Sun. Dec 15th, 2019

The Panaitolikos, the only elite team that has not yet won in Europe

In the shield of Panaitolikos appears Titormos, the weight lifter who defeated Milon
of Crotone, considered the strongest man in ancient Greece. But the team of Arginium He is not honoring the hero of his emblem. Unlike. It is weak and without energy. Soft, as a propitiatory victim, has not yet won anyone. It is the only team of 15 best
Europe leagues which has reached the month of December without knowing the victory.

That classic tragedy is living in first person Joan Roman (Reus, 18 / V / 1993). The midfielder, who spent two and a half seasons in the Barça Blanded on the Panaitolikos in summer. "I was surprised because it is a very competitive league, with a high level," he explains to this newspaper after his experiences in the top categories in Portugal, Poland and Cyprus. Since leaving the subsidiary in 2015, after the decline to Second B, has not stopped still.

Two and a half years in Barcelona B

“The goal was to be sixth; the table does not reflect the game but we are going to turn it around, ”says Joan Roman

Joined in 2012 at Manchester City, Roman made the preseason with the first team under Tito Vilanova. He never made his debut in an official game but in Hambugo he played 45 minutes in a friendly. He coincided with Sergi Roberto (his good friend), Rafinha, Munir, Sandro, Masip, Adama, Grimaldo, Sergi Gómez or Deulofeu.

“When they signed me they told me that the goal was to be among the first six,” he reveals to The vanguard . "No one could expect that we would be in this situation," says the media.

This is the seventh consecutive season for Panaitolikos in the Greek First Division. In the 2014-15 academic year he finished seventh with 14 victories in 34 days. And he wanted to get closer to Europe. “It's a serious club, well organized. Our stadium, the Panetolikou, is small, but it looks like English, and the grass is always very well maintained, ”he crumbles.

However, the team has gotten into a very deep pothole. He is a player with just 4 points from four draws in 12 days and to find his last victory in the Greek Super League you have to go back to April 14, 2018 when he defeated Apollon Smirnis 0-1. The Reus footballer, who sees him from the inside, does not want to believe that they are the worst team on the continent. No way. Nor from Greece, he argues. "It's not realistic," he defends his teammates. "Honestly, the ranking does not reflect the game and the team we have." The coach tells them Makis Chavos. "He supports us and tells us that we are working well."

Against Larissa they missed all three points in the absence of 10 minutes. Before the Asteras Tripolis for a penalty. The Xanthi took them back in five minutes. "I do not believe in luck but everything is happening to us: expulsions, decisions of the VAR …", laments Roman, who highlights the equality of the league. "Now Olympiacos and PAOK set the tone but anything can happen between the rest." This Saturday they receive at their stadium Olympiacos, the leader. Far from being scared, Roman is brave. "It may be the turning point we need."

Of course, morals are not lacking. “We will turn it over. We just need to enter the ball to start climbing, ”he predicts. The Uruguayan striker Jorge Díaz – “who grew up in Cambrils” – and the French defender Johan Martial stand out from the squad. “He is the brother of the United striker. A very good center ”, which was once U19 European champion with Griezmann and Lacazette.

“Soccer has many paths. It doesn't end on elite teams. At 16, I went alone to Manchester. I speak English, Portuguese, chattering the Polish and I am learning Greek. All for football ”, points ten years after leaving the quarry of Espanyol. “Personally I want to do well here to stay in one of the greats of Greece. I think I can". What he cannot avoid, not even in the worst team in Europe (numbers in his hand), is to be asked about Barça, Messi and La Masia. “Wherever I go, they interrogate me. Be part of me. " Although now it is his turn to look the classification upside down and fight to reverse a run that would be unthinkable at the Camp Nou.

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