Happy Birthday Marios!
Our defender Marios Tsaousis turns 23 today, and PAOK FC would like to wish him many years of health, happiness and successes on both a personal and professional level.
Avoiding painful emotions may suppress romance in the course of life. A misunderstood word, perhaps. Especially for those who cannot accept that football is loved so much, simply because it is romantic. Marios Tsaousis is not one of those people. He is a player who once felt rejection and disappointment and who never stopped trying. He is a person who suffered injuries and negative emotions and found the fortitude to insist that «there is no other way than to achieve what I dreamed of». He is someone who professes to be incurably romantic about football. And he is categorical: «I will live it to the fullest, every minute, every moment.»
The kid who grew into a man at PAOK, who first wore a starting shirt against Olympiacos, the youngster who hummed Toumba Satdium’s slogans during the premiere of the current season, still that little kid who noted his statistics, mistakes and his corrections – he declares himself as ‘old school’. «But what else can unite people to such an extent? Only football. What else can give you more chills than a goal in the 90th minute?», wonders Marios. Yes, he is a true romantic and at the same time determined and persistent until the end. «It sounds cliché to be remembered as the one who, through difficulties, reached their goal, but for me there is no other way than to succeed in doing what I love.»
Tsaousis used to go to training holding the hand of his grandfather, who believed that his grandson would one day wear the black and white, and if he misses something now, it is that he was not on the sidelines at his debut at Toumba Stadium. «My grandfather, Giorgos Tsaousis, played in the PAOK team, and my dad supported and encouraged me throughout my journey so far», says Marios and hastens to apologize to mom «for maybe I didn’t mention her as much as she deserves.»
From the age of four he pressed his parents – «mum had her objections, especially later, as I was also a good student» – to enroll him in the academy of Apollo Kalamaria. He was young, but he had to wait a year. He went, stayed two years, trained with older players and that was followed by two years at Iraklis. In 2010, PAOK came into his life. Then the trips, the tournaments, the life experiences, as he says, began. «From Under-11s rooming with Haris Tsingaras and since 2012 protagonists in any tournament we participated in», he remembers. Second in Holland, second in Sweden, where he was shown the only red card in his football life. «In the final against Malmö was when we lost the tournament on penalties and I remember every moment…», he recounts.
In Tsaousis’ memories there are many things, of course. Winning first place in the UEFA tournament in Zurich with the Under-19s, the championships with the Under-15s, the Uunder-17s, the three cups with the Under-19s, the fact that he wore the blue and white of Greece at the age of 15 and that with the Under-17 national team he celebrated a 2-1 away victory against England. He also remembers the 2018 Mediterranean Games, in Tarragona, Spain, as a wonderful experience, when the Greece youth side advanced to the quarter-finals by defeating France, but was eliminated by Italy. His first goal in the Super League, which he scored as a NFC Volos player, is also indelible.
«The year I played in Volos, the thought of returning to PAOK was always in my mind,» admits Marios, who played 16 matches with the Magnesia team in the 2019-20 season and scored twice. A few years earlier, at just 16 years old, he had worn the jersey of the PAOK first team in a friendly game in Drama. In 2016 he trained with the first team. In the summer of 2019 he participated in pre-season training, in 2019 he was loaned to NPC Volos and in 2021 to Spartak Trnava.
He does not hesitate to talk brashly about this route. «I felt like I was drifting away. I felt rejected and disappointed. I can obviously now understand how these loans helped me, I got to know men’s professional football early and the experience in Slovenia was very educational, as I changed, became more responsible, and learned to live alone». But what? «But it has always been and always remains my dream to establish myself at PAOK.» Apparently he was stubborn then. And when «something initially discourages me, I am more stubborn, I am persistent – on the verge of compulsiveness perhaps – I follow the goal even more consistently».
Indeed, Tsaousis is consistent – «I missed a lot, but I don’t care, I always wanted to be consistent» – hardworking – «every day I work harder» and he is clear with how success works. «I always try to think that I am the one solely responsible for keeping the dream I’m living.» The kid who like everyone else wanted to be a No.10 and as such started to love football, who continued as a right winger, but also a left winger and then ended up a left back, is clearly living what he dreamed of. He was a starter and captain in all age categories, a starter in all divisions of the Greek national teams, and is now a starter from the start of the 2022-23 season at PAOK. Or, an alternative to Andre Vieirinha…
«When I was on the touchline waiting to replace Andre, I wasn’t sure I was living it,» Marios says with much humility. He lives it and enjoys it, of course. Although he doesn’t hide that he fully realized it when PAOK’s supporters were escorting the team bus from the hotel to Harilaou for the match against Aris. «The hours didn’t pass in the hotel, the day was endless,» he says, describing the anxiety and the wait.
The left-footed, left-back signed his first professional contract at the age of 16. His current deal is valid until 2025. Numbers… Not something that particularly concerns him. He just wants to play football, listen to music and sometimes hum some songs and chants as he runs up and down the left flank…