Dragan Džajic

Dragan Džajic

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Dragan Džajić (born 30 May 1946 in Ub
Ub (Serbia)
Ub is a town and municipality located in the Kolubara District of Serbia. In 2011, the population of the town is 6,164, while population of the municipality is 29,022.-History:...

, SR Serbia, Yugoslavia
Yugoslavia
Yugoslavia refers to three political entities that existed successively on the western part of the Balkans during most of the 20th century....

) is widely considered to have been one of the best Serbian
Serbs
The Serbs are a South Slavic ethnic group of the Balkans and southern Central Europe. Serbs are located mainly in Serbia, Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina, and form a sizable minority in Croatia, the Republic of Macedonia and Slovenia. Likewise, Serbs are an officially recognized minority in...

 football players to emerge from former Yugoslavia
Yugoslavia
Yugoslavia refers to three political entities that existed successively on the western part of the Balkans during most of the 20th century....

. 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.

Brilliant winger


Džajić's professional career (1961–1978) was spent primarily with Red Star Belgrade
Red Star Belgrade
Red Star Belgrade is a football club from Belgrade, Serbia. The club is a part of the Red Star Sports Society.Red Star Belgrade is the most successful Serbian club, with a record of 25 national championships and 23 national cups in both Serbian and ex-Yugoslav competitions...

. Džajić was a brilliant left winger who guided a Red Star Belgrade
Red Star Belgrade
Red Star Belgrade is a football club from Belgrade, Serbia. The club is a part of the Red Star Sports Society.Red Star Belgrade is the most successful Serbian club, with a record of 25 national championships and 23 national cups in both Serbian and ex-Yugoslav competitions...

 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
Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia
The Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia was the Yugoslav state that existed from the abolition of the Yugoslav monarchy until it was dissolved in 1992 amid the Yugoslav Wars. It was a socialist state and a federation made up of six socialist republics: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia,...

. 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
Red Star Belgrade
Red Star Belgrade is a football club from Belgrade, Serbia. The club is a part of the Red Star Sports Society.Red Star Belgrade is the most successful Serbian club, with a record of 25 national championships and 23 national cups in both Serbian and ex-Yugoslav competitions...

 coach Miljan Miljanić
Miljan Miljanic
Miljan Miljanić is a retired Yugoslav football player, coach and administrator....

. 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
Red Star Belgrade
Red Star Belgrade is a football club from Belgrade, Serbia. The club is a part of the Red Star Sports Society.Red Star Belgrade is the most successful Serbian club, with a record of 25 national championships and 23 national cups in both Serbian and ex-Yugoslav competitions...

's resident No11 was an expert dribbler whose sweet left foot provided countless goals for team-mate Vojin Lazarević
Vojin Lazarevic
Vojin Lazarević is a Montenegrin striker who played for SFR Yugoslavia.-External links:*...

; 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
Red Star Belgrade
Red Star Belgrade is a football club from Belgrade, Serbia. The club is a part of the Red Star Sports Society.Red Star Belgrade is the most successful Serbian club, with a record of 25 national championships and 23 national cups in both Serbian and ex-Yugoslav competitions...

 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
SC Bastia
Sporting Club de Bastia is a French association football club based in Bastia on the island of Corsica. The club currently plays in the Championnat National, the third division of French football. Bastia previously had stints in both Ligue 1 and Ligue 2...

 in France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 (finding the net another 31 times).

International class


Džajić was just 18 when he was first named to the Yugoslav national team
Yugoslavia national football team
The Yugoslavia national football team represented the Kingdom of Yugoslavia and the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in association football. It enjoyed a modicum of success in international competition. In 1992, during the Yugoslav wars, the team was suspended from international...

. He made his debut on 17 June 1964 against Romania
Romania national football team
The Romania national football team is the national football team of Romania and is controlled by the Romanian Football Federation.Romania is one of only four national teams, the other three being Brazil, France, and Belgium, that took part in the first three World Cups.However, after that...

 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
Gordon Banks
Gordon Banks, OBE is a retired English football goalkeeper. The IFFHS named Banks the second best goalkeeper of the 20th century – after Lev Yashin and ahead of Dino Zoff ....

 gave Yugoslavia a 1–0 victory against the defending world champion. The British press dubbed him "the magic Dragan," and Pelé
Pelé
However, Pelé has always maintained that those are mistakes, that he was actually named Edson and that he was born on 23 October 1940.), best known by his nickname Pelé , is a retired Brazilian footballer. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest football players of all time...

 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." 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
Red Star Belgrade
Red Star Belgrade is a football club from Belgrade, Serbia. The club is a part of the Red Star Sports Society.Red Star Belgrade is the most successful Serbian club, with a record of 25 national championships and 23 national cups in both Serbian and ex-Yugoslav competitions...

'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
UEFA
The Union of European Football Associations , almost always referred to by its acronym UEFA is the administrative and controlling body for European association football, futsal and beach soccer....

's Jubilee, he was selected as the Golden Player
UEFA Jubilee Awards
To celebrate the Union of European Football Associations 's 50th anniversary in 2004, each of its member associations was asked by UEFA to choose one of its own players as the single most outstanding player of the past 50 years . The 52 players were known as the Golden Players...

 of Serbia and Montenegro by the Football Association of Serbia and Montenegro
Football Association of Serbia and Montenegro
The Football Association of Serbia and Montenegro was the governing body of football in Serbia and Montenegro, based in Belgrade. It organized the football league, the national team, the cup tournament as well as the Second Leagues of both republics....

 as their most outstanding player of the past 50 years.

Corruption allegations



On January 31, 2011, the trial started in which Džajić is charged of fraud perpetrated during the sale of players from Red Star Belgrade
Red Star Belgrade
Red Star Belgrade is a football club from Belgrade, Serbia. The club is a part of the Red Star Sports Society.Red Star Belgrade is the most successful Serbian club, with a record of 25 national championships and 23 national cups in both Serbian and ex-Yugoslav competitions...

 during Džajić's time as the president of the club, specifically Nemanja Vidić
Nemanja Vidic
Nemanja Vidić is a Serbian footballer who captains English Premier League club Manchester United. He was part of the Serbia national football team from 2002 to 2011....

. Džajić pled not guilty.

External links