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Nikolaos Machlas (Greek: Νίκος Μαχλάς, born 16 June 1973 in Heraklion) is a Greek retired footballer and now chairman of OFI Crete. He finished his career as a striker for Cypriot team APOEL.

Club career

He began his career with OFI Crete, where he made his debut in February 1991 against Panionios. He stayed at the club for six seasons before moving to Dutch side Vitesse Arnhem in 1996.[1]

Machlas scored a disappointing 8 goals in 29 games in his first season in the Eredivisie, but in his second season he scored 34 goals in just 32 games, a feat which earned him the European Golden Boot for the 1997-1998 season. After having scored 60 goals in 92 matches for Vitesse, Machlas joined Eredivisie giants Ajax Amsterdam in June 1999 for a then-club record $7.6 million.

Despite netting 38 goals in 74 Eredivisie league games spread over three seasons, Machlas' goalscoring record was not deemed prolific enough for the demanding Ajax fans and coaching staff. The team went through a transition as poor results meant Machlas had to endure three different coaches in as many years.

His place as striker became threatened by coach Ronald Koeman's preference for the younger strikers Zlatan Ibrahimović and Mido. His 12 goals in the 2001-2002 season were nevertheless important in the run toward the first league title for Ajax in four years. Ajax also won the KNVB Beker that season, meaning they achieved the "double". At the start of the 2002-2003 season, Koeman made it clear to Machlas that there was no future for him anymore in the first team of Ajax and was thus relegated to training and playing matches with the youth team.

After a brief (and frustrating) period in the Ajax youth team, he joined Spanish side Sevilla on loan for the rest of the season. Machlas' time in Spain proved equally unhappy, though. He scored just 2 goals in 14 appearances and was arrested for behaving aggressively to a police officer having been fined for speeding. Upon returning to Ajax, his contract was terminated in July 2003. He then signed for Greek side Iraklis, scoring 10 goals in 26 appearances, before returning to his first club, OFI Crete. Upon the termination of his contract and after conflict with the club's chairman, he moved to APOEL, in Cyprus and signed a two years contract. On his first year at APOEL he helped his team to win the Championship.

On 17 May 2008 Machlas announced his retirement after the end of the Cypriot Cup final, where APOEL beat 2-0 Anorthosis and clinched the title.[2]

In 2009 he returned to his first club OFI in Crete to take up the role of Sporting Director as they bid to return to the Greek Superleague.
International career

Machlas won 61 caps for Greece and scored 18 goals. He also scored the very crucial goal against Russia [1] that led Greece to FIFA World Cup - USA 94 at only 20 years of age. He started each of Greece's group games in the USA though they lost all three, to Argentina, Nigeria and Bulgaria and failed to score a goal. He played his last game for Greece against Sweden in February 2002.
International goals

# Date Venue Opponent Score Result Competition
1. 10 March 1993 Wien, Austria  Austria 1–2 Loss Friendly
2. 12 October 1993 Luxembourg City, Luxembourg  Luxembourg 1–3 Win 1994 FIFA World Cup qualifier
3. 17 November 1993 Athens, Greece  Russia 1–0 Win 1994 FIFA World Cup qualifier
4. 27 April 1994 Athens, Greece  Saudi Arabia 5–1 Win Friendly
5. 27 April 1994 Athens, Greece  Saudi Arabia 5–1 Win Friendly
6. 12 October 1994 Thessaloniki, Greece  Finland 4–0 Win UEFA Euro 1996 qualifier
7. 12 October 1994 Thessaloniki, Greece  Finland 4–0 Win UEFA Euro 1996 qualifier
8. 16 November 1994 Athens, Greece  San Marino 2–0 Win UEFA Euro 1996 qualifier
9. 15 November 1995 Heraklion, Greece  Faroe Islands 5–0 Win UEFA Euro 1996 qualifier
10. 19 August 1997 Thessaloniki, Greece  Cyprus 2–1 Win Friendly
11. 6 September 1997 Ljubljana, Slovenia  Slovenia 0–3 Win 1998 FIFA World Cup qualifier
12. 6 September 1998 Athens, Greece  Slovenia 2–2 Draw UEFA Euro 2000 qualifier
13. 14 October 1998 Athens, Greece  Georgia 3–0 Win UEFA Euro 2000 qualifier
14. 5 June 1999 Tbilisi, Georgia  Georgia 1–2 Win UEFA Euro 2000 qualifier
15. 13 November 1999 Kilkis, Greece  Nigeria 2–0 Win Friendly
16. 13 November 1999 Kilkis, Greece  Nigeria 2–0 Win Friendly
17. 2 June 2001 Heraklion, Greece  Albania 1–0 Win 2002 FIFA World Cup qualifier
18. 10 November 2001 Athens, Greece  Estonia 4–2 Win Friendly


Honours

Ajax

Eredivisie: 2002
KNVB Cup: 1999, 2002

APOEL

Cypriot First Division: 2007
Cypriot Cup: 2008

Individual

European Golden Boot 1998 (Vitesse)

References

Kolokotsios, Lambros (27 September 2010). "Αθλητικοί Φάκελοι (ΜΑΧΛΑΣ)" [Sporting Capsules (Machlas)] (in Greek). Evrytania News.
""Αντίο" στα γήπεδα είπε ο Μαχλάς" (in Greek). contra.gr. 2008-05-18. Retrieved 2008-05-19.

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