Giorgos Donis

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Giorgos Donis
Personal information
Full name Georgios Donis
Date of birth (1969-10-22) 22 October 1969 (age 49)
Place of birth Frankfurt, West Germany
Playing position Midfielder
Club information
Current team
Al-Hilal (manager)
Youth career
1986–1987 Pavlos Melas
1987–1988 Panathinaikos
1988–1989 Athinaikos
1989–1990 Panargiakos
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1990–1991 PAS Giannina 52 (7)
1991–1996 Panathinaikos 107 (31)
1996–1997 Blackburn Rovers 22 (2)
1997–1998 AEK Athens 30 (2)
1999 Sheffield United 7 (1)
1999–2000 Huddersfield Town 21 (0)
2000–2001 AEK Athens 13 (0)
Total 252 (43)
National team
1991–1997 Greece 24 (5)
Teams managed
2002–2004 Ilisiakos
2004–2008 AEL
2008–2009 AEK Athens
2009–2012 Atromitos
2012–2013 PAOK
2013–2015 APOEL
2015– Al-Hilal

* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.

† Appearances (goals)

Giorgos Donis (Greek: Γεώργιος Δώνης) born on 22 October 1969 in Frankfurt, West Germany) is a retired professional football player and the current manager of Al-Hilal FC. He was the first ever Greek to play in the English Premier League. In England, he was also known as George Donis.

Playing career

Giorgos Donis started his career with PAS Giannina in 1990, and after one successful year he moved to Panathinaikos. On 5 June 1996, after helping the Greek club reach the UEFA Champions League semi-finals, Donis moved to Blackburn Rovers on a free transfer, making use of the then recent Bosman ruling signing for 1.1 billion drachmas, a record amount for Greek players at the time. He had an erratic season with Blackburn, scoring twice against Everton.[1] and Coventry City,[2] before signing for Sheffield United. At United he scored once against Ipswich Town.[3] He then headed back home to play for AEK Athens. Later he moved to England again, this time for Huddersfield Town where he ended his career.

International career

He made his debut for the Greek national football team on 22 December 1991, in his team 1–1 draw against Malta for the UEFA Euro 1992 qualifying round.[4] He appeared in 24 matches and scored 5 goals during his international career with Grecce.

Managerial career


After the end of his playing career, he turned to coaching. Starting in 2002, he led Zografou's club Ilisiakos in two consecutive promotions from 4th to 2nd Greek football level. He then made the move to AEL, where after one season he managed to bring the team to the Greek Superleague from the second division and finish them in 8th place the following year. In 2007, Larissa finished only 10th in the league but he managed to bring them the Greek Cup after defeating Panathinaikos 2–1 in the final.[5] In his first taste of European football management, his team AE Larissa defeated his former team Blackburn Rovers to reach the 2007–08 UEFA Cup group stages.[6] He finished a great year in 6th place in the league, missing out on the season play-off's on goal difference.

AEK Athens

On 25 April 2008, Donis stepped down as manager of AEL and on May 14 he was appointed as head coach of AEK Athens.[7] On 17 November 2008, AEK parted company with Giorgos Donis just six months after appointing the former Larissa manager, due to a string of poor performances and early knock out from the UEFA Cup.[8]


In 2009, Giorgos Donis was appointed by Atromitos and at season 2010–11 he reached again the Greek Cup Final to lose 0–3 from his former team AEK Athens. Next year, Atromitos enjoyed another successful spell under his guidance, reaching the Greek Cup Final for a second consecutive time (losing 1–2 from Olympiacos at extra time), as well as participating at the Greek Superleauge play-offs.


On 31 May 2012, PAOK appointed Giorgos Donis as the new manager of the club, on a two-year contract, with immediate effect.[9] On 28 April 2013, after a crucial defeat 0–2 and the elimination in the semi-final of Greek Cup by Asteras Tripolis, he sacked from being PAOK's manager by chairman Ivan Savvidis.[10]


On 11 October 2013, Giorgos Donis signed a contract until the end of the 2013–14 season with the reigning Cypriot champions APOEL, replacing Paulo Sérgio who was fired on 4 October 2013.[11] In his first season at APOEL, Donis achieved to win the double. He won his first title with APOEL on 21 May 2014, when he led his team to a 2–0 victory over Ermis Aradippou in the Cypriot Cup final.[12][13] Ten days later, Donis won also the Cypriot First Division after APOEL's 1–0 away victory against AEL Limassol in the title deciding match and won his first league title in his managerial career.[14][15]

Following a successful first season in the club, Giorgos Donis signed a one-year contract extension with APOEL on 26 June 2014.[16] In August 2014, Donis led APOEL into the group stages of the 2014–15 UEFA Champions League, after eliminating HJK Helsinki (4–2 on aggregate) in the third qualifying round and trashing Aalborg BK 5–1 on aggregate in the play-off round of the competition.[17] APOEL were drawn in Group F alongside Barcelona, Paris Saint-Germain and Ajax.[18] Donis led his team to some great performances in the group stage, but APOEL managed to collect only one point after drawing 1–1 with Ajax at home.[19] In their other five Group F matches, APOEL lost twice to Barcelona (0–4 at home, 0–1 away), lost twice to Paris Saint-Germain (0–1 at home, 0–1 away) and also lost to Ajax 0–4 away.

On 6 January 2015, APOEL and Giorgos Donis parted company by mutual agreement after a poor run of performances and results, culminating in a 1–1 home draw against the last-placed Ayia Napa.[20]


On 25 February 2015, he was appointed as the new manager of Al-Hilal in Saudi Arabia, signing a contract until the end of the season. He helped Al-Hilal to qualify in the semi-final of 2015 AFC Champions League. On 6 June, Donis won the first title with Al-Hilal after defeating Al-Nassr in the final of 2015 King Cup of Champions.

Managerial statistics

As of 30 October 2015
Team Nation From To Record
G W D L Win %
Ilisiakos Greece 1 July 2002 30 June 2004 47 29 11 7 61.70
AEL Greece 1 July 2004 24 April 2008 152 63 40 49 41.45
AEK Athens Greece 14 May 2008 17 November 2008 13 4 7 2 30.77
Atromitos Greece 1 July 2009 30 May 2012 111 40 38 33 36.04
PAOK Greece 1 June 2012 29 April 2013 42 26 9 7 61.90
APOEL Cyprus 11 October 2013 6 January 2015 69 41 15 13 59.42
Al-Hilal Saudi Arabia 4 March 2015 Present 31 21 5 5 67.74
Total 465 224 125 116 48.17







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  2. "Blackburn 4 – 0 Coventry". 4TheGame. 11 January 1997. Retrieved 6 November 2009.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. Daley, Kieran (9 May 1999). "Dejected Ipswich head for play-off lottery". London: The Independent. Retrieved 6 November 2009.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. UEFA EURO 1992 - History - Malta-Greece
  5. Unlikely Larissa take Greek Cup
  6. Larissa explain it all
  7. Donis handed AEK post
  8. Donis's brief tenure at AEK is over
  9. Νέος προπονητής της ομάδας ο Γιώργος Δώνης (in Greek). 31 May 2012. Retrieved 6 June 2012. <templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. Λύνεται το συμβόλαιο με Δώνη, παίζει και του Ιβάν
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  12. ΕΡΜΗΣ ΑΡΑΔΙΠΠΟΥ 0-2 ΑΠΟΕΛ (in Greek). APOEL FC. 21 May 2014. Retrieved 21 May 2014. <templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
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  15. "AEL vs. APOEL 0-1". Soccerway. 31 May 2014. Retrieved 31 May 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  16. "Έβαλε υπογραφή ο Γιώργος Δώνης". 26 June 2014. Retrieved 26 June 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  17. "APOEL ease past AaB and into group stage". UEFA. 26 August 2014. Retrieved 26 August 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  18. "Holders Real Madrid draw Liverpool in group stage". UEFA. 28 August 2014. Retrieved 28 August 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  19. "Ajax thrash APOEL to finish third in Group F". UEFA. 10 December 2014. Retrieved 10 December 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  20. "Κοινή συναινέσει λύση της συνεργασίας με Γιώργο Δώνη". APOEL FC. 6 January 2015. Retrieved 6 January 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links