Ljajić with Partizan in 2009
|Full name||Adem Ljajić|
|Date of birth||29 September 1991|
|Place of birth||Novi Pazar, SFR Yugoslavia|
|Height||1.82 m (5 ft 11 1⁄2 in)|
|Playing position||Attacking midfielder
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 22 March 2015.
† Appearances (Goals).
Adem Ljajić (Serbian Cyrillic: Адем Љајић, Serbian pronunciation: [ǎːdɛm ʎǎːjitɕ]; born 29 September 1991) is a Serbian footballer who plays as an attacking midfielder or forward for Italian club Roma and the Serbia national football team.
Ljajić was set to join England's Manchester United from Partizan in January 2010, but they withdrew their option to sign him in December 2009. Instead, he joined Fiorentina for a reported fee of around €8 million in January 2010. In August 2013, after three years in Florence, Ljajić joined Roma for a fee of €11 million, signing a four-year contract.
Born in Novi Pazar, Serbia, then SFR Yugoslavia, Ljajić joined Partizan as a 14-year-old in 2005, signing from a Serbian lower tier club Jošanica. Ljajić was the first player to wear the number 22 for Partizan after Saša Ilić transferred out to Galatasaray in 2005. He made an appearance for Partizan in the first leg of the second qualifying round of the 2008–09 UEFA Champions League on 29 July 2008, entering the match as a second-half substitute. He made a second substitute appearance in the second leg and another substitute appearance in the second leg of the third qualifying round. He scored his first competitive goal for Partizan on 23 November 2008 in a league match against OFK Beograd.
Proposed move to Manchester United
In October 2008, Manchester United had given Ljajić a trial, although no information was given about the length of the trial initially. The following day, Partizan general secretary Darko Grubor said, "It is not true that Ljajić went to England without permission. We have been in contact with Manchester United for some time now and Ljajić was with the international team in Britain, participating in the UEFA European Under-19 Championship qualifying round, at this moment so it was handy for him to go on trial now."
On 2 January 2009, Manchester United announced the signings of both Ljajić and his Partizan team-mate, Zoran Tošić. Tošić would join the club immediately, while Ljajić would remain at Partizan for the remainder of 2009, joining United in January 2010. Despite being unable to officially join the club until January 2010, Ljajić made regular trips to Manchester throughout 2009 to train with the United first team, and so that the club's coaches could monitor his progress. However, United decided not to take up their option to sign Ljajić due to issues surrounding the club's application for a work permit. Following the collapse of the transfer, Partizan manager Goran Stevanović claimed that the situation had put Ljajić into "psychological shock", but that the player was "handling the situation well". Partizan's Director of Football Ivan Tomić stated "I think that they will regret this decision in future."
On 13 January 2010, Italian club Fiorentina announced the signing of Ljajić. After passing a medical, Ljajić signed a five-year contract, with Partizan receiving a reported fee of €8 million for the player. Ljajić made his debut in Fiorentina's 2–2 draw away to Cagliari on 31 January 2010, coming on as an 82nd-minute substitute for Manuel Pasqual. However, his first half-season at the club under head coach Cesare Prandelli was spent settling into the new surroundings.
The arrival of Ljajić's compatriot Siniša Mihajlović as head coach saw increased first-team opportunities for Ljajić. He scored his first Viola goal from the penalty spot against Lazio on 18 September 2010, which Fiorentina lost 1–2.
On 2 May 2012, Ljajić was substituted in a match against Novara. His reaction to this substitution was to sarcastically applaud the manager Delio Rossi, who grabbed and attempted to punch Ljajić. Fiorentina announced after the match that Rossi had been dismissed as manager, and they would take proportionate measures against Ljajić. Ljajić's team-mate Valon Behrami, who was on the bench at the time of the incident, said no one, including him, had heard Ljajić insult Rossi, which disproved the manager's claims that Ljajić insulted his family. Behrami added Rossi should be ashamed for his actions, as well as lying to the media.
With the departure of Erik Lamela to Tottenham Hotspur for around €30 million in August 2013, Ljajić was sought by Roma as a replacement. The signing was completed on 28 August 2013 for a fee of €11 million, potentially rising to €15 million depending on the club's success, with Ljajić signing a four-year contract. He scored his first goal for Roma against Hellas Verona on his debut. He scored again in Derby della Capitale, Roma won the game 2-0.
Ljajić made his international debut for the Serbia under-21 squad in a European Championship qualification match against Hungary on 7 September 2008. On 26 October 2010, it was announced by Serbia coach Vladimir Petrović that Ljajić would receive his first senior call-up against Bulgaria in a friendly match on 17 November 2010.
Ljajić had been already part of the Serbian under-17 and under-19 teams since 2007.
Ljajić was removed from his country's squad by coach Siniša Mihajlović after refusing to sing the national anthem in a 2–0 friendly loss against Spain on 28 May 2012 due to personal reasons. Ljajić previously signed a code of conduct established by Mihajlović that includes, among other things, to sing the Serbian national anthem, "Bože pravde" ("God of Justice"). Mihajlović said:
"It was said that the players who agrees with the text of the agreement shall sign it, but those who do not agree can go home. Ljajić has failed to comply with the agreement was signed and this is why he had to leave the team. My decision should serve as a clear example at the first step to any kind of indiscipline and disrespect. I am sad about Ljajić, he is a player on whom I counted. We talked, but he did not want to explain to me why he did not sing the national anthem, but said that he could not for religious reasons. Therefore, he is removed from the team. It is not directed personally against him, had any of the players who would do the same, I would acted identically. There are some things over which I can not move, and one of them was the not singing of the national anthem."
Ljajić confirmed Mihajlović's statement, also claiming that he loves Serbia and that he has a will to play for its national team, but added that he must respect himself, inferring that he was not going to play under Mihajlović any longer.
On 17 February 2014 the new head coach of Serbian national team, Ljubinko Drulović, made a statement and said that he would not be requiring from players to sing the national anthem but to give their all for their country on the field and therefore confirmed that Ljajić will make a return to the national team in a match against Republic of Ireland which will be played on 5 March.
- As of 26 February 2015
|Serbian national team|
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- "Definito l'accordo per Ljajic". ViolaChannel (in Italian) (ACF Fiorentina). 13 January 2010. Retrieved 13 January 2010.
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- Behrami: Rosi je slagao šta mu je Ljajić rekao (eng. Rossi lied what Ljajic had said to him
- Fiorentina coach Dellio Rossi attacks Adem Ljajic then gets sacked
- "Fiorentina 4–1 Internazionale". ESPNFC. 17 February 2013.
- "Sportsday – Monday 28 May as it happened". BBC Sport (British Broadcasting Corporation). 28 May 2012. Retrieved 28 May 2012.
- "Mihajlović: Ljajić je znao pravila (Mihajlović: Ljajić knew the rules)". The Večernje novosti. Retrieved 26 January 2013.
- "Ljajić: Volim Srbiju, poštujem sebe" [Ljajić:I love Serbia, I respect myself] (in Serbian). The B92. Retrieved 26 January 2013.
- "DRULOVIĆ: Ja ću pevati himnu, igrači ne moraju!" [Drulović:I will sing the anthem, the players don't have to] (in Serbian). Telegraf. Retrieved 24 February 2014.
- "Serbia - A. Ljajić - Profile with news, career statistics and history". Soccerway. Retrieved 22 March 2015.
- Profile on the official Serbian national team website
- Adem Ljajić – UEFA competition record
- Adem Ljajić at National-Football-Teams.com