You will be hard pressed to find a story as inspirational as George Timotheou’s return to the pitch this season.
The 23-year-old has not played since August 2019, when his world was turned upside down after a medical at Western United showed an on-going heart concern had exacerbated.
With the bicuspid aortic valve not regulating any blood flow, Timotheou was forced into surgery and told to ‘strongly decondition’ – putting any type of exercise off-limits.
”I had to stop all activity, stop all strenuous activity,’’ he told Ed & Athos on FNR.
”I was training with Western United, getting ready to play and then I went cold turkey.
”I wasn’t allowed to run or go on long walks, the most I could do was a brisk walk every day leading into the surgery. It was really difficult in that stage because it was more of the unknown as to whether I would make my heart worse by going for a walk.
”It was a weird period and afterwards it’s not like a hamstring or a knee where there’s a set timeline for recovery. It was difficult being a footballer and having such an active lifestyle to doing nothing which was really tough.’’
Timotheou will play his first competitive game for over a year when he steps onto GMHBA Stadium to face Western United on December 28.
He joins Adelaide United after spells with Bundesliga giant Schalke and Belgian outfit SV Zulte Waregem. Timotheou’s Schalke debut was certainly a memorable one. The centre-back kept World Cup winner Mario Gomez goalless despite playing with a broken toe – courtesy of the German forward.
‘’[Gomez] turned to me and said in German ‘good luck with that’,’’ Timotheou said.
Timotheou is expected to slot straight into the heart of defence at Adelaide United, where he will play alongside some of the country’s brightest young players.
The Reds have adopted a strong local and youth focus for the upcoming season – a mission driven by the club’s Director of Football Bruce Djite and head coach Carl Veart.
‘’Adelaide is known to have such a great atmosphere and culture with developing young players with the goal being to get them overseas,’’ Timotheou said.
‘’This year we have a great mix of youth and experience with a few more to come in hopefully. It’s a really good squad this year and I hope we can do some good things.’’
Feature Image – Adelaide United