APOEL FC (Greek: ΑΠΟΕΛ; short for Αθλητικός Ποδοσφαιρικός Όμιλος Ελλήνων Λευκωσίας, Athletikos Podosferikos Omilos Ellinon Lefkosias, literally "Athletic Football Club of Greeks of Nicosia") is a Cypriot professional football club based in Nicosia, Cyprus. APOEL is the most popular and the most successful football team in Cyprus with an overall tally of 28 national championships, 21 cups, and 13 super cups.
|Full name||Athletikos Podosferikos Omilos Ellinon Lefkosias|
|Nickname(s)||Τhrylos (The Legend)|
|Founded||8 November 1926|
|Owner||APOEL Football Limited|
|2019–20||First Division, 3rd|
|Active departments of APOEL Nicosia|
APOEL's greatest moment in the European competitions occurred in the 2011–12 season, when the club participated in the group stages of the 2011–12 UEFA Champions League (along with FC Porto, Shakhtar Donetsk, and Zenit St. Petersburg). The club achieved qualification for the quarter-finals of the competition by topping the group and eliminating Olympique Lyonnais in the last 16, becoming the only Cypriot club to reach the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals. APOEL's European competitions highlights also include appearances in the group stages of the 2009–10 and 2014–15 UEFA Champions League and the group stages of the 2013–14, 2015–16, and 2016–17 UEFA Europa League. They marked their most successful UEFA Europa League campaign during the 2016–17 season, when they managed to top their group (along with Olympiacos, Young Boys, and Astana) and eliminated Athletic Bilbao in the round of 32, to reach the last 16 of the competition for the first time in their history. APOEL is the only Cypriot club who have reached the group stages (and the knockout stages) of both major UEFA competitions (UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League). In the 2016–17 season, APOEL drew an average home league attendance of 7,126 and their highest league attendance was 15,462. Both were the highest in the league.
APOEL FC is part of the APOEL multi-sport club, which was founded in 1926 and maintains departments for several sports including football, basketball, volleyball, futsal, table tennis, bowling, cycling, archery, swimming and water polo. APOEL is one of the founding members of the Cyprus Football Association and also an ordinary member of the European Club Association, an organization that replaced the previous G-14 which consists of major football clubs in Europe.
1926–1929 : The early years
The club was formed as POEL (Greek: ΠΟΕΛ; Ποδοσφαιρικός Όμιλος Ελλήνων Λευκωσίας, Podosferikos Omilos Ellinon Lefkosias, Football Club of Greeks of Nicosia) on 8 November 1926. The club's formation came about when a group of forty people, with a common vision, met and set the foundations for creating a football club that would represent the Greek residents of the capital and express their deep desire for Cyprus' incorporation (enosis) into Greece. The meeting took place at a traditional confectionery, owned by Charalambos Hadjioannou, downtown in Ledra Street and the first president of the club was Giorgos Poulias. The first clubhouse was the "Athenians Club" (Λέσχη Αθηναίων) at the end of Ledra Street.
After a journey to the football club in Alexandria, Egypt in 1927 the General Assembly of 1928 decided the players showed that they were not just good footballers but also excellent track and field athletes. Hence it was decided to create a track and field team in addition to the football team. The name APOEL was adopted to reflect this, with the 'A' standing for 'Athletic'. Soon after a volleyball team and a table tennis team were established.
The 1930s : The first league titles
Cyprus did not have any country-wide league until 1932. Football clubs of the time played friendly matches only. In 1932, Pezoporikos Larnaca organised an unofficial league, the first island-wide league, and it was won by APOEL after defeating AEL Limassol in the final by 4–0. In 1934, there was a disagreement between Trust and Anorthosis Famagusta on the organisation of the fourth unofficial league. APOEL and AEL Limassol organised a meeting for the foundation of a country-wide governing body and an official country-wide league. The meeting took place in APOEL's clubhouse on 23 September and the establishment of the Cyprus Football Association was agreed. Two years later the APOEL football team celebrated its first championship title of the official Cyprus football league. APOEL also won the championship for the following four years, making this a very successful period for the club with 5 consecutive championships (1936–1940).
The 1948 conflicts
Politics, however, would soon spark conflict within the team. On 23 May 1948 the board of the club send a telegram to the Hellenic Association of Amateur Athletics (Greek: Σ.Ε.Γ.Α.Σ.), with the opportunity of the annual Panhellenic Track and Field Competition, which included wishes that "the rebellion" is finished. Several leftist club members perceived the telegram as a political comment on the Greek Civil War and they distanced themselves from the club. A few days later, on 4 June 1948, they founded AC Omonia, which until today is the archrival of APOEL and there has been a traditional animosity between the fans of the two teams.
More conflicts led to further struggles for APOEL. Athletes belonging to the club frequently participated in national clashes. During the 1955–59 national uprising against the British, many of APOEL's athletes and members of the club were active members of EOKA (the National Organisation of Cypriot Fighters), the most outstanding example being the club's track and field athlete Michalakis Karaolis who was hanged by the British colonial authorities. During this period the football team had their closest brush with relegation as most football players were actively taking part in the national struggle.
Triumph in the 1963–64 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup
The football team were quickly back to full strength and made their debut in European Competitions (the first not only for APOEL but for any Cypriot team) in 1963, when they faced the Norwegian team SK Gjøvik-Lyn in the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup. Two victories for APOEL over both legs (6–0, 1–0) marked APOEL's successful European debut, as they became the first Hellenic team to progress in a European Competition. The next round against the tournament winners Sporting Clube de Portugal met APOEL with their heaviest defeat ever (16–1) and put an end to APOEL's European debut.
The successful participation in pan-Hellenic Greek Championship
Other triumphs followed in the early 1970s. In 1973 the domestic double was achieved with coach Panos Markovic. The following year APOEL became the only Cypriot team to avoid relegation from the pan-Hellenic Greek Championship. That was also the last season that the Cypriot champion played in the Greek Football League the following year due to the volatile situation in Cyprus during 1974.
The 1980s: European Cup 1986–87 withdrawal
The 1980s were a relatively fruitless period for APOEL. They have only won two championships (1980,1986), one cup (1984) and two super cups (1984, 1986). In 1986 APOEL was drawn against Beşiktaş J.K. for the second round of the European Cup. This was the first time that a Cypriot team faced a Turkish team in a European football competition. The Cypriot government prohibited APOEL from playing against the Turkish team, so APOEL was punished with two years disqualification from any UEFA competition. This penalty was later reduced to one-year.
The 1990s : The unbeaten "double" in 1995–96
The 1990s were a successful decade for APOEL with 3 championships (1990, 1992, 1996), 5 cups (1993, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1999) and 4 super cups (1992, 1993, 1996, 1999). The most successful season in the 1990s was 1995–96 in which APOEL achieved a celebratory double while remaining undefeated in the league. The basketball team won a double on the same season, making this the ideal season for a 70th anniversary celebration.
The formation of APOEL FC Company
APOEL Football (Public) Ltd was established in May 1997, after the decision of APOEL committee. This had a significant effect on the club because it separated the activities of the football team from those of the sports club. The formation of the company was necessitated by the financial difficulties the team faced at the time. The company began its operations with a capital of CY £600,000.
The domestic domination of the last fifteen years
APOEL is the most successful football team in Cyprus since the 2000s. The last fifteen years, the club won ten championships (2002, 2004, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017), four cups (2006, 2008, 2014, 2015) and six super cups (2002, 2004, 2008, 2009, 2011, 2013). In season 2013–14, APOEL achieved a historical domestic treble by winning all the Cypriot competitions trophies, the league, the cup and the super cup. The next season (2014–15), the club won their second consecutive double, after winning again the championship and the cup. The 2016–17 season, APOEL managed to win their fifth consecutive league title and equalled the club's record which was set 77 years before (1936–1940).
APOEL's first great run in European competitions came in 2002, when the team was knocked out on the third qualifying round of the UEFA Champions League, entered the UEFA Cup and reached the second round of the competition. The following years, APOEL qualified four times for the UEFA Champions League group stages (2009–10, 2011–12, 2014–15, 2017–18), and managed to reach the quarter-finals in the 2011–12 season. The team also participated in the group stages of the 2013–14, 2015–16 & 2016–17 UEFA Europa League, managing to reach the last 16 of the competition in the 2016-17 season.
APOEL FC as a company
The football department of APOEL is legally owned by APOEL Football (Public) Ltd (Greek: ΑΠΟΕΛ Ποδόσφαιρο (Δημόσια) Λτδ), a public limited company, since 1997. The company's main activity is the management, operation and commercial exploitation of APOEL Football club. The company owns all the rights for the football department under an agreement with APOEL sports club and pays the club CY£100,000 annually for the privilege. The agreement between the company and the club is renewed every five years. The company has 1745 shareholders and besides the football club, also maintains a team boutique (Orange Shop), the APOELFC (Greek: ΑΠΟΕΛFC) magazine and the apoelfc.com.cy website among others.
APOEL's youth academy is a separate legal entity from the football club. They are responsible for the under 21 teams for football, basketball and volleyball and they have their own board of directors and budget. The football academy has produced many quality Cypriot players over the years. Players started from the academy and had great contribution APOEL are: Marinos Satsias, Constantinos Charalambides, Nektarios Alexandrou, Michalis Morfis and Marios Antoniades. All of them have also competed at international level with the Cyprus national football team while Charalambides and Alexandrou have played for teams in the Greek Super League in the past.
UEFA Youth League participations
APOEL's U19 team participated for the first time in the UEFA Youth League group stage during 2014–15 season, drawn in Group F alongside Barcelona, Paris Saint-Germain and Ajax. APOEL managed to collect only one point after drawing 0–0 with Ajax at home and lost their other five Group F matches. They lost twice to Barcelona (2–3 at home, 0–3 away), lost twice to Paris Saint-Germain (0–3 at home, 0–6 away) and also lost to Ajax 1–4 away, finishing fourth in their group.
The next two seasons, APOEL's U19 team participated again in the UEFA Youth League. The 2015–16 season they competed in the first round of the Domestic Champions Path, being drawn to face Puskás Akadémia from Hungary. After a dramatic 3–3 draw in the first leg in Nicosia, APOEL U19 suffered a heavy 6–1 loss in Felcsút and were eventually eliminated. The 2016–17 season they competed in the first round of the Domestic Champions Path, being eliminated by Italian side A.S. Roma after losing 0–3 at home and 1–6 in Italy.
Colours and badge
APOEL's colours are blue and yellow. Blue symbolizes Greece and yellow symbolizes Byzantium. The logo is a blue and yellow shield with the name of the club written diagonally in blue. After the club won their 20th championship (2008–09 season), two stars were added above the logo to symbolize the 20 championship titles (one star for every ten championships won). Other than that, the badge has remained the same since the establishment of the club.
APOEL is the most popular team in Cyprus. APOEL fans are right-wing in their majority but there are no strong ties between the organised fans and any political party. That wasn't always the case but during the past years they have actively avoided association with any political party.
The main supporter group is PAN.SY.FI (Greek: ΠΑΝ.ΣΥ.ΦΙ). PAN.SY.FI was founded in 1979 and has branches in all major cities in Cyprus and also in other countries. The PAN.SY.FI (and most ultras) wear orange jackets (or T-shirts). The first game they sported the orange jackets was during the first-round game of the 1992–93 championship against AEL Limassol in Makario Stadium. APOEL have reserved the shirt number 79 in honour of PAN.SY.FI. (APOEL Ultras), to denote the year the group was founded, 1979.
The club record for ticket sales in a single season is 141,268 (15 matches, home league games only) during the 2010–11 season. The club record for average league games attendance in a single season is 9,582 (13 matches, home league games only) during the 2012–13 season. The club's season tickets sales record was set on season 2014–15, in which more than 8,000 season tickets were sold.
APOEL holds the record of the highest home attendance for Cyprus First Division in the game against Omonia with 23,043 tickets for 2002–03 season. The match was held at GSP Stadium on 7 December 2002 and ended in a goalless draw.
The club holds also the record of the highest attendance of a Cypriot team for a European Competition game with 22,701 tickets in the match against Olympique Lyonnais for the return leg of the 2011–12 UEFA Champions League last 16. The match which was held on 7 March 2012 at GSP Stadium of Nicosia ended with a 1–0 win for APOEL after extra time and 4–3 win on penalties.
On 8 December 2009, APOEL fans created another impressive record. More than 6,000 fans of the team travelled to London at Stamford Bridge for the last match of the 2009–10 Champions League group D against Chelsea F.C. which ended in a 2–2 draw. This is the biggest number of fans of any Cypriot team that had ever travelled away from Cyprus. A similar record created on 14 February 2012, in APOEL's participation to the 2011–12 UEFA Champions League last 16, when more than 5,000 APOEL fans travelled in France to support their team against Olympique Lyonnais. The match was held at Stade de Gerland and Olympique Lyonnais took a slender advantage into the second leg by winning 1–0. Also, on 4 April 2012, about 4,000 APOEL fans travelled to Santiago Bernabéu in Madrid, to support APOEL against Real Madrid for the return leg of the 2011–12 UEFA Champions League quarter-finals, in a match which Real Madrid won by 5–2.
During 2009–10 season APOEL sold in total 244,977 tickets for its home matches in all competitions (Championship, Cup, Champions League), which is the biggest number of tickets sold by a Cypriot club in a single season.
The Nicosia derby (or the Derby of the eternal enemies) refers to the Nicosia's local derby, football matches played between APOEL and Omonia. It is the classic rivalry of the Cypriot football, as the two teams are the most successful and most popular football clubs of the island. The rivalry is also indicative of social, cultural and political differences and originates from 1948 when the board of APOEL sent a telegram to the Hellenic Association of Amateur Athletics (Greek: Σ.Ε.Γ.Α.Σ.), with the opportunity of the annual Panhellenic Track and Field Competition stating its wish for the "communist mutiny" to be ended. Club's players considering this action as a political comment on the Greek Civil War distanced themselves or were expelled from APOEL and a month later they formed Omonia. The first derby was played on 12 December 1953 and ended in a goalless draw.
Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.
Out on loan
Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.
Board of directors
|Vice-Chairmen||Vassos G. Eliades|
|General Manager||Efthymios Agathokleous|
|Financial Controller||Alexis Demetriou|
|Operations Manager||Marios Christodoulou|
|Marketing Manager||George Lykouris|
|Youth Academies General Manager||George Markides|
|Head of Communications Department||Nectarios Petevinos|
|Team Manager||George Savvides|
|Head coach||Savvas Poursaitidis|
|Assistant coach||Christodoulos Christodoulou|
|Assistant coach/Analyst||Nuno Morais|
|Fitness coach||Alexandros Pericleous|
|Fitness coach||Christos Sotiriou|
|Goalkeeper coach||Michalis Morfis|
|Head of Scouting Department||Juan José Lorenzo|
|Head of medical department||Nikolaos Tzouroudis|
|Head of physiotherapy dept.||Marios Siamaris|
- Official shirt sponsor – Pari-Match
- Official sport clothing provider – Macron
- Official host broadcaster – Cytavision
- Official back of shirt sponsor – 3CX
- Official shorts sponsor – DIMCO LTD
- 1931–1933 Antone Jean
- 1933–1951 József Künsztler
- 1951–1952 Pambos Avraamides
- 1952–1953 Béla Guttmann
- 1953–1954 Pambos Avraamidis
- 1954–1955 Schwartz
- 1955–1956 Hanz
- 1956–1958 Kostas Talianos
- 1958–1959 Takis Tsigkis
- 1959–1961 Vaggelis Choumis
- 1961–1962 Andreas Lazarides
- 1962–1963 Jesse Carver
- 1963–1964 Neil Franklin
- 1964–1965 Kostas Talianos
- 1965–1966 Gyula Zsengellér
- 1966–1967 Lajos Szendrödi
- 1967 Lykourgos Archontidis
- 1967–1969 Pambos Avraamides
- 1969–1970 Jesse Carver
- 1970–1971 Andreas Lazarides
- 1971–1972 Ray Wood
- 1972–1974 Panos Markovic
- 1974–1975 Andreas Lazarides
- 1975 Panos Markovic
- 1975–1976 Andreas Lazarides
- 1976–1977 Savvas Partakis
- 1977–1978 Keith Spurgeon
- 1978–1981 Andreas Lazarides
- 1981–1983 Mike Ferguson
- 1983–1985 Panos Markovic
- 1985–1989 Tommy Cassidy
- 1989–1990 Giannis Matzourakis
- 1990–1991 Stanko Poklepović
- 1991–1993 Jacek Gmoch
- 1993–1994 Takis Antoniou
- 1994–1995 Giannis Matzourakis
- 1995–1996 Hristo Bonev
- 1996 Svetozar Šapurić
- 1996–1997 Jacek Gmoch
- 1997 Nikos Alefantos
- 1997–1998 Kurt Jara
- 1998 Andreas Mouskallis
- 1998 Costas Georgiou
- 1998–1999 Georgios Paraschos
- 1999 Slobodan Vučeković
- 1999–2000 Andreas Michaelides
- 2000 Svetozar Šapurić
- 2000 Markos Markou
- 2000–2001 Mike Walker
- 2001–2002 Eugène Gerards
- 2002–2003 Takis Lemonis
- 2003 Dušan Uhrin
- 2003–2005 Ivan Jovanović
- 2005 Werner Lorant
- 2005 Marios Constantinou
- 2005–2006 Jerzy Engel
- 2006–2008 Marinos Ouzounidis
- 2008–2013 Ivan Jovanović
- 2013 Paulo Sérgio
- 2013–2015 Giorgos Donis
- 2015 Thorsten Fink
- 2015 Domingos Paciência
- 2015–2016 Temur Ketsbaia
- 2016–2017 Thomas Christiansen
- 2017 Mario Been
- 2017–2018 Giorgos Donis
- 2018 Bruno Baltazar
- 2018–2019 Paolo Tramezzani
- 2019 Thomas Doll
- 2019 Loukas Hadjiloukas (interim)
- 2019–2020 Kåre Ingebrigtsen
- 2020 Marinos Ouzounidis
- 2020–2021 Mick McCarthy
- 2021– Savvas Poursaitidis
APOEL has had numerous presidents over the course of their history. Since the establishment of APOEL Football Ltd, the presidents of the board of directors of the company (chairmen) have assumed all presidential duties for the football club. Here are complete lists of both:
- Winners (28) (record): 1935–36, 1936–37, 1937–38, 1938–39, 1939–40, 1946–47, 1947–48, 1948–49, 1951–52, 1964–65, 1972–73, 1979–80, 1985–86, 1989–90, 1991–92, 1995–96, 2001–02, 2003–04, 2006–07, 2008–09, 2010–11, 2012–13, 2013–14, 2014–15, 2015–16, 2016–17, 2017–18, 2018–19
- Winners (21) (record): 1936–37, 1940–41, 1946–47, 1950–51, 1962–63, 1967–68, 1968–69, 1972–73, 1975–76, 1977–78, 1978–79, 1983–84, 1992–93, 1994–95, 1995–96, 1996–97, 1998–99, 2005–06, 2007–08, 2013–14, 2014–15
- Winners (14): 1963, 1984, 1986, 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, 2002, 2004, 2008, 2009, 2011, 2013, 2019
Last update: 16 March 2017
- Record League win: 17–1 vs Aris Limassol (4 June 1967) — 1966–67
- Record League defeat: 6–1 vs Nea Salamina (2 May 1998) — 1997–98
- Record European competition win: 6–0 vs SK Gjøvik-Lyn (8 September 1963) — UEFA Cup Winners' Cup, Preliminary round 1st leg, 1963–64
6–0 vs HB Tórshavn (28 August 1997) — UEFA Cup Winners' Cup, Qualifying round 2nd leg, 1997–98
- Record European competition defeat: 16–1 vs Sporting CP (13 November 1963) — UEFA Cup Winners' Cup, 1st round 1st leg, 1963–64
- Most consecutive League games unbeaten: 34 — From 18 September 1946 to 23 November 1949
- Most consecutive League games won: 16 — From 21 December 2008 to 11 April 2009
- Most League points in a season:
- Most League goals in a season: 91, 2015–16
- Record average League home attendance: 9,582 — 2012–13
- Record League home attendance: 23,043 vs Omonia (7 December 2002) — 2002–03
- Record European competition home attendance: 22,701 vs Olympique Lyonnais (7 March 2012) — UEFA Champions League, Last-16 2nd leg, 2011–12
- Most League appearances for club: 371 — Yiannos Ioannou
- Most League goals for club : 191 — Yiannos Ioannou
- Most European competitions appearances for club: 91 — Nuno Morais
- Most European competitions goals for club : 9 — Aílton José Almeida
League and Cup history
IFFHS Club World Ranking
Last update: 7 January 2015
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