Georgios Samaras, ex-Celtic striker, announces retirement at age of 33

Former Celtic striker Georgios Samaras has hung up his boots at the age of 33.

The Greek-born forward began his career with OFI Crete, before joining Heerenveen’s youth system in 2000.

He spent four years in the Eredivisie side’s senior set-up, scoring 30 times in 110 matches and earning a move to Manchester City.

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He netted 12 times in 64 appearances for the Citizens, and joined Celtic on loan for the second half of the 2007/08 season.

Georgios Samaras celebrates a goal for Celtic against Dundee United in April 2014. Picture: SNS Group

The Greek international enjoyed a purple patch durnig his time in Scotland, scoring 74 goals in 253 matches for Celtic and winning four league titles, two Scottish Cups and one League Cup.

After leaving Glasgow, Samaras had a brief spell with West Brom, playing just eight times, and joined Al-Hilal of Saudi Arabia on loan in January 2015.

Although the Saudi side had an option to buy Samaras permanently, he returned to England amid reports that he hadn’t settled in the Middle East.

Sporting Lisbon were linked with the striker, whose Baggies deal was terminated in July 2015.

Moves to Sampdoria in Serie A, and the New York Cosmos were mooted but neither deal came about and Samaras eventually joined up with Rayo OKC in Oklahoma, in the second tier of US football.

However, the club was shut down after just one season, and Samaras became a free agent. He was linked with Real Zaragoza, who he signed for in February 2017.

In August that year, Samaras moved again to Turkey, with Samsunspor. His last goal in football came in a 2-1 loss to Gaziantepspor, while his final appearance was also in a 2-1 away loss, this time to Giresunspor.

Samaras had been linked with a return to Scotland in January of last year, and a reunion with former Celtic manager Neil Lennon at Hibs.

Overall, Samaras made more than 500 apperances, scoring over 120 goals. He was capped 81 times by Greece, and registered nine goals for his country.