For Lefteris Lyratzis, there wasn’t a second thought about what he would do with his life. It was a question that did not really bother him, since it was perhaps already predestined, «and not just because my father was a footballer». Lyratzis’s abilities and talents were evident from a very young age, especially from the age of 12, when he joined PAOK and began to work under the coaches at the PAOK Academy. He has consistently confirmed that early promise ever since.
He was six years old when he first started training at Keravnos Krinidon. His family moved from Kavala to Thessaloniki in 2012 just for PAOK. It was here that Lefteris became a man, and here, where his two younger brothers also played football. He first played as a winger due to his speed and ability to play on both flanks. Since 2015 he has been converted into a full-back. He’s very fast, while being equally capable with both feet. It’s worth noting that in the 2017-18 season he made 24 appearances for the Under-19 side, scoring nine goals from the position of right back.
He has always been a ‘leader’ at PAOK. He won the championship with the Under-14s and Under-15s during the 2014-15 season, and also when playing for the Under-17s, with which he also won a league title. Then again with the Under-19s he was also a title winner in the 2017-18 and 2018-19 seasons. Lyratzis has also represented Greece at every youth level, but his best career memory to date is the goal he scored for PAOK against Paris Saint-Germain at the Lennart Johansson tournament at the age of 13.
A combination of hard work, maturity and continuous improvement saw him join the first team for pre-season training in the summer of 2018. In the 2018-19 season he played four times for the full senior side, and the next season he went out on loan to Volos. He played 27 times for the team from Magnesia, and also celebrated his first goal in the top flight.
He has since returned to the club, has continued to work hard and wait for the opportunity to get playing time. And those opportunities have arrived. The first came on October 4 against OFI Crete at the Toumba, the second on November 5 in 4-1 win over PSV Eindhoven in the Europa League, and a full 90 minutes in the recent victory over Apollon Smyrnis at Rizoupoli on November 8. It’s clear that more will follow…