PAOK Signs Dutchman Maduro

The Thessaloniki-based soccer team PAOK has picked up Dutch international midfielder Hedwiges Maduro, signing the defensive player to a two-and-a-half year deal, getting him from the Spanish side Spaniards Sevilla.

The 28-year-old, whose contract was not disclosed, has played 22 times for the Netherlands, which finished runner-up in the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.

Having started his career at Ajax, where he won two Dutch Cups, he moved on to Valencia in 2008, winning the Spanish Cup that same year, and then transferred to Sevilla four years later.

He made his international debut in a World Cup qualifier against Romania in 2005 and he was part of the Dutch World Cup squad the next year, although he saw only four minutes of action at the finals in Germany.

Shortly after making his league debuts with Ajax, Maduro gained his first cap for the Netherlands in a 2006 FIFA World Cup qualifier against Romania. He was picked for the final squad-of-23 by national team manager Marco van Basten – also his coach in Ajax’s youth system – appearing four minutes in the 0–0 group stage draw against Argentina in an eventual round-of-16 exit.

In 2007, despite already having amassed 12 senior caps, Maduro took part in the UEFA European Under-21 Championship which was held in the Netherlands, and scored the competition’s first goal when the Jong Oranje beat Israel 1–0. He also played in the second match, a 2–1 win against Portugal which secured a semifinal spot and qualification to the Olympic tournament.

In the semifinals against England (1–1 after 120 minutes) Maduro successfully converted his penalty shootout attempt, as Holland won it 13–12 after 32 shots. The Dutch went on to retain their 2006 title by beating Serbia 4–1 in the final, and he was named in the UEFA Team of the Tournament.