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Nikolaos Machlas ( ) (born 16 June 1973 in Heraklionmarker, Cretemarker) is a Greekmarker retired footballer. He finished his career as a striker for Cypriot team APOEL.He began his career with OFI Crete, where he made his debut in February 1991 against Panionios. He stayed at the club for six seasons before moving to Dutchmarker side Vitesse Arnhem in 1996.

Machlas scored a disappointing 8 goals in 29 games in his first season in the Eredivisie, but in his second season he scored 34 goals in just 32 games, a feat which earned him the European Golden Boot for the 1997-1998 season. He joined Eredivisie giants Ajax Amsterdam in June 1999, after having scored an impressive 60 goals in 92 matches for Vitesse.

The $7.6 million Ajax paid for him was at the time a club record. Despite netting 38 goals in 74 Eredivisie league games spread over three seasons, his goalscoring record was not deemed prolific enough for the demanding Ajax fans and coaching staff. The team went through a transition as poor results meant Machlas had to endure three different coaches in as many years.His place as striker became threatened by coach Ronald Koeman's preference for the younger strikers Zlatan Ibrahimović and Mido. His 12 goals in the 2001-2002 season were nevertheless important in the run toward the first league title for Ajax in four years. Ajax also won the KNVB Beker that season, meaning they achieved the "double". At the start of the 2002-2003 season, Koeman made it clear to Machlas that there was no future for him anymore in the first team of Ajax and was thus relegated to training and playing matches with the youth team.

After a brief (and frustrating) period in the Ajax youth team, he joined Spanishmarker side Sevilla on loan for the rest of the season. Machlas' time in Spain proved equally unhappy, though. He scored just 2 goals in 14 appearances and was arrested for behaving aggressively to a police officer having been fined for speeding. Upon returning to Ajax, his contract was terminated in July 2003. He then signed for Greek side Iraklis, scoring 10 goals in 25 appearances, before returning to his first club, OFI Crete. Upon the termination of his contract and after conflict with the club's chairman, he moved to APOEL FC, in Cyprusmarker with a one year contract.

Machlas won 61 caps for Greece and scored 18 goals. He also scored the very crucial goal against Russia [215203] that led Greece to FIFA World Cup - USA 94 at only 21 years of age, though Greece lost all three group games to Argentina, Nigeria and Bulgaria and failed to score a goal. He played his last game for Greece against Sweden in February 2002.

On 17 May 2008 Machlas announced his retirement after the end of the Cyprus Cup final. APOEL beat 2-0 Anorthosis and clinched the title, making sure Machlas leaves football as a true winner .






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