": "We thought his days were numbered, now he plays here every week. We can't pronounce his surname, so we call him Nick the Greek. Oooh Kyrgiakos."