Dragan Džajić


Dragan Džajić
Dragan Džajić
Драган Џајић
Dragan Džajić (right) facing Sweden's Jan Olsson at the 1974 FIFA World Cup
Personal information
Date of birth 30 May 1946 (1946-05-30) (age 65)
Place of birth Ub, FPR Yugoslavia
Playing position Winger
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1961–1975 Red Star Belgrade 590 (287)
1975–1977 SC Bastia 56 (31)
1977–1978 Red Star Belgrade 25 (5)
National team
1964–1978 SFR Yugoslavia 85 (23)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
† Appearances (Goals).

Dragan Džajić (Serbian Cyrillic: Драган Џајић) (born 30 May 1946 in Ub, SR Serbia, Yugoslavia) is widely considered to have been one of the best Serbian football players to emerge from former Yugoslavia. Regarded as a preeminent and very proficient left winger, he is strongly reputed to have been one of the finest European players of his generation. Džajić has been known for his "great crosses and passes, unstoppable dribbling with great pace, natural technique and some of the best left footed free kicks ever seen". Through soccer fanatics, Džajić is viewed as perhaps one of the most underrated players in European football, partly because he played in Yugoslavia.

Contents

Career

Brilliant winger

Džajić's professional career (1961–1978) was spent primarily with Red Star Belgrade. Džajić was a brilliant left winger who guided a Red Star Belgrade career spanning 590 games and 287 goals by winning five league titles and four Yugoslavian Cups. In 1969 Džajić received a golden badge Sport, award for the best athlete of Yugoslavia. He is considered one of the most important players in the history of the club and is one of only five players to have been awarded the Zvezdine zvezde.

Early starter

Born on 30 May 1946 in the small town of Ub, 60 kilometres outside Belgrade, he was plucked from the relative obscurity of his local club, FK Jedinstvo, by Red Star Belgrade coach Miljan Miljanić. Though aged only 17, he was soon handed his senior debut in a first division match against FK Buducnost Podgorica, a goalless draw. Miljanić's faith was certainly rewarded over the following years.

Sweet left foot

Džajić might have started out as a left-back, but it was further up the flank that he made his impact. Red Star Belgrade's resident No11 was an expert dribbler whose sweet left foot provided countless goals for team-mate Vojin Lazarević; his right wasn't bad either. Džajić was rewarded for his brilliance with championship medals in 1964, 1968, 1969, 1970 and 1973, while he lifted the cup in 1964, 1968, 1970 and 1971.

Semi-final defeat

European Champion Clubs' Cup success very nearly came his way too. In the 1970/71 season, Red Star Belgrade reached the semi-finals of the top continental club competition, and beat Panathinaikos FC 4–1 in the first leg in Belgrade. Džajić was suspended for the return in Athens, however, which the Greek team won 3–0 to go through on away goals.

French sojourn

From 1975 to 1977 he played for SC Bastia in France (finding the net another 31 times).

International class

Džajić was just 18 when he was first named to the Yugoslav national team. He made his debut on 17 June 1964 against Romania and would go on to earn 85 caps (the most in the history of the Yugoslav national team) and score 23 goals. Few who saw the left-winger play could ever forget Džajić's brilliant play. He achieved international renown for his passing and dribbling as well as his goal-scoring. His most famous international match was likely the 1968 European Championship semifinal against England, in which his 87th-minute lob over goalkeeper Gordon Banks gave Yugoslavia a 1–0 victory against the defending world champion. The British press dubbed him "the magic Dragan," and Pelé was moved to say: "Džajić is the Balkan miracle – a real wizard. I'm just sorry he's not Brazilian because I've never seen such a natural footballer." [1] He went on to score in the final against Italy but he could not prevent Yugoslavia going down 2–0 after a replay.

He was much loved because of his kindly nature and easy-going manner, while on the pitch, he won admiration for being an exceptional left-winger who could both score goals and deliver defence splitting passes with fantastic precision. The left wing was his domain – and it was quite usual for him to take off, leaving all defenders in his wake to deliver an inch-perfect pass into the penalty area. If highly appreciated by players and coaches alike for his passing ability, Dzajic was no less embraced for his goal-scoring. The man could score from just about any angle and many of his successful attempts came direct from corner kicks. Gifted with vision and that rare gift, a killer left foot, he was already scoring "Platini-like" free kicks when the French legend was still in shorts.

Administrative

Džajić retired as a player in 1978, at age 32. In 1979 he returned to his club, serving as Red Star's technical director and then, from 1998, as the club's president – a position he resigned from in 2004 due to "health issues."

In November 2003, to celebrate UEFA's Jubilee, he was selected as the Golden Player of Serbia and Montenegro by the Football Association of Serbia and Montenegro as their most outstanding player of the past 50 years. [2]

Corruption allegations

Džajić arrested.

On January 31, 2011, the trial started in which Džajić is charged of fraud perpetrated during the sale of players from Red Star Belgrade during Džajić's time as the president of the club, specifically Nemanja Vidić. Džajić pled not guilty.[3]

References

The Charge against Nemanja Vidic were dropped

External links

Awards
Preceded by
Đurđa Bjedov
Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia The Best Athlete of Yugoslavia
1969
Succeeded by
Desanka Pešut

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