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From sleeping in a car to Bundesliga top scorer: The rise in stoc​k of Luka Jović

NN: A lot is written about you and on the story of you sleeping in a car for a while during your time at Red Star, how do you feel when you look back on that? (Taken from Semberske Novine).

A solemn acknowledgement from Luka Jović. Life hasn’t always been about goals and international appearances. Luka talked about the gratitude he has for his hard-working parents from north-east Bosnia, the strides made by him as well as his pride to have put on a Red Star shirt…

I can’t confirm who ‘NN’ is and Semberske Novine is far from a household name in the world of journalism (coming from ‘Taste of Football’), but this Bosnian news outlet have re-raised an interesting point of Jović’s past. (Article here)

In May 2014, Luka Jović became the youngest goalscorer in Red Star Belgrade’s long, industrious history. 16 years, five months and five days. Two years younger than me (Gulp). He had broken the record held by Serbian legend Dejan Stanković. The name familiar? Think Champions League, Inter Milan v Schalke. Twenty-five seconds in. Manuel Neuer being his overconfident self. Halfway line. Volley. If you still haven’t got it I’ll put the video here:

Jović’s goal helped bring the Serbian SuperLiga back to Red Star, taking their total to 26 league titles, one more than their terribly fierce rivals Partizan Belgrade (25).

But whilst Luka was beginning to find his feet on the pitch, money was hard to come by. The Bosnian-born, Serbian international would often resort to spending nights in a car. Far from the luxury of professional football.

At 18 years old, Luka and his family were threatened, held at ransom. The racketeer demanded his family pay a large sum of money. If the Jović’s refused, he promised that he would see to the breaking of their dearest Luka’s legs. Not to worry, the man behind the ransom was quickly located and arrested. Charming Serbia. Real charming.

“He is the pearl, the new Falcao.”

Zvedzan Terzic, General Director of Red Star Belgrade

Talk about piling on the pressure. The ‘General Director’ of Red Star had only gone and labelled Luka Jović as the next Radamel. Keep in mind that this is Atlético Madrid 25+ goal a season Radamel Falcao; not the ten appearances (nine from the bench) Falcao we saw at Chelsea. No one wants to be like that.

In February 2016, Benfica paid Red Star a measly £2m for their prize possession. Despite Luka only being 18 years old at the time, £2m was still seen as an incredibly low figure. A season with the reserve team and a loan spell later, Luka Jović is one of the hottest prospects in football.

Jović had joined German side Eintracht Frankfurt on a two-year loan deal, with Die Adler now exercising their right to a permanent transfer. The 2017/18 season was stop-start, Jović making 21 appearances, 13 of those from the bench. Eight goals, including the winner in the semi-finals of their winning DFB Pokal cup run, against Schalke, was not bad for a twenty-year-old playing his first season in the German First Division. However, 2018/19 has been a different animal entirely…

Image result for luka jovic frankfurt
RISE: Luka Jovic has taken the Bundesliga by storm this season
(Image credit: 90MiN)

On 19th October, Luka Jović put the world on notice. Still just 20 years of age, he became the youngest player to score five goals in a Bundesliga game (7-1 win v Fortuna Dusseldorf). What caught my eye was the manner of the goals, especially his first: an acrobatic overhead/scissor kick of sorts. The way he strikes the ball gives me goosebumps, instantly drawing comparisons to the one other man that can have that effect: Mauro Icardi.

According to Squawka, Luka has had eight big chances this season. How many goals have come from these chances you ask? Fourteen. But that doesn’t make sense, Tom. Damn right it doesn’t, and that’s what makes the case of Luka Jović so intriguing; the untaught finishing of rural Bosnia and seven years in Red Star’s fabled academy had brought forward a striker that can cause a bonfire out of a mere flicker, find that extra goal when all seems lost. The scariest thing: no one can stop him…

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