Predrag Mijatović

Predrag "Peđa" Mijatović (Serbian Cyrillic: Предраг Мијатовић, pronounced [prêdraːɡ pêdʑa mijȃːtoʋitɕ, – mîːjaː-]; born 19 January 1969) is a retired Montenegrin professional footballer who played as a striker. At club level, Mijatović played for six clubs: Budućnost, Partizan, Valencia, Real Madrid, Fiorentina and Levante. Internationally, he played for Yugoslavia at the 1998 FIFA World Cup and at the UEFA Euro 2000.

Predrag Mijatović
Mijatović in 2007
Personal information
Full name Predrag Mijatović
Date of birth (1969-01-19) 19 January 1969
Place of birth Titograd, SR Montenegro,
Yugoslavia
Height 1.78 m (5 ft 10 in)
Position(s) Forward
Youth career
OFK Titograd
Budućnost
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1987–1989 Budućnost 73 (10)
1990–1993 Partizan 104 (44)
1993–1996 Valencia 104 (56)
1996–1999 Real Madrid 90 (29)
1999–2002 Fiorentina 42 (4)
2002–2003 Levante 21 (3)
Total 434 (146)
National team
1989–2003 Yugoslavia[nb 1] 73 (27)
Honours
Representing  Yugoslavia
FIFA U-20 World Cup1987
UEFA U-21 Euro1990
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

Mijatović scored 28 goals in the 1995–96 La Liga season for Valencia, which prompted a move to Real Madrid, where he scored a goal in the 1998 UEFA Champions League Final which ensured Madrid's first European Cup in 32 years. In 1997, Mijatović was named runner-up for the Ballon d'Or, behind Ronaldo and ahead of Zinedine Zidane.[1] After his playing career, he served as director of football for Real Madrid from 2006 to 2009.

Club career

Budućnost

From the 1987–88 season, Mijatović became a regular at Budućnost under new head coach Stanko Poklepović. In October 1987, he was a member of the Yugoslav youth squad which competed in and won the 1987 FIFA World Youth Championship in Chile. Upon his return to Budućnost, Mijatović's spot on the squad was now cemented alongside Dejan Savićević, Dragoljub Brnović and Branko Brnović, who also represented Yugoslavia in Chile. Mijatović made 31 league appearances and contributed four goals as Budućnost finished the season in ninth position.[2]

During the winter of 1989–90, Mijatović nearly signed with Hajduk Split after negotiating with Hajduk's sporting director Jurica Jerković, with even a DM50,000 pre-contract payment given to the player.[3] However, Partizan club president Mirko Marjanović stepped in and convinced Mijatović to join the Belgrade-based club instead. In December 1989, Partizan ultimately paid a DM1 million transfer fee to Budućnost for Mijatović. This was at time the highest transfer within the Yugoslav league.[4]

In later interviews, Mijatović said a deteriorating political and security situation in Yugoslavia was a factor in his decision not to join the Croatian club Hajduk.[3]

Partizan

Though he scored on his Partizan debut against his former club Budućnost, Mijatović's debut half season in the new club under head coach Ivan Golac was mostly spent settling into the new surroundings. He failed to score in his following 14 league appearances until the end of the 1989–90 league season.[2]

However, Mijatović continued improving, becoming the squad's undisputed leader during 1991–92 season under head coach Ivica Osim, and leading Partizan to the 1992 Yugoslav Cup title over reigning European Cup champions Red Star Belgrade. He was also named Yugoslav Footballer of the Year award en route.[5]

At Partizan, Mijatović had been linked with various top European sides, which included Juventus. He joined Valencia in the summer of 1993.[5]

Valencia

Mijatović made his Valencia debut on 5 September 1993 against Real Oviedo. He won the Spanish Footballer of the Year award in the 1995–96 season, having scored 28 goals in 40 La Liga matches.[5] As the second best goal-scorer in the league, he was the runner-up for the Pichichi Trophy, second only to Juan Antonio Pizzi. Mijatović's contributions helped Valencia finish in second place behind Atlético Madrid that season.

Real Madrid

On 13 February 1996, Mijatović signed an advanced contract with Real Madrid mandating that he join the club from Valencia in the summer of 1996 for a transfer fee of Pta1.5 million.[6] Former Yugoslavia teammate Davor Šuker, Clarence Seedorf, and Roberto Carlos also joined Real Madrid in the summer 1996 transfer window. Coach Fabio Capello often deployed Mijatović in a strike tandem with Šuker, reviving their partnership from their time in Yugoslavia's youth team at the 1987 FIFA World Youth Championship.[7] Over the course of the 1996–97 La Liga season, Mijatović scored a total of 14 goals; he scored one goal in Real Madrid's 2–0 victory over Barcelona the El Clásico on 7 December 1996, escaping from Miguel Ángel Nadal and Laurent Blanc before lifting the ball over Vítor Baía to score.[7] By the end of the season, Real Madrid were first in La Liga and also claimed the 1997 Supercopa de España over Barcelona.[8]

On 20 May 1998, Mijatović scored the winning goal in Real Madrid's 1–0 victory over Juventus in the 1998 UEFA Champions League Final.[5] This was Real Madrid's first UEFA Champions League after 32 years. The following season was Mijatović's final season with Los Blancos; at the end of the season, the 30-year-old Mijatović was sold to Italian Serie A club Fiorentina.

Fiorentina

On 28 June 1999, Mijatović signed a three-year contract with Fiorentina[9] for 17 billion Italian lire. His earliest performances at Fiorentina were promising; in spite of Fiorentina's attacking depth with the likes of Gabriel Batistuta, coach Giovanni Trapattoni initially chose Mijatović as a starter. On 26 July 1999, Mijatović scored the opening goal in Fiorentina's 4–0 victory over Aston Villa in the Gotham Cup finals in New York City, a pre-season exhibition tournament.[10] He played at Fiorentina for two seasons, scoring four goals within the Serie A, and added a Coppa Italia title to his honours.[11] Additionally, he featured in Fiorentina's 1999–2000 UEFA Champions League campaign, which resulted in a third-place finish in Group B of the second group stage.

Levante

Mijatović joined Levante UD in the summer of 2002. He played there for one season, after which Levante finished in fourth place in the Segunda División 2002–03 season. He subsequently retired from professional football after struggling with lingering injuries.[12]

International career

Mijatović was included in the squad for the 1987 FIFA World Youth Championship, winning the tournament.[13] He was also called by the main team to UEFA Euro 1992,[14] but the nation would be suspended due to the Yugoslav Wars. He made his senior debut for Yugoslavia in an August 1989 friendly match against Finland.

1998 FIFA World Cup

He played for FR Yugoslavia in the 1998 FIFA World Cup in France, missing a penalty in the match versus the Netherlands.[15]

UEFA Euro 2000

Mijatović played for FR Yugoslavia at UEFA Euro 2000.[16]

He has earned a total of 73 caps, scoring 27 goals. His final international was a June 2003 European Championship qualification match against Azerbaijan.[17]

International goals

Post-playing career

After retiring in 2004, Mijatović continued living in the city of Valencia and soon became a player agent.

In 2006, Mijatović became Real Madrid's director of football, serving in the position for three seasons.[18]

Through his friendship with Anzhi Makhachkala general manager German Chistyakov, Mijatović was reportedly part of the three-man delegation (the other two were Anzhi's transfer man German Tkachenko and Serbian player agent Vlado Lemić) the Russian club deployed to Milan on 9 August 2011 for initial negotiations with Internazionale (represented by sporting director Marco Branca and vice-president Rinaldo Ghelfi) over the transfer of striker Samuel Eto'o.[19]

Personal

Born in Titograd, SR Montenegro, SFR Yugoslavia, Mijatović grew up in the Masline neighbourhood on the town outskirts and is of the Cuce clan ancestry.[20]

Mijatović's personal life has been well-publicized during the 1990s in FR Yugoslavia due to his turbulent relationship and marriage with the Belgrade socialite Elena Karaman. The two were married for a year and a half during the early 1990s, and had two sons before divorcing. During the divorce proceedings, he often wore a Los Angeles Dodgers baseball cap with the initials "L.A.", dedicated to their sons Luka and Andreja. On 3 June 2009, the official website of Real Madrid stated Andreja, aged 15, died after a long illness, and offered its "deepest sympathies on behalf of the entire club and its members".[21]

Career statistics

Club

[22][23][24]

Club Season League Cup Continental Other Total
DivisionAppsGoalsAppsGoalsAppsGoalsAppsGoalsAppsGoals
Budućnost Titograd1986–87Yugoslav First League1010
1987–88314314
1988–89282282
1989–90134134
Total 73107310
Partizan1989–90Yugoslav First League1512020191
1990–91331431614216
1991–92251262203314
1992–933117823919
Total 1044419510113350
Valencia1993–94La Liga351621424119
1994–952912933815
1995–964028964934
Total 1045620104212868
Real Madrid1996–97La Liga3814514315
1997–98241000812[lower-alpha 1]13412
1998–9928542722[lower-alpha 2]0419
Total 9029931534111836
Fiorentina1999–2000Serie A1620091253
2000–011314222195
2001–021310040171
Total 42442153619
Levante2002–03Segunda División21300213
Career total 434146522044941534176
  1. Appearances in Supercopa de España
  2. One appearance in Intercontinental Cup, one appearance in UEFA Super Cup

International

[25]

National teamYearAppsGoals
Yugoslavia 198930
199000
199150
199210
FR Yugoslavia 1993[nb 2]
199420
199510
199663
1997811
1998113
199972
2000124
200162
200261
Serbia and Montenegro 200351
Total7327

Honours

Mijatović on a 2006 stamp of Montenegro

Partizan[26]

  • Yugoslav First League: 1992–93
  • Yugoslav Cup: 1991–92

Real Madrid[8]

Fiorentina[27]

  • Coppa Italia: 2000–01

Yugoslavia

  • 1987 FIFA World Youth Championship
  • 1990 UEFA European Under-21 Football Championship (Runners-up)

Individual

Awards

  • FR Yugoslavia Player of the Year: 1992, 1993, 1998
  • La Liga Best Foreign Player: 1995–96
  • Ballon d'Or: Runner-up 1997

Notes

  1. Mijatović played a single match for Serbia and Montenegro, the successor state of FR Yugoslavia which ceased to exist by constitutional amendment on 4 February 2003. The rest of his caps, including those in all international competitions were exclusively for Yugoslavia (both SFR and subsequently FR Yugoslavia).
  2. The country was banned from international football by the UN sanctions.

References

  1. Pierrend, José Luis (26 March 2005). "European Footballer of the Year ("Ballon d'Or") 1997". RSSSF. Retrieved 5 November 2013.
  2. "Predrag Mijatović: profile". Fudbalski savez Srbije. Retrieved 3 August 2015.
  3. Vulas, Frane (18 December 2009). "Predrag Mijatović: Sudbina nije htjela da zaigram za Hajduk". Slobodna Dalmacija. Retrieved 3 August 2015.
  4. Stankovic, Vladimir (4 July 1993). ""Con Penev formaré un gran "tándem" en ataque"" (PDF). Mundo Deportivo (in Spanish). p. 22. Retrieved 18 January 2021.
  5. King, Jeff (31 May 1999). "Dearest Predrag". FIFA.com. Archived from the original on 25 September 2009. Retrieved 3 August 2015.
  6. "Na današnji dan Mijatović je postao izdajnik, morao je da ima obezbeđenje u sopstvenoj kući". Meridian Sport. 13 February 2021. Retrieved 24 February 2021.
  7. Simon Harrison (1 January 2021). "The story of Capello, Suker, Mijatovic & the Real Madrid team of 96–97". Planet Football. Retrieved 24 February 2021.
  8. "Predrag Mijatovic". Real Madrid. Retrieved 19 November 2014.
  9. Chiesa, Carlo F. (22 August 1999). "La nuova Serie A" [The new serie A]. Calcio 2000 (in Italian). Action Group S.r.l. p. 37.
  10. "Fiorentina Wins Gotham Cup". Associated Press. 26 July 1999. Retrieved 24 February 2021.
  11. "Coppa alla Fiorentina col pareggio più bello" [Fiorentina wins the cup with the most useful deuce]. La Repubblica (in Italian). 13 June 2001. Retrieved 29 July 2017.
  12. Meese, Philip (19 January 2017). "Forgotten Idols: Predrag Mijatović". Retrieved 24 February 2021.
  13. "FIFA World Youth Championship 1987 - News - Chile 1987: Yugoslavian fireworks - FIFA.com". www.fifa.com.
  14. "Pancev también renuncia a la Eurocopa". Mundo Deportivo (in Spanish). 25 May 1992. Retrieved 5 June 2019.
  15. Cohen, Roger. "WORLD CUP '98; Netherlands' Davids Comes in From Cold". The New York Times. Retrieved 17 May 2018.
  16. "Norway 0–1 Yugoslavia". UEFA Euro 2000. UEFA. Retrieved 2 August 2015.
  17. "Player Database". eu-football.info. Retrieved 22 September 2020.
  18. Steve Wilson (20 May 2009). "Real Madrid sporting director Predrag Mijatovic leaves by 'mutual agreement'". The Telegraph. Retrieved 5 July 2017.
  19. Predrag Mijatovic represented Anzhi at negotiations with Inter;sports.ru, 10 August 2011
  20. Đukanović. "POREKLO SRPSKIH PORODICA I PREZIMENA (30)". Archived from the original on 24 December 2010. Retrieved 16 April 2010.
  21. Real Madrid laments the death of Mijatovic's son. realmadrid.com. 3 June 2009
  22. Predrag Mijatović at WorldFootball.net
  23. Predrag Mijatović at FootballDatabase.eu
  24. Predrag Mijatović at BDFutbol
  25. "None". eu-football.info.
  26. "Biografía de Predrag Mijatovic". Retrieved 7 January 2015.
  27. "2001: Coppa Italia ai Viola". Archived from the original on 10 January 2016. Retrieved 7 January 2015.
Awards
Preceded by
Aleksandra Ivošev
The Best Athlete of FR Yugoslavia
1997
Succeeded by
Dejan Bodiroga
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