ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Panathinaikos kicked captain Costas Katsouranis off the team in a surprise move Wednesday after winning only one of its five league matches this season.
The Athens club announced its decision after a morning training session ahead of a Europa League match against Tottenham on Thursday.
The 33-year-old Katsouranis, deputy captain for Greece's national team, was a member of the winning squad at the 2004 European Championship.
"Mr. Katsouranis is history at Panathinaikos," club chairman Yiannis Alafouzos was quoted as telling players by the website Skai.gr, which is part of a media group that he runs.
"I have complaints with two or three other players, but it's not the time to talk about that," he said. "I don't want you to feel anxious about the results ... You are good players. Play your football and we will be a big club again."
Katsouranis had already been serving a six-match league suspension for insulting the referee at an Aug. 31 match. The former Benfica player issued no immediate reaction to his dismissal.
Panathinaikos is currently in 12th place in Greece's 16-team league with four points from five matches — with two points deducted due to fan violence last season. Main rival Olympiakos leads the league with 15 points from five straight wins.
Panathinaikos coach Jesualdo Ferreira is under pressure after going four games without a win, and had fallen out with Katsouranis, according to reports from state and other local media.