PAOK Bring On Injured Captain In Title Winning Match A Week After ACL
Greek side PAOK won their first league title for 34 years last night and they wanted their captain to be involved in the celebrations despite a lengthy lay-off.
Former Wolfsburg man Vieirinha, in his second spell at PAOK, suffered a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament last week and now look sets to be on the sidelines for more than six months.
However, PAOK made the unique decision to name him on the bench against already-relegated Levadiakos and then brought him in stoppage time of the 5-0 victory.
Dimitri Pelkas vacated the field and passed on the captain’s armband to the 33-year old, who didn’t touch the ball and had his knee strapped up.
But the substitution, of course, was done so that Vieirinha would be on the pitch at the exact moment that the referee blew his whistle to end 34 years of heartache for PAOK.
The substitution was almost the opposite of the infamous farce involving John Terry in his final Chelsea game in 2017.
On 26 minutes at Stamford Bridge, a reference to the shirt number associated with Terry throughout his career, the 36 year-old centre-back was subbed off.
Terry was met with a standing ovation from the crowd and his teammates wished him an emotional farewell with a guard of honour as he left the pitch.
It was later revealed that the gesture was Terry’s idea himself, and both Antonio Conte and David Moyes, who confirmed that Sunderland agreed to kick the ball out of play in the 26th minute, were in favour.