The new football season in Turkey will be named after Greek player Lefteris Antoniadis (Lefter Kucukandonyadis), who is considered to be one of the top footballers ever to play in Greece’s neighbor.
The Turkish Football Federation has decided to name the 2018-2019 championship “Lefter Kucukandonyadis”, in order to honor the Greek forward for his great performances in the 1950’s and his contribution to Turkish football in general.
Lefteris Antoniadis (1924-2012) was the top football player in the history of Fenerbahce and Turkish football. During his long career (1941-1964) he played in 752 games and scored 506 goals. He played 46 times for Turkey‘s national football team — in nine of them as the captain.
The great Lefter was head of Turkey’s national team when he scored against Greece (23/4/1948, 3-1), resulting in many Greeks calling him a “traitor”.
However, even though he used to remove the crucifix he was wearing around his neck when he sang the Turkish national anthem, no one dared to disapprove of him.
He made history by scoring two goals with the national colors of Turkey in the 1954 World Cup in Germany.
With Fenerbahce, the Greek player scored 423 goals in 615 matches.
The “Professor”, as Greeks called him, was the first footballer of the Turkish championship to play in a foreign team, when he signed with Italy’s Fiorentina in 1951.
Antoniadis passed away on January 13, 2012 at the age of 87. His funeral was attended by thousands of Turkish citizens, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and even conservative Muslims lit a candle in his memory at the Greek Orthodox Church of St. Demetrios in Istanbul.