A young man who could not be anything other than a footballer. That he would want to become one is a given. Whether he could or could not, is up to him, and his obviously emphatic love for football. Giannis Konstantelias is disarmingly honest when he says that «the only thing that makes me so happy is the game; to play it beautifully and creatively». And, as it seems, he has all the prospects and credentials to experience it, and to do it.
A player with rare technical skills, Konstantelias is also both mentally and technically strong on the pitch. Clearly when your coaches characterize you as an «extremely intelligent» footballer, this obviously confirms that he has many qualifications to develop into a very good attacking midfielder. From a very young age he drew a lot of attention, he also had European scouts from other clubs interested. Before he turned 18 he represented themen’s senior side, and he has committed himself to PAOK until 2027.
Konstantelias was nine years old when he went to the academy of Agia Paraskevi in Volos. Initially, he trained with his peers, but he quickly joined the training sessions of the older age groups. He was not interested in anything else apart from playing football. «I played all day, for many hours. I played in the parks, on the street,» he recalls. «I found football more creative on the street, so I fell in love with it,» he continues.
In 2013 PAOK entered his life and he moved from Volos to Thessaloniki. At first he played as a forward, then he moved to the center, but also played on the wings. He says that «I also like playing as a classic number 10, but also I think it suits me to play as a left winger». The only thing he does not want to remember is when one of his coaches asked him to play as a stopper. And he is not joking. He seems to mean it when he mentions it perhaps as his worst moment.
At the PAOK Academy he worked hard, experienced good moments, gained valuable experiences in domestic and international tournaments, and was twice named MVP. Also, with the Under-17 side he experienced being both a cup winner and a losing finalist, while with the Under-19 team he celebrated two league championships, being elevated from a young age to the «older ones» of the academy.
In the 2017-18 season, he scored nine goals and contributed seven assists in 14 matches. The next campaign saw him produce four goals and 15 assists in 18 games. In the 2019-20 season – for as long as the Under-19 season lasted due to interruptions because of the pandemic – he scored one goal in seven games. As for the «half» season of 2020-2021, he managed to score five times in six matches and also dish out three assists. He is also of course, a Greek youth international.
The year 2021 began ideally for Konstantelias, as on January 17 he made his debut with the men’s senior team in an away match against OFI Crete shortly before he turned 18 years old. In fact, he finished the season, playing in a total of three games.
In his spare time, surprise, surprise, he plays football. He also likes to meet up with his friends of course, while he also plays table tennis.