GEORGIOS Samaras has broken his silence on his Celtic contract stalemate and hinted he that wants to stay with the Scottish champions.
The Greek striker is out of contract in the summer and talks have stalled on a new deal. Manager Neil Lennon stated last week that both Samaras and Joe Ledley may have to be shipped out once next month’s transfer window reopens, with interest from Toronto FC, Lazio and Hull City, rather than allow them to run their contracts down. Now Samaras has insisted he’s made no decision on his future.
The 28-year-old has admitted he owes his career to the Parkhead side, and said: “Celtic have been my team for the past seven seasons. They have helped me change my mentality as a footballer. They have won titles and made me feel like a winner.
“To make a step up to another team or a more competitive league, I can’t just turn up and say ‘hello, here I am,’ there would have to be interest. And for that to happen, I have to perform well with Celtic for any team to be actually interested in me.
“I don’t know what the next stage of my career will bring. What I can say for certain is that I enjoy my football here. I would like to play in a more competitive league to test myself, but it would need to be somewhere where they want to be winners.
“I’ve been at Manchester City before they got all their money where we would lose 1-0 and finish 12th and that was viewed as a success. I’ve been at that side of football before. My incentive is to be a winner. There’s no way I could sign for a team whose objective is to finish in tenth place. I want to be at a team who are the best in their league.
“First and foremost, money has never been a motivating factor in my career because I could have left Celtic and signed for a team with more money. Occasionally, I have had offers, most often from teams in England who have offered me more money than I was getting at Celtic. That proves I have always put money into the background.”
And Samaras has promised he has no intention of taking it easy as his contract runs down. He stressed: “I am not thinking about my contract ending. You have to honour the contract you have signed. If you start thinking about leaving, you can lose your focus very easily and then you lose the confidence of the manager and your team mates. I have been through a lot with this team and my only thoughts at present is how I achieve the team’s aims. How will things develop, I do not know. But I owe a lot to this team.”
Samaras was even linked with a surprise move to Barcelona earlier this season, but, speaking on Greek TV sports programme SuperBall, he explained: “The story came about because a Spanish newspaper ran a vote about who they wanted to see at Barcelona with various players and included my name. That obviously didn’t mean they were interested. I suppose I should take it as a positive that I am known in that part of the world, though!”