Athens Kallithea FC announce the acquisition of Togo national team captain Alaixys Romao on a free transfer following the expiration of his contract with relegated Super League 1 club Ionikos.
The hard-nosed defensive midfielder has made 313 career appearances in Ligue 1 with Grenoble, Lorient, Marseille, and Reims and 82 career appearances in Super League 1 with Olympiacos and Ionikos — highlighted by winning the Greek championship with Olympiacos in 2016/17 — plus 27 career appearances in the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League between Marseille and Olympiacos.
At 39 years old, Romao has displayed remarkable longevity through the later stage of his career. Last season, he was widely considered to be one of the toughest midfielders in Super League 1, ranking among the top 20 players in minutes played (2,233), steals (71), and fouls suffered (47).
Romao was born in the Parisian suburb of L'Haÿ-les-Roses and began his professional career at Toulouse. After cutting his teeth with third division side Louhans-Cuiseaux, Romao would rise to prominence at Grenoble, as he helped the club return to Ligue 1 for the first time since 1963.
Romao spent three seasons at Grenoble followed by two-and-a-half seasons at Lorient, before earning a transfer to French giants Marseille, where he would play three-and-a-half seasons and make 127 total appearances across all competitions, including 10 total appearances in the Champions League and Europa League.
In August 2016, Romao landed in Greece with Olympiacos. He would make 60 total appearances with six goals for the Reds over two seasons, winning the Greek championship, playing in the Champions League group stage, reaching the Europa League Round of 16, and captaining the team on many occasions.
After departing from Olympiacos, Romao would captain newly promoted Stade Reims in Ligue 1 for two seasons, leading the team to an eighth-place finish in 2018/19 followed by a historic sixth-place finish in 2019/20, which earned the club a qualification for its first European competition since 1963.
Romao remained in France for one more season with Guingamp in Ligue 2 before returning to Greece with newly promoted Ionikos in Super League 1, helping the club to an impressive seventh-place finish in their return to the top flight in 2021/22 before they ultimately suffered relegation from the league in 2022/23. Romao would captain the side and make 61 total appearances over the last two seasons in Super League 1.
At international level, Romao has earned 77 caps for Togo’s senior national team, including appearances at the 2006 FIFA World Cup and the 2006, 2013, and 2017 editions of the Africa Cup of Nations. Earlier this month, Romao played 90 minutes in a 2-0 win over Eswatini in qualification for the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations.