PAOK's Fernando Varela Scores, Shares Emotional Celebration With His Son, An Academy Player
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Cape Verdean defender Fernando Varela joined Greek club PAOK FC in July of 2016, and the club’s website says that the move was predominantly made for family reasons. Varela, age 30, married his wife Andreia at 18, and the transfer allowed them to settle in Thessaloniki with their sons Gustavo, Tomas and Lourenço.
While Varela has been a fixture in the heart of PAOK’s defense over the last two seasons, his sons Gustavo and Tomas have joined PAOK’s academy. Last season, Varela experienced a match of extreme highs and lows during an encounter with Greece’s most successful club, Olympiacos.
Varela opened the scoring for PAOK in the sixth minute with his first goal for the club, but he then scored a disastrous own goal for Olympiacos in the 25th.
Olympiacos would then score at the death to compound Varela’s misery. What’s more, Olympiacos would go on to win the 2016-17 Superleague with a total of 67 points. PAOK would finish second with 61. That match effectively settled it.
We certainly can’t substantiate this, but it’s been said that Gustavo, the oldest son, was given a lot of grief from his peers for his father’s own goal in that match.
However, fast forward to Feb. 12, 2018, and Varela has just notched his first goal of the 2017-18 season in the club’s 3-0 victory over AE Larisa. The victory keeps PAOK at the top of the Superleague table, two points clear of AEK Athens after 21 matches.
The goal triggered a hugely emotional celebration from the defender, who found his son behind the goal and celebrated wildly. What a moment.