Club: Partizan Belgrade (1964/1966) | AFC Ajax (1966/1971)
Growth type: Standard
Velibor Vasović (born October 3, 1939 in Požarevac - died March 4, 2002 in Belgrade) was a footballer.
He transferred to Ajax Amsterdam after he had lost 2-1 to Real Madrid with Partizan Belgrade in European Champions Cup (scoring the only goal for his team). He did the same (4-1 loss to AC Milan, scoring from the spot) in 1969 final, before leading Ajax as captain to a 2-0 victory over Panathinaikos in 1971 final.
Vasović's career was relatively short. He only played 13 professional seasons due to the asthmatic condition he was suffering from.
He played 5 seasons for the Dutch giants (1966-1971) and was the first foreign captain in club's history. Before that he spent many years at Partizan, and even spent a half-season (January '63 to June '63) playing for arch rivals Red Star Belgrade.
He played 32 games for Yugoslavia national football team.
After ending his career as a player in 1971, he coached FK Partizan (second part of 1971/72 season, full 1972/73, and the first part of 1973/74) and Paris St. Germain (first part of 1976/77 and the first part of 1978/79 seasons) before returning home to Belgrade and working as a lawyer. He died in 2002, at the age of 62.
Vasović was one of the strongest and most persistent critics of the Yugoslav FA, especially FA president Miljan Miljanić. His criticism particularly intensified after the breakup of SFR Yugoslavia.
On October 10, 2000, 5 days after the overthrow of Milošević's regime in Serbia, Vasović and about a dozen bodyguards broke into the FA offices. It was not clear what exactly he was hoping to achieve, although the widely circulated unofficial story was that he attempted to use the post-overthrow chaos and confusion in order to gain an upper hand on the expected FA leadership change.
What stood out most about Vasović - and it is a trait possessed by the game's greatest sweepers - is a confidence that not only bordered on arrogance it actively invaded and settled there. In his more subdued moments he claimed to be the central architect behind the totaalvoetbal philosophy, but it is undeniable that his pace and intelligence allowed Michels to implement the ruthlessly efficient offside trap that became a hallmark of Ajax's defensive strategy.
Vasović was the best (and the most complete) libero/centre-half/defensive midfielder Partizan Belgrade ever had. He had excellent understanding of the game, being always in the right place at the right time, combined with his natural talent as a defender. Although he was a defender, in his younger days he worked on his technique and passing, and improved in those segments of the game as well. Vasović was always among the leaders on the field, a player who could (when there's a need for that) push his team up to the limit and lead them to the victory.
(magnificent header at 4:00-4:15)
(fantastic lob from an awkward angle at 1:08-1:16)