ATHENS, March 8, 2013 (AFP) – A Greek football player has given up playing in the top flight Super League and joined a fifth division German squad in order to be near his sick son, Athens sports daily Goal News revealed Friday.
Former Levadiakos defender Giannis Alexiou, 28, has switched to KFC Uerdingen 05 after his new-born son Thanos was diagnosed with a rare lung disease, hyperoxaluria type 1, and had to be taken to a children’s hospital in Athens.
Months of therapy in Athens and Thessaloniki failed to cure the child, prompting Alexiou to take his son to Germany, where his condition is currently being treated.
“The only thing that mattered was the child and not my career. I did not come to Germany to quit football, either. I’m here to be near my child,” Alexiou said.
With bitterness he spoke about his former Greek team, where he was asked to accept a 30 percent pay cut at a time when he needed funds to pay his son’s expensive medical bills.
Alexiou said Livadiakos had also promised to help pay 25,000 euros of medical bills for Thanos, but failed to do so.
The Super League, through the actions of the Greek Professional Players’ Association, have promised Alexiou that the bills will be taken care of.
In Germany, Alexiou and his family have been welcomed by KFC Uerdingen 05′s Greek-German chairman Lakis Kourkoudialos, who has insured them to cover Thanos’ medical expenses.
“I thank all those who have helped,” Alexiou said. – AFP
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