This week marks the 30th anniversary of the Federal Socialist Republic Yugoslavia (Federal Republic of Yugoslavia) officially ceases to exist. The country’s geopolitical legacy evokes a wide range of feelings and memories across Europe and indeed the world, both positive and negative, as the seven nations that succeeded it all walked their own path over a period of nearly 20 years.
From a purely football perspective, it is interesting to observe the football journey of the former country, before and after secession, as the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and the countries that follow it have been a hotbed of footballing talent for generations. Although the country has never managed to win a major international cup, Yugoslavia football team He succeeded in making semi-finals at the World Cup finals in 1930 and 1962, and placed second in the European Championships in 1960 and 1968.
It is sometimes claimed that Yugoslavia would have had a realistic chance of winning Euro 92 had the team not been expelled due to the ongoing internal conflict at the time, a claim supported by Red Star Belgrade’s European Cup victory in 1991 and Croatia finished third in the 1998 World Cup.
What about the modern era? idea Eleventh Yugoslavia unites With players from the successor states of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia at times theorized by football fans, especially after Croatia’s extraordinary move to the World Cup Final in 2018. But what would this team look like in reality?
here we have Yugoslavia XIhighlighting the very The best football talent From the modern-day countries of the former Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, 30 years later.
We started scoring with Atletico Madrid and Jan Oblak of Slovenia, one of the easiest options in the whole team. Having started at Benfica, Oblak made a name for himself as one of the best goalkeepers in the world at Atletico, winning the La Liga title in 2021 as well as the Europa League in 2018.
With countless individual accolades to his name in both Spanish and UEFA competitions, Oblak was also named the best footballer in Slovenia, a record six times, and should certainly rank as the country’s greatest player after independence, even surpassing Samir Handanovic, goalkeeper Another great Slovenian goal.
Moving on to the three centre-backs, our first center back is Marseille and Croatia’s Doji Kalita Kar. Caleta-Car has played regularly for Les Olympiens since his move to France in 2018, and has grown into a key player for the team, helping them achieve high-profile Ligue 1 finals. League teams during the summer of 2021 and January.
Kalita-Kar has 22 caps for Croatia, made his international debut in 2018 and was a member of the World Cup squad that finished second that year. The 25-year-old looks like an ideal player to help the team transition from the old generation to the new generation of Croatian footballers.
Among all the countries of the former Yugoslavia, there is currently no better centre-back than Montenegro’s Stefan Savic, which has been the case for several years now.
The Atlético Madrid defender has made more than 200 appearances for the Spanish club since signing in 2015, winning both La Liga and the Europa League. The 31-year-old also won the 2012 Premier League during a one-season stay at Manchester City early in his career.
With 62 caps in Montenegro to his name, he is third in the national team’s list of most capped players, winning the Montenegrin Player of the Year award five times, second only to Mirko Vucinic with seven.
Croatia’s stunning run at the 2018 World Cup has been seen by some as the final end to a shining generation of footballers who can never be replaced – but in recent months defender Josko Gvardiol has proven that there is still plenty of talent emerging in the squad. in Croatia.
The young central defender has been making noises for RB Leipzig in the Bundesliga so far this season, being a mainstay for a team that is fourth in the league and has reached the Europa League semi-finals.
Gvardiol has played ten caps for Croatia so far, starting all of the team’s matches at Euro 2020. At just twenty years old, he looks set to have a long and illustrious career for both club and country, with some of Europe’s top teams reportedly keeping him on their radar.
Right midfielder: Dusan Tadic (Serbia, Ajax)
Turning to the right side of the midfield, we find Dusan Tadic, who always shines. A strong player in the Premier League for Southampton for many years, it was in the Netherlands where he showed his best form, having been very exciting for Ajax since his move there in 2018. Tadic was one of the best Serbian players to ever play in the Premier League.
The Serbian winger played the starring role as Ajax dazzled Europe by reaching the Champions League semi-finals in 2019, and currently has 12 goals and 17 assists in the Eredivisie this season.
A key player in Serbia, Tadic played 84 caps for the national team and scored 18 goals. He was named the best football player in Serbia, a record three times.
Now we move on to the star of the team, who is none other than the star of Real Madrid Luka Modric.
The legendary midfielder has been in Spain for nearly a decade, winning four staggering Champions League titles and countless others, and remains a key member of the squad to this day.
In terms of international football, Modric’s career with Croatia has been just as impressive as his career with Real Madrid. He made a record 148 caps for Croatia, scored 21 goals, led the team all the way to the World Cup Final in 2018, and won the tournament’s Golden Ball.
In addition to winning Croatia’s Player of the Year ten times, the 36-year-old also won the Ballon D’or in 2018, the first and only non-Messi or Ronaldo winner of the award since 2007.
Without a doubt The greatest player in the history of Croatiaand perhaps better than any former Yugoslav country, past or present.
Year after year in Serie A, there always seems to be one guarantee – Serge Milinkovic-Savic He runs the show in the midfield of Lazio.
A player admired across Europe, the Serbian has been in great shape for Lazio again this season, scoring nine goals and 11 assists in the league so far. In recent years, Milinkovic-Savic has been named Lazio player of the season And Serie A best midfielderAs well as being selected for this year’s Premier League team.
The 27-year-old currently has 30 caps and five goals for Serbia, and he will undoubtedly be a key player for the team at the World Cup later this year.
Could there be a big transition soon on paper?
Our last three midfielders is Mateo Kovacic is trustworthy at Chelsea.
The Croatian has become a key figure at Stamford Bridge since his move to the Premier League in 2018, with more than 180 appearances for Chelsea to his name. Kovacic certainly played his part in Chelsea’s success in the Champions League in 2021, adding to his previous three wins while at Real Madrid.
In international football, Kovacic played 77 international matches, scoring three goals for Croatia. He has been a member of the team for the past four Grand Slams in a row, a race that is almost certain to extend to five championships in Qatar later this year.
We find on the left side of the field Eintracht Frankfurt, Philip Kostik.
Frankfurt player since 2018, the wide midfielder has been in fine form in the Bundesliga so far this season, scoring four goals and nine assists, and most recently put in a stunning individual performance to knock Barcelona out of the Europa League, with Frankfurt reaching the top spot. semi final. He was named to the Bundesliga’s Team of the Season in 2020.
For Serbia, Kostik has so far played 45 caps, scored three goals, and was one of the members of the team that went to the World Cup in Russia in 2018.
It’s fair to say we’ve seen quite a few promising young strikers emerge in Europe over recent seasons, but few can match the excitement surrounding Dusan Vlahovic.
In the same way that 2020 was the year Erling Haaland made his breakthrough, 2021 had a similar impact on Vlahovic, firing the young Serbian striker into the net after a goal for Fiorentina, eventually making him move to Juventus in January 2022. Vlahovic is currently second place this season. Serie A goals table for the season, with 23 goals so far.
The 22-year-old had 14 caps for Serbia at this early stage of his career, scoring seven goals to his name, which is an impressive hitting rate. His four goals in the World Cup qualifiers played a huge role in Serbia and automatically qualified them for the tournament ahead of the most favored Portugal.
From a young player to a veteran scorer, our team complements and partners with Bosnian football legend Edin Dzeko.
The Inter striker has made a name for himself across Europe, winning leagues in Germany with Wolfsburg and in England with Manchester City, and now has nearly 100 goals in Serie A.
Dzeko has won the Bosnian Player of the Year award three times, and has made 120 caps for his country, scoring 61 goals. A tally that makes him not only Bosnia’s top scorer, but also the tenth best international scorer across all European nations in football history, an incredible record.
Truly one of the most underrated strikers of his generation, which is fitting for ending Yugoslavia XI.
Manchester City and England fan. Opinion and feature writer on everything related to the Premier League and beyond.