Vasilios "Vasilis" Tsiartas[a] (Greek: Βασίλειος "Βασίλης" Τσιάρτας, born 12 November 1972) is a Greek former international footballer who played as an attacking midfielder. Although he was famed for his lackadaisical playing style, his ability was never in question and he was in many ways the epitome of a classic "number 10" player. "El Mago", as was his nickname, was naturally left-footed but was just as dangerous with his right foot. A great football mind, a literally world-class vertical pass, amazing set-up and amazing long-range shots. His racing flaw was his lack of speed, which, however, was overshadowed by his great technical skills. Also characteristic of the incredible potential of his left foot is the fact that in addition to the many goals he scored with free kicks, long and short shots and penalties, sometimes in his career he scored with direct corner kicks. Thus, Tsiartas was the main set piece taker for the national and his club team. He was an important member of Greece, claiming two assists in Portugal towards Greece's ultimate victory at UEFA Euro 2004. In his entire career he did not receive a single red card. Although he played as a passer, Tsiartas was capable of scoring many goals due to his deadly footage and scoring abilities being one of AEK Athens' top scorers. He is considered one of the best Greek players in history.
Tsartas signing an autograph for a fan
|Full name||Vasilios Tsiartas|
|Date of birth||12 November 1972|
|Place of birth||Alexandreia, Greece|
|Height||1.86 m (6 ft 1 in)|
|2004–2005||1. FC Köln||4||(1)|
|2012||AEK Athens (technical director)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only|
Born in Alexandreia, Greece, Tsiartas began his career at the academy at AE Alexandris and later the team of Naoussa, which also produced players such as Vassilis Lakis and Dimitris Markos. While playing for Naousa, he aroused the interest of the big teams, mainly AEK Athens and Panathinaikos. In the end, in December 1992, he was transferred to AEK. After the first 18 months, which was a period of adjustment and was between substitutes and starters. However Tsiartas, showing direct examples of his rare class with a characteristic debut on 12 December 1992, in which he scored two goals in a 7–0 victory against Korinthos in Nea Filadelfeia, made permanent in the team starting lineup during the 1994–95 seaspn. This season he had a very good presence in the matches for the Champions League, while he also made several very good appearances in domestic competitions. The 1995–96 season was probably the best of Tsiartas' career in Greece, since he became the top scorer of the Greek championship with 26 goals in 33 league matches, achieving and many impressive goals, while he also scored many assists for his teammates. For the specific season, he also scored seven goals in the Cup, which AEK won in the end, while he was voted the best Greek football player of the league (alongside Vassilis Karapialis and Giorgos Donis) by his colleagues in the league. Tsiartas soon made a name for himself and his subsequent move to AEK Athens resulted in him scoring the most goals in the 1996 season in the Alpha Ethniki.
This and his huge attacking presence lead to a move to Sevilla for a fee of €1.5 million. There, he was an influential captain and vital in team gaining promotion to the Primera Division. He was known in Seville as "El Mago" ("The Magician") due to his lethal ability with any free kicks combined with a powerful shot in or outside the box. He was also loved by the Sevilla fans and was one of the most important "10s" of the Andalusian team's history. He managed 140 appearances in the championship with 44 goals and many assists, while he was also the leader of the team.
Tsiartas returned to AEK Athens in 2000 for €3.5 million on another successful four-year spell at AEK. He was now the "maestro" of the build-up of the game, wearing his favorite "10" on the back, while he scored very often. He scored a total of 43 goals for the championship during his second spell in the team, he created a lot of goals for his teammates, while he was also an awesome duo with Demis Nikolaidis. A memorable appearance was in the Champions League match in Nea Filadelfeia against Real Madrid in a 3–3 draw, when he scored an amazing goal. with a foul and assisted two more goals, one by Christos Maladenis with a corner and one by Demis Nikolaidis also with an excellent foul. On the other hand, a bad moment was that he missed the penalty, in the penalty shootout, in the Cup Final with Panathinaikos on 20/4/1994, in one of the best Greek cup finals of all time (2–2 after regular time, 3–3 after extra time and 5–3 for Panathinaikos, after penalty shoot-out).In total, Tsiartas had 196 appearances in AEK in the Greek championship and 80 goals, many of which are particularly impressive and today he is in the top 10 of the all time scorers of AEK for the championship. He also had 24 participations with 12 goals in the cup and 49 games with 10 goals in European games (3rd scorer in the history of the team until today in European games, behind Demis Nikolaidis and Mimis Papaioannou).
He ended his career at 1. FC Köln. Tsiartas officially returned to action, by signing with Ethnikos Piraeus in Greece. On 14 February 2007 Vasilis Tsartas announced his retirement from professional football.
Having played at under-16 and under-21 level, Tsiartas made his debut for men's team on 27 April 1994 in a game against Saudi Arabia. He managed to score 12 goals in his 70 caps with Greece including an important penalty against Northern Ireland in 2003 which led to Greece's qualification for Euro 2004. During the Euro 2004 he was used mainly as a substitute by the team's coach Otto Rehhagel, but managed to claim two vital assists, one against Spain and the other against the Czech Republic on the way to Greece's victory in the tournament.
- Scores and results list Greece's goal tally first, score column indicates score after each Tsiartas goal.
|1||17 May 1995||Žalgiris Stadium, Vilnius, Lithuania||Lithuania||1–1||1–2||Friendly|
|2||15 November 1995||Theodoros Vardinogiannis Stadium, Heraklion, Greece||Faroe Islands||5–0||5–0||UEFA Euro 1996 qualifying|
|3||24 January 1996||Municipal Stadium of Chalkida, Chalcis, Greece||Israel||2–0||2–1||Friendly|
|4||6 October 1999||Athens Olympic Sports Complex, Athens, Greece||Albania||1–0||2–0||UEFA Euro 2000 qualifying|
|5||9 October 1999||Ljudski vrt, Maribor, Slovenia||Slovenia||1–0||3–0||UEFA Euro 2000 qualifying|
|6||10 November 2001||Nikos Goumas Stadium, Athens, Greece||Estonia||3–0||4–2||Friendly|
|7||27 March 2002||Kostas Davourlis Stadium, Patras, Greece||Belgium||1–2||3–2||Friendly|
|8||26 March 2003||UPC-Arena, Graz, Austria||Austria||1–0||2–2||Friendly|
|9||30 April 2003||Štadión pod Dubňom, Žilina, Slovakia||Slovakia||1–0||2–2||Friendly|
|10||11 October 2003||Leoforos Alexandras Stadium, Athens, Greece||Northern Ireland||1–0||1–0||UEFA Euro 2004 qualifying|
|11||31 March 2004||Pankritio Stadium, Heraklion, Greece||Switzerland||1–0||1–0||Friendly|
|12||9 October 2004||Olimpiyskiy National Sports Complex, Kyiv, Ukraine||Ukraine||1–1||1–1||2006 FIFA World Cup qualification|
- Beta Ethniki: 1992–93
- The name in Greek is pronounced correctly as Vassilios and Vassilis accordingly.
- "Το αντίο του El Mago". Contra.gr (in Greek). Retrieved 19 December 2011.[dead link]
- http://www.ethnos.gr/ethnosport/article.asp?catid=8720&subid=2&pubid=129161190[dead link]
- "Vasilios Tsiartas". National Football Teams. Benjamin Strack-Zimmermann. Retrieved 13 July 2021.
- Tsartas, el 'sabio griego' del equipo de Rehhagel[dead link]
- Uefa.com: Tsiartas signs off with pride[dead link]
- Vasilios Tsiartas at National-Football-Teams.com