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  • Writer's pictureAri & Costa

Podence: A Man, Myths & Legend

Two instagram stories posted by Daniel Podence’s wife after yesterday’s 2-0 win against AEK were enough to swing the emotions of Olympiacos fans from the joy of victory to spirals of confusion and doubt. Moments after he was subbed off in the 81st minute, the moment got the better of Podence with tears descending down his face. Our Superman on the pitch, is just as human as all of us when he walks of it. As Olympiacos fans watched an emotional Podence make his way round the pitch to the dugout, the same thoughts clouded the minds of all our fan base. Was this really “the last dance” for the diminutive Portuguese magician in front of the Karaiskakis faithful and what about the buy option that was reported?

To answer the last question, we need to start from the beginning: the summer of 2018.

The summer of 2018 saw the arrival of Pedro Martins and the Portuguese revolution at Olympiacos. The club signed two promising Portuguese players: goalkeeper Jose Sa and winger Daniel Podence. Both players belong to super-agent Jorge Mendes. When asked how he came to Olympiacos, Jose Sa recalls the story of how one day he got a call from Mendes telling him “tomorrow you’re flying to Athens to sign with Olympiacos”, and the rest is history. The circumstances were likely very similar with Daniel Podence, a player long admired by Olympiacos’ Strategic Advisor Christian Karembeu. Little did we know that this was the beginning of a unique love affair between Podence and Olympiacos.

Fast forward to the 2020 January transfer window, Podence was sold to Premier League side Wolves for just under €20 million. A deal brokered by Jorge Mendes. A few months later, fate played a nasty game on Olympiacos and Podence, with Olympiacos drawing Wolves in the round of 16 of the Europa League after Thrylos picked up a big scalp, beating Arsenal on away goals (2-2) with a famous late El Arabi winner.

Olympiacos and Wolves drew 1-1 in the first leg at the Karaiskakis Stadium and lost the second leg 1-0 thanks to a penalty converted by Raul Jimenez. Guess who won the penalty? Later that summer Olympiacos Vice President Kostas Karapappas revealed in an interview how after the game in Greece, Podence left the Wolves dressing room to go and be with his former team mates and later have dinner with them. Podence’s dream of playing the premier league had come true but a part of his heart was still in Piraeus.

Last summer and after three years at Wolves, Daniel Podence returned to Olympiacos on loan after falling out with the management at Wolves. He was greeted by hundreds of delirious Olympiacos fans at Athens international airport. In his first comments, he stated how he was in the best condition of his life and underlined the reasons behind his decision to rejoin Olympiacos and leave the best league in the world: because this is the place that made him feel like home.

Daniel Podence’s return to Olympiacos has met and exceeded expectations. Through a turbulent season with three different managers, he has managed a whopping 26 goal contributions(14G/12A) in all competitions. This puts him behind only Ayoub El Kaabi’s 35 goal contributions(32G/3A) and Kostas Fortounis’s 30 goal contributions(11G/19A). Olympiacos fans had fond memories of Daniel’s stellar ball carrying ability and low center of gravity. What they did not expect, was his vision and heightened understanding of the game after his return. Podence brought with him this season an ability to cut defenses open as was evident by his team-leading Smart Passes per 90. On his day, Podence is a player you can count on to make something from nothing.

Since Daniel’s emotional sendoff against Aek at the Karaiskaki there have been numerous reports by media in Greece regarding his loan and option status. Some media have claimed there is an option of €5-6 million but Olympiacos is negotiating.

If we refer to the official statement by Wolves, there is NO reference to any option to purchase. Additionally, the statement indicates the intent to either resign the player to a longer contact or “maximize his value” for a sale. Our sources in England have all presented the same information to us. There is no buyout option in Daniel’s loan. With Financial Fair Play on the mind in some respects, they intend to sell Daniel in the open market for between £5-10 million. There is no report of interest by any teams yet, but the expectation is that the phone will ring following the UEFA Conference League Final.

Olympiacos undoubtedly will be doing its part to secure Podence on a permanent basis. In the end, the deal will hinge on two people – Olympiacos President Vaggelis Marinakis and Jorge Mendes. Olympiacos rekindled its relationship with Jorge Mendes this past winter. This reunion was signaled by a number of signings both with Forest and Olympiacos, including Forest’s current coach Nuno Espirito Santo. If Mendes and Marinakis find common ground, the deal will get done.

Regardless of whatever happens, Podence has the opportunity to enter the pantheon of Olympiacos players with legendary status. Furthermore, he has an opportunity to achieve what has eluded the legends before him, a European title. Victory in the UEFA Europa Conference League final will cement Podence eternally as a legend of the Red and White whether he stays here beyond the season or not.






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