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Features, Montenegro, Serbia

Stefan Savic: the Maestro from Mojkovac

Stefan Savic made his name last season in the UEFA Champions League with solid performances against Shakhtar Donetsk and Arsenal. The young defender only played two seasons in the Serbian SuperLiga and caught the eye of Arsenal while still at BSK. Savic then spent 10 days in London trialling with Arsenal before being snapped up by Partizan where he quickly established a reputation that would lead to his 2011 transfer to Manchester City.

The defender, born in the small Montenegrin town of Mojkovac, received his first real chance thanks to the suspensions of Ivan Stevanovic and Marko Jovanovic. He displayed defensive capabilities and a sound reading of the game, leading to a regular place in the Partizan starting eleven. Along with his fine performances in the SuperLiga and Champions League, a call up to The Montenegrin National Team arrived and he picked up his first senior cap against Northern Ireland.

While at Partizan he played alongside mentor the experienced Mladen Krstajic who Nemanja Vidic also credits in helping him as a defender, there was no better player for a teenager to learn from. In the National Team Savic gelled perfectly with experienced defenders Marko Basa, Savo Pavicevic and Milan Jovanvoic. They formed a formidable back line which to date has only conceded one goal in Euro 2012 Qualifying. The match in London against England was another big stage for Savic to showcase the world his skills and defending capabilities. The back four managed to keep England goalless in a 0:0 draw. This brought the attention of many European clubs.

In one season Savic played in the UEFA Champions League, was an integral part in Montenegro’s defence which only let in one goal in qualifying and won the Serbian League and Cup. Having a key role in each of these triumphs was another tick on his personal resume and scouts all over Europe were taking note. The Italian League first comes to mind as Savic possesses similar traits to that of AC Milan legend Paolo Maldini. Savic is a great tackler, is excellent in the air, has fantastic technique for a defender, reads the game well, is not scared to go into a challenge and possesses the sort of maturity and awareness associated with players many years his senior. There have also been comparisons to another Milan defender in Alessandro Nesta. Not bad for a 20 year old. The only downside is his overconfidence which can at times make him shaky at the back.

The move to Manchester City is a huge step for Savic but he will be ready for the challenge. The English League will be perfect for Savic as his skill deserves to rub shoulders amongst the best in the world. Savic is the next big defender to play for a big English club from the Serbian League and with the likes of Kolarov, Vidic and Ivanovic all well known defenders, Savic will soon be amongst the best defenders in the league. You can take that to the bank and reap the rewards.

This quote about his deceased father says a lot about his personality:

“Football is a way for me to get away from all the things in my life as well as for my mum and my sister. My father was everything to me he was someone I looked up to. It’s little to say that I loved him, every minute with him was valuable fulfilled with care and happiness which only he could produce.”

This article features on the Slavic Football Union site http://sfunion.net/?p=904

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