Vassilis Karapialis (Greek: Βασίλης Καραπιάλης; born 13 June 1965) is a Greek retired footballer. He successfully competed for AEL, Olympiacos and the Greek national football team. He is considered to be one of the best number 10 shirt of all times in Greece and the last before another great player, Vassilis Tsiartas.
|Full name||Vassilios Karapialis|
|Date of birth||13 June 1965|
|Place of birth||Larissa, Greece|
|Height||1.78 m (5 ft 10 in)|
|Playing position(s)||Attacking Midfielder|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only|
Youth years at ToxotisEdit
Born in Ambelokipoi, Larissa, Karapialis began to play football in Larissa's grounds. School wasn't so important for him. At the age of 14, in 1979, he began his early career at Toxotis Larissa youth team. Toxotis had another talent too, Giorgos Agorogiannis, later Karapialis's teammate at AEL and one of the best Larissa's players of all times too. Due to his notable skills, Karapialis moved to Toxotis first team a year later, in 1980. He made some excellent appearances with Toxotis at Larissa Prefecture Amateur League and aroused Alpha Ethniki teams interest. In 1984, OFI Crete was paying Toxotis 2,1 million Greek Drahmas (almost 6.200 Euro's) for him, but Karapialis did not want to leave his hometown and he refused the transfer. His greatest dream was to play for Larissa's "queen", AEL . After an outstanding 1984-1985 season with Toxotis, when he scored 30 goals playing as a midfielder, the time had come for the dream to come true.
When Karapialis transferred to AEL for 1 million Greek Drahmas in 1985, just after AEL won the first Greek football Cup in the club's history, he became very popular among the fans. Soon he had his own fan club watching him playing every single week, holding a "Karapialis, You Are Magic" banner. For the first two seasons Karapialis was usually used as a substitute. When he managed to become a basic player in 1987-1988 season, AEL won the only Greek football Championship in the club's history, with Karapialis being the MVP of the season.
The next seasons were bad for AEL , as the club faced serious bankruptcy problems. Three seasons after the Championship, Karapialis left his favourite AEL for the most successful Greek football club, Olympiacos.
The favourite "Billy" of OlympiacosEdit
In 1991's summer, Karapialis signed for Olympiacos and the fans celebrated. He made his debut against AEK Athens, when Olympiacos won 4-2, thanks to a hat-trick by Oleg Protasov. Karapialis quickly became the leader of the Red-Whites due to his aggression, agility, great technique and, of course, experience. The first five seasons Olympiacos won only one Greek football Cup, but the next four were outstanding: four out of four Greek football Championships, one Greek football Cup and a Greek Super Cup.
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Although Karapialis was a phenomenal talent, he played only 21 games with the Greek national football team, scoring 2 goals. He was not a regular choice for the team while he was playing for AEL 1964, because coaches used to call players only from Olympiacos, AEK Athens, Panathinaikos and PAOK, as they are Athens and Thessaloniki based. Every countryside team, like AEL 1964, was not happy with that, because they had great players, like Karapialis, wasted only because they were playing in countryside teams.
However, Karapialis was out even from 1994 FIFA World Cup Greek team. He felt insulted and announced his retirement from the National team.
Retirement and honorary voteEdit
In May 2000, Karapialis announced his retirement from professional football. The same year, he was voted as the third best Greek professional footballer (after 1979, when football became professional in Greece), after Vassilis Hatzipanagis and Dimitris Saravakos. He is considered to be the best Greek number 10 shirt in history of Olympiacos along with Georgios Delikaris.
- Greek Championship: 1988
- Kolokotsios, Lambros (24 July 2010). Αθλητικοί Φάκελοι (ΚΑΡΑΠΙΑΛΗΣ) [Sporting Capsules (Karapialis)] (in Greek). Evrytania News. Archived from the original on 17 October 2011. Retrieved 9 May 2012.
- Mastrogiannopoulos, Alexander. "Greece - International Matches 1991-2000". RSSSF. Retrieved 29 December 2008.