Lefter Küçükandonyadis (Greek: Λευτέρης Αντωνιάδης, Lefteris Antoniadis; 22 December 1925 – 13 January 2012) was a Turkish professional footballer of Greek descent, who played as a forward. He is often recognized as one of the greatest strikers to play for Fenerbahçe and Turkey. Having won several regional and national championship titles with Fenerbahçe and becoming Turkish top scorer twice in his career, he left an imprint on the history of the club. Lefter is one of a few players whose names are included in the Fenerbahçe Anthem.
Lefter in 1958.
|Date of birth||22 December 1925|
|Place of birth||Büyükada, Istanbul, Turkey|
|Date of death||13 January 2012(aged 86)|
|Place of death||Şişli, Istanbul, Turkey|
|Height||1.69 m (5 ft 7 in)|
|1968–1969||Mersin İdman Yurdu|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only|
Early life and club careerEdit
Lefter started his footballing career on Büyükada (an island in Istanbul) but professionally played first with Taksim SK, a club based in the European part of Istanbul. He transferred to Fenerbahçe in 1947, achieving instant success. He won the National Division championship in 1950, his first nationwide championship title with the club, becoming the Turkish top scorer in the same edition. He was one of the first Turkish footballers to play abroad, playing during 1951–1953 for ACF Fiorentina in Italy and OGC Nice in France. Returning to Fenerbahçe, he won two Istanbul League titles and later, after the start of the Turkish Super League, three Turkish League (1959, 1961 and 1964) titles. In the 1947–48 and 1953–54 seasons, he became the leading goalscorer of the Istanbul League. Overall, he scored a total of 423 goals in 615 games for Fenerbahçe. After ending his career in Turkey in 1964, he played a single season in Greece with AEK Athens at the age of 39. He participated in five games in the 1964–65 season. He scored twice in an away 7–1 victory against Apollon Smyrnis and became the eldest goalscorer in the history of the club. An injury in the match against Iraklis forced his retirement.
Küçükandonyadis was capped 46 times for the Turkish national football team, 9 as the captain. He also played at the 1954 FIFA World Cup netting in two goals, one against West Germany and the other against South Korea. He scored 21 goals for the national team and was the top scorer for Turkey until overtaken by Hakan Şükür. He was the first Turkish football player to receive the "Golden Honor Medal" from the Turkish Football Federation for having played for the national selection in 50 international matches.
After active footballEdit
He was also known as "Ordinaryüs" (professor of professors) in Turkey. His statue was erected next to the Şükrü Saraçoğlu Stadium in 2009. He was buried in the Greek Orthodox cemetery on his native island.
Lefter was born to Christofis Antoniadis, a fisherman, and Argyro Antoniadi on the island of Büyükada in Istanbul. He grew up with ten brothers and sisters, and was of Greek descent. One of his brothers, Panagis Antoniadis, played for Pera Club. His family took part in the exodus of ethnic Greeks from Turkey during his childhood - except for his father. Due to his small stature, the Turks gave him the nickname Küçük, Turkish for "The Small", and Lefter added it to his surname – Küçükandonyadis, meaning "The Small Antoniadis". He was married to a fellow Greek woman, Stavriani Bekiari, and they had three children.
- Süper Lig: 1959, 1960–61, 1963–64
- National Division: 1950
- Istanbul Football League: 1947–48, 1956–57, 1958–59
- Atatürk Cup: 1963–64
- Turkish top scorer: 1950, 1957–58
- Istanbul League top scorer: 1947–48, 1953–54
- Mediterranean Cup runner-up (1): 1949
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 16 January 2012. Retrieved 15 January 2012.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
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- "Küçükandonyadis Lefter - FootballDatabase". FootballDatabase.eu. Retrieved 31 May 2021.
- "Λευτέρης Αντωνιάδης - Βάση Δεδομένων Α.Ε.Κ." Football.AEK.com (in Greek). Retrieved 31 May 2021.
- "Lefter'in aramızdan ayrılışının 4. yılı - Lefter Küçükandonyadis kimdir?". hurriyet.com.tr (in Turkish). Retrieved 31 May 2021.
- "Λευτέρης Αντωνιάδης - Σαν Σήμερα". sanSimera.gr (in Greek). Retrieved 31 May 2021.
- Ferentinou, Ariana (16 January 2012). "Farewell to Lefter". Hürriyet. Retrieved 25 May 2015.
- Κουκουλας, Γιαννης. "Η Γκαλατάσαραϊ του Αλί Σαμί Γιεν και του UEFA". kathimerini. Archived from the original on 7 April 2012. Retrieved 29 October 2011.
- "Turkey – List of Topscorers". rsssf.com. RSSSF. Retrieved 4 August 2018.
- "Turkey – List of Istanbul League Topscorers". rsssf.com. RSSSF. Retrieved 4 August 2018.
- "Merhaba Dünya Kupası" (in Turkish). Türkiye Futbol Federasyonu. Archived from the original on 2 December 2015. Retrieved 31 May 2021.
- "Lefter Küçükandonyadis".
- Turkish football mourns loss of Lefter Küçükandonyadis
- Official website of Fenerbahçe SK (in Turkish and English)