Free agent Giorgos Katidis hopes his move to Serie B side Novara will represent a new beginning in his career.
In spite of the controversy his salute caused, Novara have offered him a route back into the professional game and the midfielder is willing to seize his chance.
“I committed a mistake which will haunt me for the rest of my life,” said the new Novara No. 10, who has tattooed the date of his contravention, March 16, 2013, on his lower leg, with the words ‘my mistake’ beside it.
“I’ve cleared it up and apologised and I can’t do any more than that. I realise the severity of the gesture and that people are talking about it. I respect everybody’s opinion, but I just want to bounce back now giving everything on the field.”
Katidis, part of the Greece side which were beaten in the final of the Under-19 European Championship by Spain last year, says there was no political motivation behind the salute, claiming it was just a joke which went wrong.
“I’ll never get tired of repeating it - I just wanted to imitate a video I’d seen on You Tube,” he said. “It had nothing to do with football or politics, which is something I don’t know about and am not interested in.
“The important thing is that Novara believe in me and that they’ve offered me a second chance, and I will always be grateful for this.”
The Piedmontese side see Katadis as key to their hopes of returning to Serie A two years after being relegated from the top flight, while the player himself hopes it will be a mutually beneficial season as he eyes a return to his national team.
“I am Greek and I am proud of it,” he said. “Playing for your national team is the ultimate for any footballer. Returning to represent my country like I have done in all of the youth levels is a dream that I hope to realise.”
While it may take more than just some stirring performances for Greece to forgive his salute, Novara’s fans seem willing to forgive him.
Katidis said: “Their affection has really touched me.”