TURIN – Just over a year ago, on May 24, 2021, at the age of 74, he worthily crowned his sporting career by obtaining the position of president of the Serbian Football Association (after having been vice-president since 2018) and is already the favorite number one to re-election until 2026. Nenad Bjekovicborn in 1947, had started very young among the amateurs of Zadrugar of Lazarevoteam of the agricultural cooperative of his hometown near Zrenjanin (about 70 kilometers north of Belgrade), and then continue in Proleter (dragged to A thanks to his goals) until he landed in 1969 at the prestigious Partizan with which he won the title Yugoslavian in ’76 graduating at the same time top scorer in the championship with 24 goals. In the summer of that same year he passed to the French of theOlympique Nice: 5 seasons with a haul of 85 goals in Ligue 1 out of 143 games played equal to the remarkable average of 0.59. And it is no coincidence that in 2013, on the occasion of the celebrations for the inauguration of the new “Allianz Riviera” stadium, he was named player of the century of the Rossoneri “Eaglets”. Returning to Belgrade after his experience in the French Riviera with which he closed his competitive career (including 22 appearances and 4 goals in Yugoslavia), he began that of coach since 1982: two seasons as an assistant Milos Milutnovic at Partizan and then promoted to the first team at the helm of the beloved “crno-beli” (black-white). His technical resume is also flattering: two consecutive Yugoslav titles centered in 1986 and 1987. He cannot materially make the trio because Nice calls him and flatters him by offering him the bench: two championships with the “rouge et noir”, return to Partizan and another career, that of sports director. A role occupied for almost twenty years in which “Bjeko” proves to be able to do great enough to bring the Juventus youth sector to be considered even the best in Europe ahead of Ajax. All according to a study by the Cies Football Observatory (“Center International d’Étude du Sport” based in Neuchâtel, in French-speaking Switzerland) which analyzed the players who spent at least three years in the nurseries in the period 15-21 years. – this is the parameter – and that they are professionals in the 31 major European leagues. Statistics in hand, until two years ago the players who left the Partizan Academy (nicknamed “Zemunelo“, Following the example of Milanello, because it is based in the Belgrade suburb of Zemun where the Sava flows into the Danube) were the beauty of 85 against the 77 of Ajax and the 71 of Dinamo Zagreb. Among them stand out the names of Vlahovic, Jovetic, Matic, Markovic, Mitrovic, Lazovic, Ljajic, Zivkovic, Nastasic, Pantic, Ninkovic, Tosic, Fejsa, Sulejmani, Saponjic, Filip Knezevic, Jojic, Brasanac, Lukac, Petrovic, Skuletic, Stojkovic and so on.
Starting from your great experience also in youth football, what do you think of the list of the first 100 candidates for the Golden Boy?
“That this award established by Tuttosport is worth gold, as its name implies. Even here in Belgrade and in all the Balkan countries the popularity of your trophy is very high. The young Under 21 dream of winning it and that is to leave early for a big foreign club that allows them to raise the Golden Boy“.
What is your favorite for the current edition?
“There are some very strong, ‘top level’ players. But if I have to say just one, then I bet on Camavinga who won the Champions League and the Spanish Liga this year. I also really like outgoing champion Pedri and his even younger teammate in both Barcelona and Spain: Gavi. Then Musiala and Bellingham. Without forgetting the prodigious Ansu Fati if he recovers from his meniscus ordeal“.
And the Serbs?
“Well, there aren’t many … Nemanja Jovic of Partizan, Stevanovic of City who returned from loan to Heerenveen, Samardzic of Udinese who was born in Berlin and is making his way to the Under of Germany. I add that in Partizan there are strikers Marko Milovanovic born in 2003 and Samed Bazdar in 2004. While in the Red Star, coming from Bayern, there is left winger Nemanja Motika, 19, born in Berlin, raised in Germany, who has started playing in the German Under 16 but who since last year has chosen to represent the Serbian Under 19“(….)
There are those who compare Vlahovic to Haaland …
“But Vlahovic is stronger and more complete than Haaland. The Norwegian has a devastating power, but Dusan is no less: there are only a few centimeters of difference between the two (editor’s note: 194 against 191), but the variety of shots and plays of the Juventus striker is superior. And then both Manchester City and Juventus paid more or less the same amount, including commissions, to buy them this year from Borussia Dortmund and Fiorentina … “
All the insights on the edition of Tuttosport
#Vlahovic #stronger #Haaland