Michalis Konstantinou (born February 19, 1978 in Paralimni, Cyprus) is a Cypriot football striker. He plays for the Cyprus national football team, and is already the all-time leading scorer with 25 goals in 63 appearances.
An absolute hero at his former club Iraklis FC, Konstantinou is a powerful striker who reportedly turned down offers from a number of leading clubs to sign for his boyhood team, Panathinaikos FC. However, he subsequently joined their city rivals Olympiacos in 2005.
He got his start in professional football playing for Cypriot side Enosis Neon Paralimni FC,for whom he scored 17 goals in 25 games in the 1996/97 season and became top goal scorer of Cypriot Championship. Picked up by Iraklis in Greece in 1997, Konstantinou proved a huge hit, his four seasons producing a total of 61 goals in 119 appearances as he also played in the UEFA Cup.
In 2001, in a deal which took three Panathinaikos FC players to Iraklis, Konstantinou transferred to Panathinaikos for €11.3 million. It was an extraordinary move, but many believed that the young Cypriot striker was more than gifted enough to justify Panathanaikos's bid - the most ever paid for a Cypriot player.
The added pressure did not faze Konstantinou; with Panathinaikos, he had the opportunity to play in the UEFA Champions League, and he earned praise for his role in the team's performance there. He scored a majestic effort in the Camp Nou in the Champions League quarter-final second leg defeat by FC Barcelona. His impressive goal was thought to be Panathinaikos' ticket to the semi-finals, as they needed to conceide 3 goals afterwards to be eliminated. Unfortunately for Konstantinou's team, Barcelona did deliver and won 3-1.
His second season proved less stellar, injury restricting his involvement to 21 league games. Konstantinou tried to turn things around, with a Man of the Match performance in the 2003/04 Greek Cup final scoring twice, but he was not so prolific in the league - netting just five times.
In 2004/05 he had a very good season, with 15 goals, as Panathinaikos lost the title to Olympiacos. Konstantinou even scored against the champions in a 1-0 home win, but it was deemed as too little, too late and his contract was not renewed. Olympiacos CFP jumped at the chance and Konstantinou signed a three-year deal with the double winners, on July 14, 2005. As an Olympiacos player he won with his team the double for 2005/06 and made it two in his career. At the Greek Cup final in 2005/06, where Olympiacos beat AEK Athens 3-0, Konstantinou scored Olympiacos' first goal. He also notably scored a late strike to make it 1-2 in the early season league victory of Olympiacos against AEK FC (final score 1-3) and a crowd-pleaser against his former team, Panathinaikos, to make it 3-1 (match ended 3-2). He became for the second consecutive time champion again with Olympiakos in 2007, even though the season was full of personal injuries and bad luck, he still managed to perform well on some important matches, most notably scoring on the away Champions League match at Shakhtar Donetsk.
During the 2007-2008 season, he has suffered from injuries and has lost his starting position to Darko Kovacevic. It was the last season at Olympiakos.
Konstantinou is currently on trial at Premier League side West Ham, where he made an appearance in a pre-season game for a West Ham United XI against Grays Athletic. There has also recently been interest in Konstantinou from Championship sides Norwich City and Queens Park Rangers.
In the National team, he has been the spearhead of the Cypriot attack. He made his international debut against Albania in August 1998 and subsequently averaged almost a goal every other game in his first 35 caps. His first two goals came the 10th of February 1999 against San Marino at Tsirion stadium (final score 4-0). His blossoming coincided with his nation's vast improvement as a footballing force, although they failed to reach the play-offs for either the 2000 or 2004 UEFA European Championship. He scored also 2 goals against the Republic of Ireland in 2006.
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