Greek star Andreas Samaris and Caltex Socceroos coach Ange Postecoglou greeted each other warmly when the two met on Friday ahead of Saturday night's friendly at ANZ Stadium.
The Benfica midfielder will be one of Greece’s main players when they meet Australia in the first of two games in the Dodoni Series.
The 26-year-old Greek star was effusive in his praise for Postecoglou, who coached him almost a decade ago at Greek third division outfit Panachaiki.
Both player and coach have since gone on to great things in their careers with Postecoglou a World Cup coach and Hyundai A-League Championship winner, but when they met at the official pre-match press conference, they hugged and talked for some time with the warmth and respect clear for all to see.
"Generally, we had really good results. We were on the top of the table when he left from the team," Samaris said when asked about the opposition coach.
“And I really have good memories of him."
The Portugal based star thanked the Socceroos coach for giving him his first extended run in the first team as a teenager.
It helped lay the platform in his career that saw him move to Olympiacos before a €10m move to Benfica in 2014.
“He didn’t give me my debut but he gave me my first long run of games.
“So that gave me confidence and I started to understand how is professional football in that moment.
“He was really warm with the players. He was talking to us like we were friends but when we were on the field we were the players he was the coach.
“This is what I remember of him eight years ago.
“I believe he helped me a lot to understand a lot of things in a short period of time when I was young.
“I believe until today he helped me a lot and that long run of games he gave me was the key to continue and be where I am now.”
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