Nickname: "Piksi" ("Pixie")
Club: Red Star Belgrade
Growth type: Early/Lasting
Dragan Stojković (born March 3, 1965 in Niš, my hometown), is a former Serbian star footballer and former president of Red Star Belgrade Football Club. He is also well known by his nickname Piksi or Pixy.
A 175cm, 73kg midfielder and occasional forward, Stojković began his professional playing career with Yugoslav First League and hometown side Radnički Niš in 1981-82 when he made one first-team appearance. The next four seasons, Stojković appeared in 69 matches for Radnički and scored eight goals.
Red Star Belgrade
Stojković was then signed by Red Star Belgrade, where he would spend the next five seasons, scoring 48 times in 120 appearances. He was the Yugoslav League MVP in 1988 and '89 season and his stellar performances with Red Star gave him the title of Zvezdina Zvezda only given out to the very best players in the club's illustrious history.
Olympique de Marseille
In the summer of 1990 he made a much publicized move to Olympique de Marseille, joing the star-ladden squad featuring the likes of Jean-Pierre Papin, Abedi Pele, and Chris Waddle. He would remain their player for the next four seasons with a half-season loan move to Hellas Verona sandwiched in-between his stints in Marseille. The losers to Red Star in 1991, Olympique with Stojković in the squad won the European Cup in 1993.
Unfortunatelly, his time in Marseille was marred with multiple career-threatening injuries, meaning he never got to display his wide array of skills on the biggest European stage.
Nagoya Grampus Eight
In the spring of 1994 Stojković signed with Japanese J-League team Nagoya Grampus Eight, then managed by Arsene Wenger and featuring Gary Lineker. He spent seven seasons with the Grampus Eight, retiring as a player in 2001. Stojković played 183 matches for the club, scoring 57 times. He was named J-League MVP for the 1995 season. In Japan there are some monuments in his honour.
Olympic medal record
Competitor for Yugoslavia
Bronze 1984 Los Angeles Team Competition
Stojković made 84 career international appearances, scoring 15 times, those split between the SFR Yugoslavia national team and the FR Yugoslavia national team. He played for the former in Euro 84 and the 1990 FIFA World Cup and for the latter in the 1998 FIFA World Cup and Euro 2000. He made his international debut on November 12, 1983 in a scoreless draw against France. His final international match was against the country he spent much of his playing career in, Japan, on July 4, 2001.
Upon retiring in 2001, 36-year-old Stojković immediately became the Yugoslav Football Association president, succeeding Miljan Miljanić. Though Stojković's appointment initially received wide public approval, his 4-year tenure will be remembered for some of the worst results in the national team's history, culminating in a humiliating June 2003 qualifier loss to minnows Azerbaijan.
Hiring freshly retired former teammate and good personal friend Dejan Savićević to the position of national team coach despite not having any coaching experience was amongst Stojković's first orders of business in 2001. Initially considered bold and daring, the move quickly turned sour as the squad began faltering in Euro 2004 qualifying while Savićević feuded with many of the players.
Throughout the summer of 2003, in the wake of the Azerbaijan fiasco that prompted Savićević's resignation, Stojković unsuccessfully courted Bora Milutinović for the national team head coaching role, only to eventually hire Ilija Petković.
Red Star Belgrade President
In July 2005, Stojković became the president of Red Star Belgrade. Similar to his FA appointment 4 years earlier, Stojković again became a successor to another long term, larger than life figure, Dragan Džajić who occupied various leading positions within the club's administration during previous 26 years. This transfer of power was full of controversy with plenty of lobbying behind the scenes and at times open feuding in the press.
The 2005-06 season
One of Stojković's first orders of business ahead of the 2005-06 season was firing the head coach he inherited, Ratko Dostanić, and bringing Walter Zenga who thus became the first foreigner ever to coach Red Star. Calling on his Japan connections, Stojković also got Toyota Motor Corporation to invest in the club through a shirt sponsorship deal. Additionally, he also opened the club's doors to various prominent Serbian companies like Delta Holding and Telekom Srbija thus creating a pool of sponsors.
On the player personnel front, Stojković initially more-or-less continued the existing "buy low sell high" policy that meant players were mostly recruited from Red Star's own youth system or smaller clubs throughout Serbia and Montenegro, and then sold abroad as soon as they gained some exposure on the European scene. Stojković's most prominent initial move was loaning out striker Marko Pantelić to Hertha Berlin for €250,000 on the last day of the summer 2005 transfer window (Pantelić was eventually sold to Hertha for additional €1.5 million in April 2006). On the other hand, 20-year-old striker Milan Purović and 22-year-old keeper Vladimir Stojković were brought to the club from Budućnost Podgorica and FK Zemun, respectively. Additionally, by bringing in Ghanaian midfielder Haminu Dramani, president Stojković indicated he was also interested in affordable foreign imports, which would soon become a staple of his transfer policy. All three new arrivals gelled well with the existing squad (featuring the likes of Nikola Žigić, Boško Janković, Milan Biševac, Dušan Basta, Nenad Kovačević, Aleksandar Luković, and Milan Dudić), as Red Star won the domestic double in impressive fashion. The club also played some impressive football in UEFA Cup where on last group matchday only a late goal by RC Strasbourg's Kevin Gameiro prevented them from progressing to the eight-finals.
The 2006-07 season
Winning the double combined with some fine European outings during previous season raised the fans' expectations considerably as they now wanted the existing Red Star squad to be kept intact (especially Nikola Žigić who reportedly at the time became a target of some high profile English Premiership clubs) in order to make a serious run at qualifying for the UEFA Champions League. However, the first move came as a complete shock - president Stojković sold goalkeeper Vladimir Stojković to FC Nantes, reportedly for €3 million. Trying to deal with the angry fan reaction, he attempted to explain that the move had been necessary to cover the club debt that grew to alarming levels following years of mismanagement and unpaid commitments of some key sponsor pool members. The wholesale continued with Nenad Kovačević, Milan Dudić, Haminu Dramani, Aleksandar Luković, and Boško Janković also leaving, but their departures caused comparatively less angry fan reaction. However most were still disappointed to see the winning team disassembled and sold-off so quickly.
On October 12, 2007 Stojković announced that he was stepping down as the president of Red Star Belgrade.
Stojković returned to Japan to take over as manager of his former club, Nagoya Grampus on 22 January 2008. On 15 March 2008 the former J.League MVP won his first game as manager as Nagoya Grampus stunned AFC Champions League 2007 Champions Urawa Reds 2-0 at Saitama Stadium. Despite his glorious playing career at Nagoya, many Nagoya fans worried about his lack of experience as a coach, however his team finished in 3rd place and he led the club to AFC Champions League for the first time.
* Yugoslav League MVP: 1988, 1989
* J-League MVP: 1995
* J-League Best Eleven: 1995, 1996, 1999
- Spoiler: show
http://www.crvenazvezdafk.com/srecan-rodjendan-piksi-1626-s2-c19-video.htm (watch excellent video on the bottom of the page)