GEORGIOS SAMARAS is happy to have "made a connection" at Celtic as speculation mounts over a summer move to Olympiakos.
The forward is out of contract at the end of the season and seems likely to move on from Parkhead after six years at the club, with the Greek champions said to have offered the 29-year-old a two-year deal to return home.
Samaras, expected to figure for Greece in this summer's World Cup finals, has yet to reveal his plans, although Olympiakos seem his most likely destination should he choose to leave Scotland. Having first arrived on an initial six-month loan spell from Manchester City in January 2008, Samaras did not expect to make such a lasting impression at Celtic. But having made his 250th appearance for Neil Lennon's side, he said he is proud to have made a "connection" with the club rather than simply being a "passenger".
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"When I started playing football I always wanted to stay at a club for many years," the former Heerenveen forward told Celtic View. "I didn't want to change clubs like other players do, moving every two or three years. I wanted to love a club and for it to love me back, so they could remember me for something.
"This club for me is Celtic. I have seen players coming here for six months, one year or two years and maybe they have played 60-70 games and they won't be remembered.
"I couldn't imagine when I first came here on loan for six months that I would stay for another six years. It's a great achievement to play 250 games but it is just a number. I have tried my best and tried to help my team-mates be successful.
"The most important thing is that I have a connection at the club and that's really important. I am not a passenger. I started my career in Holland and stayed for five years and had a bond with that club and I wanted my next step to be similar. That didn't happen at Man City but from the moment I came here on loan, I was 100% sure that this was the club I wanted to be at. If you see souvenirs I have from football - awards, hat-trick balls, medals and trophies - they are all from Celtic. When I retire I will have my hall of fame and everything there will be Celtic."
Lennon revealed recently he was resigned to losing the forward, and expected many notable European clubs to show an interest. "Georgios hasn't come out and said this yet but I'd imagine he would be moving on in the summer," said the Celtic manager. "We only have three or four weeks of the season left and there has been no indication he will stay, so I'm assuming he will go."