The MVP and the Best Goal awards of the 8th matchday were awarded to PAOK players Răzvan Raț and Stefanos Athanasiadis, who topped the competition organised by Super League OPAP, the Panhellenic Association of Professional Players (PSAP) and NOVA.
After the ceremony, Răzvan Raț stated the following:
"These awards are definitely the crowning glory of success for this club. I feel well personally, but without Klaus – who is also present – and the other guys, these awards would not be here, on this table. They are definitely important for me because it means that I do a good job; let us say that it's the result of team work on the pitch but of course I would prefer a team award like the one awarded at the end of the year that is more important and would definitely be better for everyone."
- Given that following the match against PAS, there was a general discussion on whether PAOK can handle playing three matches per week, can you handle this?
"It's not the easiest thing because it's not only about how intense the matches are, it's also about the recovery time and the time required to prepare both mentally and psychologically for the next match, however I don't think we have a choice. We need to do this and we must get used to it and learn how to do this."
- So far, you have scored three goals and given five assists and these numbers speak of an attacking midfielder. Is the level of the Greek championship lower and hence these numbers or is this a really good season for you and your career?
"It's neither, and I am definitely not the right person to judge the level of the Greek championship and especially not yet. But I believe that I try, I try to improve, I try to have a good display in the matches and this is what these numbers probably show."
- Due to your knowledge and your rich football experiences, would you wish to comment on your teammate who is honoured here today, on his talent and his worth, given that you participated with your cross in the goal he scored and for which he received this award today?
"Maybe one of the blue polygons on the ball on the award belongs to me (note: he laughs). The rest of the award is purely his own because my pass may have been… good, but his finish was and is really difficult and very beautiful. I have known him for a short time and I cannot really talk about him. I am however convinced from the beginning that he is a really good player who will help us and I hope we will help him too become top scorer of the championship and that he will also help us as a team."
- In six matches that your opponent took the lead in the score, your side did not win. Is this due to psychology or is it luck? Have you talked about this in the team?
"We haven't really talked about it and I personally think we shouldn't because the difference between 1-0 and 0-1 is also a matter of some luck and it's also a bit early in the season to be able to judge based on something like this. Nevertheless, PAOK is a club that wishes to score the opening goal in every match and the only thing that works properly, the only thing left is to be able to reverse the unfortunate outcomes at the beginning of a match. As in the match the other day, I believe it was pure luck."
- You have been also asked this question in the past: does it help you more now that the weather conditions resemble the conditions in Ukraine?
"My reply was purely a comment regarding more my time off the pitch and not on the pitch, but the only thing I can say about the future is that I wish for more players to be here every time, with the same awards on the table, even if I am here or not; the most important thing is to help the team. And it would be even better if Klaus and I won the Best Goal and MVP awards (note: he bursts out laughing)".
Stefanos Athanasiadis started his quotes by commenting on the similarity between the goal he scored last Sunday and a goal he had scored against Aris: "The goal against Aris was harder because the ball was higher. Of course, the goal against Veria was hard as well. Raț is a good player, he acclimatised from the very first day and I hope he will continue giving assists to the other players too."
On the fact that he often goes outside the box this season: "This helps me and the coach has asked me to do it. Namely to go outside the box and open space for my teammates. I will improve through the training sessions."
On the fact that PAOK does not reverse the outcome when they are behind in the score: "We want to score quick goals so that we have the upper hand from the beginning. We need to get used to it; the last years PAOK always plays many matches within the season. We need to try and be fresh."
On Raț's scoring with a looping header in the match against Atromitos: "I envied this goal, it was beautiful and difficult, he was on the move and he saw the goalkeeper away from his goal. It was a smart goal."
On the fact that PAOK's future in the Greek Cup now depends on the outcomes from other matches: "I believe we will qualify. We are still in the competition and I hope we will manage to continue and qualify for yet another final. We want to win the matches we play, we are not interested in the results of the matches played by the other clubs."