Tributes flow for legendary AEK Athens footballer Mimis Papaioannou

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Tributes have poured in for legendary AEK Athens footballer, Mimis Papaioannou, who passed away in Athens, Greece on Wednesday at the age of 81. 

Papaioannou had been suffering from serious health problems for years since the legend of AEK and Greek football was battling Alzheimer’s disease.

In a tribute post on Facebook, AEK Athens wrote: “Your flame will never be extinguished. Memory eternal Mimis Papaioannou.”

Fans have flooded the post with comments to pay their respects to Papaioannou. “A fantastic footballer,” one commenter wrote, while others sent their condolences to his family.

Originally from Nea Nikomedia, Imathia, and born on August 23, 1942, Papaioannou developed into one of the greatest footballers to ever play the game in Greece.

Mimis Papaioannou.

He is the all-time top scorer for AEK, with 289 goals in 566 matches, of which 236 were in 481 appearances for the A grade National Team. Papaioannou also could have played for Spanish giants Real Madrid who had pursued him, but the deal fell through.

The International Federation of Football History and Statistics (IFFHS) officially recognised him as the leading Greek footballer of the 20th century. In 2003, he was voted as the third best Greek football player by the Hellenic Football Federation (EPO), while in 2021 again IFFHS chose him in the best 11 of all time in Greek football.

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