Western Melbourne Group (WMG) today has signed Greek international Panagiotis Kone as the club’s international marquee player ahead of their first Hyundai A-League campaign kicking off in October this year.
The exciting 31-year-old attacking midfielder arrives on a two-year deal and is Western Melbourne’s historic first player signing after the club announced two assistant coaches (John Anastasiadis and John Hutchinson) joined in recent weeks.
The Greek international has an excellent pedigree having played 160 games in one of the world’s best leagues, Italy’s Serie A.
He is also a Greek Championship winner.
Kone has captained Italian club Bologna and also starred in the Greek national side at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, where they qualified for the knockout stages.
He has represented Greece 28 times.
The attacking midfielder was nominated for the 2013 FIFA Puskas (goal of the year) Award for an amazing bicycle kick he scored for Bologna against Napoli.
Western Melbourne’s new signing has played his entire senior career in the Italian and Greek leagues and as such brings a huge amount of quality to the club and league.
He was born in Albania but started his career in the Olympiakos academy followed by a move to French club Lens at the age of 17.
His last club in Europe was Udinese in Italy and before that AEK Athens.
In 2016, Kone was in the initial Greek squad to play the Socceroos in Australia but didn’t make the final 24-man touring group.
The stylish star speaks excellent English and is expected to become a fans’ favourite in Western Melbourne with his charisma and personality.
And with over 52,000 followers on Instagram (@panko33) he is tipped to draw a global social media focus on Victoria’s new A-League club.
“I am looking forward to playing a big part for Western Melbourne on and off the field,” said Kone. “I am excited to meet my new teammates but also the great Greek community in Melbourne.”
“Our club has made a huge statement by signing Panagiotis Kone as our inaugural marquee player,” said Western Melbourne Group’s Football Director and former Socceroo Steve Horvat.
“Panagiotis has played at the highest level and represented his country at a World Cup in Brazil. He’s an attacker who will get the fans off their seats. He brings genuine quality to our club and the league and has an international profile which will boost our club’s reputation globally.
“What’s more, he speaks good English, and is a real character who our fans and the entire community of western Melbourne will love seeing represent them in the A-League.
“This signing shows how serious we are about building a strong squad for our first season in the A-League and we cannot wait for Panagiotis to arrive and get started.”