For years all Dumbarton’s Dimitris Froxylias dreamed of was playing football, but the 24-year-old had had enough last year.

He spent months in bed feeling depressed, not leaving the house, and refused to go and meet friends and socialise.

One day he woke up and told his Cypriot mother Elena and Greek dad Thanasis he didn’t want to be a footballer anymore. His mum burst into tears.

It seems light years away from the man sitting opposite me, happy and cheerful, smiling and joking away during our hour-long interview.

But that was the scenario the Greek-born Cypriot player faced last year, without a club and ready to give up on his passion.

“It was the worst six months of my life,” he said.

“She started to cry [when I told her], because when I was little I had a dream to play football. It was a really bad situation for me.

“I was at home all days. I didn’t want to go out to go for a drink, [or] to meet friends.

“In football, if you have good games, many many people are coming to you.

“If you are down, you have only your family and your friends. All the people in football start to go away from you. I was starting to feel this.”

Thankfully for Dumbarton fans, that wasn’t where his footballing journey ended.

With the help of his family and friends, the one-time AEK Athens prodigy, who signed his first professional contract with the Greek giants at the age of just 16, targeted a return to his best.

But it was a fresh start the attacking midfielder wanted – not to remain in Greece or Cyprus, where he had played for the last seven years.

And you only need to hear of some of his stories about fans to understand why he wanted to leave.

Not being paid for six months of his contract, having things thrown at him constantly during games and opposition fans looking to beat you – and your family and friends – up.

He said: “If you play for the big teams like Olympiacos, Panathinaikos, AEK, if you walk in the streets many many fans come and speak to you.

“But you have to have to be careful because sometimes it’s dangerous. Olympiacos fans, if you are an AEK player, they will attack you.

“I have two times when I was young and afraid, but I had my mates with me.

“I went to Piraeus, the city of Olympiacos. I went to have an operation on my groin, and I was still in the hospital and I wanted to go out and drink a coffee with my mates and my family.

“Some Olympiacos fans, they came to me and started to shout and swear. My mother and my father and all my company, they fight.

“They are crazy, but many things like this happen in Greece to players.

“The other time was shouting and swearing, like ’f*** off’ and ‘motherf****’, stuff like that. It’s still not good, but the mentality is too bad with the fans, it’s not like here.”

So when the 24-year-old was playing away to Livingston earlier this season, he was pretty surprised when the opposition fans came and asked for his signature and a photograph.

“I was like ‘what the f***?’ He added. “I like it a lot though. In Greece they start to swear and fight against you if they see you, it’s not normal.”

After Froxylias decided not to renew his contract with AEK, he went on trial with then big-spending Premier League side QPR in November 2012, after the London club was taken over by millionaire Malaysian businessman Tony Fernandes, ex-owner of F1 team Caterham and owner of Air Asia.

But his trial was unsuccessful, and he then moved to Cypriot side Apollon Limassol, playing for five other clubs in the country in a four year spell.

Looking back on his career, he is honest about his time in Cyprus, and regrets moving to the country at such a young age.

He said: “For me, it wasn’t a good choice for me to go to Cyprus.

“I should have gone somewhere else when I left AEK Athens. I should have gone to somewhere like Scotland or England.

“I was a talent from AEK Athens and I was 19 years old, a good age, and I went to Cyprus. This was for me a mistake.

“I wasn’t coming from a small team, it was a big team in Greece.

“I played many games and I changed many teams [in Cyprus]. I wasn’t the best boy. I fight with some of the coaches, the managers, because they didn’t give me the opportunity to play.”

As he looked for a way out, he reached out to one of his best friends, Cypriot player Stelios Demetriou, who plays for St Mirren, and several other Greek players such as former Celtic striker Georgios Samaras and ex-Hearts centre-back Christos Karapidis.

He was soon set on getting his playing career restarted in Scotland.

After a trial with Dunfermline didn’t go his way, he turned to the Sons and Stevie Aitken to give him a chance at getting back to playing football.

Three goals in his opening four games gave Sons fans a taste of things to come, and as the strong performances continued, his stock continued to rise and he began to attract interest from other teams.

After initially signing a deal until January with Dumbarton, Livingston tried to tempt him with a move to full-time football.

He said: “The offer and the money was much better to be honest, but the gaffer [Aitken] and this team love me and I want to play for them, and I want to help him.

“I am a person who respects the people who respect me. I didn’t go there, so I didn’t sign.

“I respect the gaffer a lot. He gave me the opportunity to sign with Dumbarton. I play every single game and I respect him a lot because I give everything to the team.

“All the people, the staff and the fans [at Dumbarton], I like it here, I’m really glad, I’m happy.

“I want to continue playing better and I want to make people laugh, and see people smiling when I score goals.

“I believe it is the right choice.”

And not long after he signed his new contract extension with the Sons at the end of October, Froxylias got a call from Cyprus.

Ran Ben Shimon, the Cypriot national coach, had been keeping track of the midfielder’s performances on YouTube.

For the first time he was set to be called up to the senior team. But there was one slight problem – he injured his hamstring just days before at training.

He added: “I was totally impressed and surprised when he called.

“I spoke with Ben Shimon and he told me to go closer to the team to know the team.

“I know the players of the national team but I don’t know him, and I wanted to go to Cyprus to be a part of the team and this was good for me.

“[When I told] my parents they were happy, when I said to them to my father that I was injured he said ‘It’s ok, no worries you will have the opportunity again’ it’s not a one time that it will happen.”

He would have been Dumbarton’s first international player since Harry Chatton in 1932 if he had pulled on the Cypriot jersey.

With upcoming international matches in March, the midfielder is targeting a return to fitness in time to help Dumbarton in their Challenge Cup semi-final against TNS, before trying to get his first full cap for Cyprus.

And in doing so, he hopes it will help boost the profile of the club, although he revealed there is already a growing fan base for the Sons in the country.

He said: “It’s a good opportunity and I’m really glad and hopefully I can go again as it’s extra for your career and a big stage and a very good step.

"This is also good for Dumbarton as well as a club, because now in Cyprus they know Dumbarton.

“Many people in Cyprus and many fans and friends are watching me on YouTube, they are watching Dumbarton.”