Māris Verpakovskis (born 15 October 1979), is a retired Latvian footballer who played as a striker. He represented Latvia at UEFA Euro 2004 and is the only Latvian player to score at the end stage of a major international football tournament.
Verpakovskis playing for Latvia in 2011
|Full name||Māris Verpakovskis|
|Date of birth||15 October 1979|
|Place of birth||
Liepāja, Latvian SSR, Soviet Union |
|Height||1.73 m (5 ft 8 in)|
|Riga FC (Director of football)|
|1996–2001||FK Liepājas Metalurgs||59||(10)|
|2007||→ Getafe (loan)||13||(1)|
|2007–2008||→ Hajduk Split (loan)||18||(5)|
|2008||→ Celta de Vigo (loan)||8||(0)|
|2009–2011||→ Ergotelis (loan)||47||(7)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only|
Born in Liepāja, Latvia, Verpakovskis started his career in hometown club FK Liepājas Metalurgs, for which he played from 1995 till 2001 and scored 10 goals in 59 appearances. In 2001 Verpakovskis joined another Latvian side, Skonto Riga, where he scored 41 goals in 77 appearances. This time of period is known for being the peak of Verpakovskis's career. His excellent performance was being recognized by many top European clubs, and in the late 2003 he signed a contract with the Ukrainian top team Dynamo Kyiv.
Soon after joining, Verpakovskis quickly earned his spot in starting 11, scoring 5 goals in 11 appearances. He scored his first UEFA Champions League goal against the Turkish club Trabzonspor, which helped Dynamo Kyiv qualify for the next round and later Verpakovskis also scored a goal against Real Madrid in the group stage, helping to earn a 2–2 draw in Kiev. Verpakovskis scored a total of 3 goals in the Champions League. After being honored as the Dynamo Kyiv's best player of 2004 by team fans his career slowly started to decline, majorly due to a conflict with Dynamo's former coach Yozhef Sabo. From that time Verpakovkis had been loaned out for several seasons in a row, as his contract with Dynamo was still active.
In 2007 Verpakovskis made a promising move to Spain, after he was signed on a loan deal by Getafe. However, due to a high competition for a place in the starting line-up, Verpakovskis didn't get a chance to show his full brilliance and scored 1 goal in 13 appearances. Right after returning from Spain, Verpakovskis was loaned to HNK Hajduk Split from Croatia, along with his Dynamo team-mates Florin Cernat and Goran Sablić. Verpakovskis had a good season in Hajduk, scoring 5 goals in 18 appearances and played the key role in team's victories. In early 2008 he suffered an injury and did not play for the remaining time of his loan at HNK Hajduk Split. He made a short comeback to Kiev during the summer of 2008. Verpakovskis was on a loan term with Spanish side Celta de Vigo for the 2008–2009 season, playing 8 league matches and scoring no goals, as he couldn't prove himself there due to the limited game time. In 2009, Verpakovskis had to extend his contract with Dynamo Kiev for two years and the Greek Super League club Ergotelis signed him on a two-year loan. During those 2 years Verpakovskis played 46 league games and scored 7 goals for the club. After the season, in 2011, his loan spell ended and he returned to Kiev.
In 2011 Verpakovskis signed a contract with Azerbaijan Premier League club FC Baku for one season with an option to extend it for another one alongside his international team-mate Deniss Ivanovs. In his first season there Māris scored 3 goals in 19 league matches and it was decided by the club's board that the contract would be extended for another season. Verpakovskis renewed his contract in June 2012. The next season was not successful for the Latvian international as he saw himself lose the place in the starting eleven, making only 8 league appearances and scoring no goals. Despite scoring 2 goals and helping Baku grab a 3–1 victory over Sumgayit FK in the 1/8 finals of the Azerbaijan Cup on 28 November 2012, Verpakovskis left the club in January 2013.
On 30 January 2013 rumours in the Greek and Latvian media appeared that Verpakovskis could rejoin the Greek Football League club Ergotelis. This information was officially confirmed by the club and the player one day later - on 31 January 2013. Verpakovskis made his return debut for the club on 20 February 2013 in a league match against Doxa Drama. On 29 April 2013 Verpakovskis scored both goals in his club's 2–0 league victory over Olympiacos Volou. Verpakovskis then scored in the last match of the season on 26 May 2013 to secure a 1–1 draw against Niki Volos. This goal and point secured Ergotelis a return to the Super League Greece. Verpakovskis made his Super League return debut on 26 August 2013 in a 2–0 victory over Levadiakos. He scored his first goal since return to the Superliga on 2 November 2013 in a 2–1 loss to P.A.O.K.. On 10 November 2013 Verpakovskis scored for the second consecutive Superliga match in a row, helping Ergotelis secure a 3–1 victory over Panthrakikos. In mid-season, January 2014, Verpakovskis informed Ergotelis that he was planning to retire in order to return to Latvia and jointly participate in establishment of a new football club in his local city Liepāja after the city's former club Liepājas Metalurgs had been dissolved. On 27 January 2014 he played his last match for Ergotelis as the club lost 1–0 to Panetolikos with Verpakovskis coming on as a late match substitute. After the game Verpakovskis was honoured by his teammates and the club's staff with the president Giannis Daskalakis handing him a special "Verpakovskis" jersey of Ergotelis and stating that "Ergotelis will be Verpakovskis' team for life and Heraklion is the place where Māris can always find his second family." Over one and a half season in Greece Verpakovskis had participated in 28 league matches and scored 5 goals. In a later interview Verpakovskis revealed that he had wished to finish the season in Greece but due to the limited time for establishment of a club he was forced to return to Latvia as soon as possible.
On 23 January 2014, the establishment of the newly founded Latvian Higher League club FK Liepāja was officially announced, and following his return from Greece Verpakovkis took office as the club's president. Besides the administrative work he still retains an active player's status. During the 2014 season Verpakovskis appeared in 9 league matches and scored 1 goal. He left the club in November 2018.
On 31 May 2019, Verpakovskis played a game for the clubs Caramba team, FC Caramba Riga, playing 45 minutes and scoring a goal in a 4-0 victory, helping the team to reach the second leg of the Latvian Cup.
Verpakovskis made his debut for Latvia on 9 September 1999 in a 2–1 victory over Greece, scoring in that match. He rose to international prominence as the highest goalscorer for Latvia in their successful UEFA Euro 2004 qualification campaign, with 6 goals in 10 matches. He scored once for Latvia in Euro 2004 and nearly scored what could have been a candidate for goal of the tournament against Germany, dribbling on a weaving run from the half way line and beating four German players. Verpakovskis is regarded as the most popular Latvian footballer having surpassed Marians Pahars as his country's most recognisable player. He is currently the leading all-time top goal scorer for Latvia, with 29 goals (As of 15 January 2015[update]). Verpakovskis was Latvia's top scorer in FIFA World Cup 2006 qualification, UEFA Euro 2008 qualification, as well as the FIFA World Cup 2010 qualification. On September 2013, Verpakovskis won his 100th cap for the Latvian national team in a 1–0 World Cup qualifying defeat to Greece. On 29 May 2014 Verpakovskis played his last international match as Latvia beat Estonia in the semi-finals of the 2014 Baltic Cup. He was symbolically substituted by Edgars Gauračs just 13 minutes into the game and honoured by his teammates, national team's staff and supporters. After his retirement the national team's manager Marians Pahars referred to Verpakovskis as "a national team legend". All in all, internationally Verpakovskis has been capped 104 times for Latvia, scoring 29 goals. He is Latvia's all-time best scorer.
Verpakovskis is the son of Ilmārs Verpakovskis, a Latvian footballer active from 1979 until 1996. Verpakovskis was managed by his father who was player-manager for FK Liepājas Metalurgs in 1994. The Verpakovskis are the only father-son pair to both play for the Latvia national football team.
|Club performance||League||Cup||League Cup||Continental||Total|
|1996||Baltika Liepāja||Higher League||3||0||—|
|Ukraine||League||Ukrainian Cup||League Cup||Europe||Total|
|2003–04||Dynamo Kyiv||Premier League||11||5||2||1||—||0||0||13||6|
|Spain||League||Copa del Rey||Supercopa de España||Europe||Total|
|Croatia||League||Croatian Cup||League Cup||Europe||Total|
|2007–08||Hajduk Split||Prva HNL||18||5||4||0||—||1||0||23||5|
|Spain||League||Copa del Rey||League Cup||Europe||Total|
|2008–09||Celta de Vigo||Segunda División||8||0||2||0||—||10||0|
|Greece||League||Greek Cup||League Cup||Europe||Total|
|Azerbaijan||League||Azerbaijan Cup||League Cup||Europe||Total|
|Greece||League||Greek Cup||League Cup||Europe||Total|
|1.||9 June 1999||Athens, Greece||Greece||0 – 1||1–2||UEFA Euro 2000 Qualifying|
|2.||28 February 2001||Vaduz, Liechtenstein||Liechtenstein||0 – 2||0–2||Friendly|
|3.||3 July 2001||Riga, Latvia||Estonia||1 – 0||3–1||Baltic Cup 2001|
|4.||21 August 2002||Riga, Latvia||Belarus||1 – 1||2–4||Friendly|
|5.||7 June 2003||Budapest, Hungary||Hungary||0 – 1||3–1||UEFA Euro 2004 Qualifying|
|6.||10 September 2003||Riga, Latvia||Hungary||1 – 0||3–1||UEFA Euro 2004 Qualifying|
|7.||10 September 2003||Riga, Latvia||Hungary||3 – 0||3–1||UEFA Euro 2004 Qualifying|
|8.||11 October 2003||Stockholm, Sweden||Sweden||0 – 1||0–1||UEFA Euro 2004 Qualifying|
|9.||15 November 2003||Riga, Latvia||Turkey||1 – 0||1–0||UEFA Euro 2004 Qualifying|
|10.||19 November 2003||Istanbul, Turkey||Turkey||2 – 2||2–2||UEFA Euro 2004 Qualifying|
|11.||31 March 2004||Celje, Slovenia||Slovenia||0 – 1||0–1||Friendly|
|12.||6 June 2004||Riga, Latvia||Azerbaijan||1 – 0||2–2||Friendly|
|13.||15 June 2004||Aveiro, Portugal||Czech Republic||0 – 1||2–1||UEFA Euro 2004|
|14.||8 September 2004||Luxembourg, Luxembourg||Luxembourg||0 – 1||3–4||FIFA World Cup 2006 Qualifying|
|15.||9 October 2004||Bratislava, Slovakia||Slovakia||0 – 1||4–1||FIFA World Cup 2006 Qualifying|
|16.||17 November 2004||Vaduz, Liechtenstein||Liechtenstein||0 – 1||0–3||FIFA World Cup 2006 Qualifying|
|17.||30 March 2005||Riga, Latvia||Luxembourg||3 – 0||4–0||FIFA World Cup 2006 Qualifying|
|18.||30 March 2005||Riga, Latvia||Luxembourg||4 – 0||4–0||FIFA World Cup 2006 Qualifying|
|19.||7 October 2006||Riga, Latvia||Iceland||2 – 0||4–0||UEFA Euro 2008 Qualifying|
|20.||7 October 2006||Riga, Latvia||Iceland||3 – 0||4–0||UEFA Euro 2008 Qualifying|
|21.||13 October 2007||Reykjavík, Iceland||Iceland||1 – 3||2–4||UEFA Euro 2008 Qualifying|
|22.||13 October 2007||Reykjavík, Iceland||Iceland||1 – 4||2–4||UEFA Euro 2008 Qualifying|
|23.||17 November 2007||Riga, Latvia||Liechtenstein||2 – 1||4–1||UEFA Euro 2008 Qualifying|
|24.||1 April 2009||Riga, Latvia||Luxembourg||2 – 0||2–0||FIFA World Cup 2010 Qualifying|
|25.||10 October 2009||Athens, Greece||Greece||1 – 1||5–2||FIFA World Cup 2010 Qualifying|
|26.||10 October 2009||Athens, Greece||Greece||1 – 2||5–2||FIFA World Cup 2010 Qualifying|
|27.||7 September 2010||Ta' Qali, Malta||Malta||0 – 2||0–2||UEFA Euro 2012 qualifying|
|28.||9 February 2011||Antalya, Turkey||Bolivia||0 – 1||1–2||Friendly|
|29.||12 October 2012||Bratislava, Slovakia||Slovakia||2 – 1||2–1||FIFA World Cup 2014 Qualifying|
- Azerbaijan Cup: 2012
- Latvian Higher League: 2015
- "Maris Verpakovskis - Goals in International Matches". The Rec.Sport.Soccer Statistics Foundation.
- Apollo – Sports: Verpakovskis – Kijevas «Dinamo» gada futbolists. Apollo.lv. Retrieved on 17 October 2011.
- Verpakovskis 'Getafe' spēlēs vismaz pusgadu (papildināts) – DELFI. Delfi.lv. Retrieved on 17 October 2011.
- Verpakovskis pagarina līgumu ar "Dynamo", bet spēlēs "Hajduk" – Futbols –. Sportacentrs.com (18 July 2007). Retrieved on 17 October 2011.
- Verpakovskis nākamās divas sezonas spēlēs Grieķijas klubā ‘Ergotelis’ – DELFI. Sports.delfi.lv. Retrieved on 17 October 2011.
- Verpakovskis atstāj Hēraklejas "Ergotelis" – Leģionāri – Futbols –. Sportacentrs.com (31 May 2011). Retrieved on 17 October 2011.
- Verpakovskis parakstījis līgumu ar Starkova "Baku" – Leģionāri – Futbols –. Sportacentrs.com (30 June 2011). Retrieved on 17 October 2011.
- ""Baku" briest pārmaiņas, Verpakovskis un Ivanovs janvārī var zaudēt darbu". 5 November 2012.
- "Verpakovskis varētu atgriezties "Ergotelis"". 30 January 2013.
- "Oficiāli: Verpakovskis vienojies ar "Ergotelis"". 31 January 2013.
- "Verpakovskis trāpa pa pārliktni, Lukjanovs atrādās Polijā". 20 February 2013.
- "Verpakovskim divi vārti Grieķijā". Sportacentrs.com. 29 April 2013.
- "Verpakovskim vārti, "Ergotelis" atgriežas Grieķijas Superlīgā". 26 May 2013.
- "Futbols / Diena". www.diena.lv.
- "Verpakovskim sezonas pirmie vārti Grieķijā, E.Višņakovam - astotie Polijā". 2 November 2013.
- "Verpakovskis gūst vēl vienus vārtus un izprovocē noraidījumu". 10 November 2013.
- "Sports / Diena". www.diena.lv.
- "Verpakovskis iziet uz maiņu un atvadās no "Ergotelis"". 27 January 2014.
- "Verpakovskis: vēlējos sezonu pabeigt Grieķijā, taču jādodas prom jau tagad".
- "Papildināts (16:48) – Virslīgā spēlēs FK "Liepāja"".
- Verpakovskis RFS ģenerāldirektora amatā oficiāli nomaina Krivuņecu, sports.tvnet.lv, 25 November 2018
- Verpakovskis ar vārtu guvumu Latvijas kausā palīdz "Caramba" sagraut "Limbažus", sportacentrs.com, 31 May 2019
- Lff: Māris Verpakovskis. Lff.lv (15 October 1979). Retrieved on 17 October 2011.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 27 September 2007. Retrieved 27 September 2007.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- "Verpakovskis proud of 100 for Latvia". FIFA. 16 October 2013.
- "Verpakovskis noslēdz krāšņo karjeru Latvijas izlasē". nra.lv.
- "Pahars: "Verpakovskis ir izlases leģenda"". 30 May 2014.
- "Марис Верпаковскис: "Хочешь играть в "основе" - будь лучшим в тренировках" - ПРО ФУТБОЛ". www.profootball.ua.
- "Verpakovskis: Vislabākais veids, kā noslēgt karjeru, ir mājās". Sports.
- Eiropas cilvēks Latvijā – Māris Verpakovskis. Diena.lv. Retrieved on 17 October 2011.
- "Verpakovskis līdzjutēju aptaujā atzīts par gada labāko Kijevas "Dinamo" futbolistu". Sports.