In our new Scout feature, Daniel Roberts takes a detailed look into a new emerging talent from the world of football after scouring the European and British talent pool. After profiling Ante Coric on Wednesday, we next take a look at Partizan Belgrade winger Andrija Živković.
Dubbed the new Lionel Messi, the 19-year-old Serbian is already creating an impressive footballing CV for himself.
The winger, who plays his club football for Partizan Belgrade in his home country, has helped his side win the Serbian SuperLiga on two separate occasions, whilst also earning the accolade of the league’s 2013 Young Player of the Year award in his debut season.
That, however, wasn’t enough for Andrija, as he also became the club’s youngest ever captain, at just 17 years, seven months and 18 days old.
His record-breaking doesn’t stop there, as his international history is just as impressive. A member of the Serbian Under-20s side that won the 2015 FIFA Under-20 World Cup, grabbing the assist for the game-winning goal in the final against Brazil, Živković is also the youngest player to ever represent the Serbian senior team.
At just 5ft 7inches, his low centre of gravity allows the diminutive dribbler to stride past defenders with minimal effort, opening up the space to place the ball past the hapless goalkeeper or thread a ball of great precision to those ahead of him.
What the experts say
Partizan head coach Ljubinko Drulović: “Andrija is already a great player, [the] hope of Serbian football and one of the best Partizan first-team players at the moment. He has a fantastic left foot, and usually plays on the right, much like Lazar Markovic. He’s fast and has great technique.”
Serbia coach Radovan Ćurčić: “It’s amazing what Živković can do in terms of his running and technical skills. He is a great dribbler with a strong and accurate shot. With Živković in your forward line, you can expect something to happen. Also, though he is young, he never neglects his defensive duties which is equally impressive”.
Former Partizan head coach Zoran Milinkovic: “Andrija was the best young player in the world (at the 2015 Youth World Cup) and there is no doubt about it, but because of that, we come into a situation that we now have to compete with the rich clubs.”
Where his future lies
The future of Živković could be one to watch this January, with his contract at Partizan set to expire come the end of the season. With the ‘New Messi’ highly sought-after, a number top European clubs will be monitoring his situation with intrigue in the coming months.
According to Živković’s agent, Pedja Djordjevic, he could, in the future, play his football in Spain or England, with interest from the Premier League and La Liga high.
After his impressive Under-20 World Cup display, Djordjevic spoke of his client’s desire to calmly decide his future, but noted: “Valencia and Chelsea are two of the clubs who are interested.”
Ahead of the winter transfer window, however, Portuguese side Benfica may jump ahead of the queue and conclude a deal for the Serbian star, as fresh reports in Portugal claim that they have stolen a march on their rivals for his signature by reportedly agreeing a €10million deal to prise the attacking midfield away from Serbia.
By Daniel Roberts, @djroberts22