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Cyprus football value doubles in 10 years

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The value of Cyprus football has almost doubled in the past decade, as the worth of topflight teams went from €84.8 mln in 2011 to €159.88 in 2023, boosted by foreign investments in smaller clubs.

According to Transfermarkt, a football information and statistics site, the overall value of Cypriot teams increased by 88%, with the most expensive squad being Paphos FC, increasing by a whopping 1085%.

Pafos FC was formed just nine years ago, in 2014, from the union of AEP Pafos and AEK Kouklion, with the team participating in the second division.

Pafos FC finished second in the second division, earning a ticket to the topflight in 2015.

The squad in 2015 was worth €2.15 mln. In April 2023, Pafos FC boasted the most expensive team in the top division, worth €23.7 mln.

Pafos FC was taken over by Total Sports Investments, managed by Hungarian-born British businessman Roman Dubov in 2016, taking the team one step further every year.

It has the most expensive player, Croatian goalkeeper Ivica Ivusic, who carries a €5 mln price tag, according to Transfermarkt.

The team from the west boasts five players in the top ten most expensive footballers playing in Cyprus.

In the summer, Pafos bought Senegalese midfielder Mustafa Name for a reported €1.5 mln. He is now worth €2 mln.

Finish attacking midfielder Onni Valakari is worth €1.5 mln, and Brazilian attacker Jairo and Swedish left winger Muamer Tankovic are worth €1.2 mln each.

Brazilian left winger Bruno Felipe is worth €1 mln.

Pafos FC is followed by Omonia Nicosia FC, with a squad valued at €17.65 mln.

According to a recent survey, Omonia is the island’s most popular football club, with nearly one in three fans (30.7%) supporting them.

Their flagging fortunes turned around in 2018 when New York-based Cypriot investor Stavros Papastavrou bought the club.

Papastavrou saved the club from imminent bankruptcy, taking on a debt of close to €9 mln while injecting several million more to take the team to first place in 2020 when the championship was cancelled due to the COVID pandemic.

The Greens took home the championship trophy the following year and the Cup in 2022.

Omonia has one of the league’s most expensive players, midfielder Moreto Casama from Bisau, who is worth €2 mln.

Omonia bought Casama in the summer for a reported €1.5 mln from French topflight team Stade Reims.

Ukrainian international Artom Besedin, worth €1.8 mln, is also in the squad on loan from Dynamo Kiyv.

Cypriot wonder boy Loizos Loizou is third with a price tag of €1.5 mln, followed by Iranian international Karim Asarinfard (€1 mln).

Omonia is followed by the league’s most decorated team, arch-rivals APOEL FC, with a squad worth €15.75.

APOEL, equally well supported, have traditionally had one of the most expensive squads, as the team ruled Cypriot football.

APOEL’s most expensive player is Georgian international striker Giorgi Kvilitaia, worth €1.8 mln, followed by Brazilian left winger Marquinhos with a price tag of €1.2 mln.

Apollon Limassol, another football heavyweight, follows with a €15.53 mln squad.

Nigerian Godswill Ekpolo is their expensive player, worth an estimated €1.2 mln.

Eternal underdogs

Making a splash this season with its performance, once ‘eternal’ underdogs Aris Limassol have the fifth most valued squads worth €14.6 mln.

The Limassol team boast players such as Polish striker Mariusz Stepinski, worth €2 mln, and Swedish left winger Leo Bangttson (€1 mln).

Russian international Aleksandr Kokorin is also in the squad — now 32; he is worth an estimated €800,000.

At the height of his career, his value reached €18 mln in 2014 when playing for Dynamo Moscow.

Aris Limassol is currently top of the league, one point ahead of APOEL FC, with six games left.

Aris, established in 1930, is a founding member of the Cyprus Football Association, but it has never won a major league trophy, frequently being relegated to the second division.

In the Summer of 2021, a new era began, with Russian investor Vladimir Federov, taking over the club, intending to transform Aris into one of the elite.

The following season, Aris finished fourth in the league, meaning the club qualified for the 2022-23 UEFA Europa Conference League, the first time it had ever qualified for Europe.

They made their European debut in the second qualifying round against Neftçi Baku, and despite a 2-0 win at home, Aris lost 3-0 in the second tie and was eliminated.