Despite it being over 25 years since Yugoslavia disbanded into 6 separate countries, I thought that it would be interesting to see what kind of XI could be created by combining all of the current footballing talent from the countries which used to form Yugoslavia. I scouted across Europe’s top leagues to pick out the best talent from the countries that made up the country (Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Slovenia, Montenegro, Macedonia and Kosovo) and formed them into a compelling XI.
Goalkeeper: Jan Oblak
Hailing from the Slovenian town of Škofja Loka, the 24 is certainly one of Slovenia’s most successful footballers despite being aged just 24. After a four year spell at Benfica, Oblak moved to the Spanish capital signing for Atletico Madrid in 2014, and since the departure of Thibaut Courtois he has been a crucial part of the Los Colchoneros side that is challenging for Domestic and European trophies.
Defender: Branislav Ivanovic
After a trophy laden 9 year spell in West London at Chelsea FC, the Serb has recently made the switch to Zenit St Petersburg after a lack of game time under Antonio Conte. The versatile defender is recognised as one of the greatest Serbian footballers of the 21st century and has captained his country for over 5 years.
Defender: Dejan Lovren
The Croatian international has had a successful career in England after making the switch from Lyon in 2012. The 29 year old is currently a key part of a Liverpool team aiming to win the Premier League, and with experience being key to winning trophies, Lovren has a lot to offer.
Defender: Aleksandar Kolarov
Another Serbian defender who has made his name in the Premier League, this time it’s Manchester City mainstay Aleksandar Kolarov. Since joining City in 2010 he’s made over 200 appearances for the sky blues, as well as winning 6 major honours with the club. The Belgrade born defender has also represented his country at the World Cup and Olympics.
Midfielder: Xherdan Shaqiri
Despite being born in the city of Gjilan which is now in the country of Kosovo, the Stoke City forward now represents Switzerland at international level. From scoring bicycle kicks at the European Championships to starting for Bayern Munich aged just 21, Shaqiri has had an eventful career so far. It could become even more interesting if Kosovo are approved by FIFA, with Shaqiri being one of many players representing Albania and Switzerland to be able to play for Kosovo.
Midfielder: Nemanja Matic
After long periods where the Serbian’s future was cast into doubt, Matic settled down in Benfica in 2011, and after impressing his former club Chelsea so much, The Blues resigned the man from Śabac in 2014 for a fee of £21 million. Since then, the rangy 28 year old has been instrumental in Chelsea’s success and is currently helping the West Londoners to their second title in three seasons.
Midfielder: Luka Modric
The dynamic attacking midfielder is in his 5th season at Spanish giants Real Madrid after moving to Los Blancos from Tottenham Hotspur in 2012. Over this time the Croatian international has proven himself as one of the worlds best attacking midfielders. He’s won Croatian footballer of the year 5 times, and is just one behind Croatian great Davor Suker.
Midfielder: Ivan Rakitic
Another Croatian midfielder who is enjoying a vastly successful career in Spain, since moving to the Catalonian side back in the summer of 2014, Rakitic has emerged as a crucial player in Barcelona’s midfield alongside Sergio Busquets. At the age of 28 he is at the top of his game, gaining numbers personal honours.
Striker: Stevan Jovetic
The Titograd born attacker was a founding member of the 2007 Montenegro national team after their split with Serbia, and he’s been a key member ever since. Club wise, Jovetic has also been successful. A goal laden spell at Fiorentina helped him to secure a move to Premier League giants, where he won the Premier League and League Cup. Now plying his trade back in Italy at Internazionale, the striker’s peak years are approaching.
Striker: Edin Dzeko
After 4 exceptional years in the Blue side of Manchester where he won 5 major honours, Dzeko made his move to Roma permanently halfway through the 2015-16 season.Despite a dodgy start at Stadio Olimpico, the Bosnia and Herzegovina international has come into his own recently, scoring 29 goals in all competitions so far this season despite it being only February.
Striker: Stefan Mandzukic
The 30 year old target man has represented a number of Europe’s top clubs, including Atletico Madrid, Bayern Munich and Vfl Wolfsburg. Currently playing under Massimiliano Allegri at Juventus, the Croatian will be looking to add more trophies to the 27 he has already won so far.
So, that was Dictate The Game‘s Yugoslavian XI of 2017, but what do you think? Let us know in the comments or on our Twitter! (@DictateTheGame).
Written by Saeed Moulai.