Aleksandar Šapić

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Aleksandar Šapić
Aleksandar Šapić.jpg
Šapić in April 2008.
President of New Belgrade municipality
Incumbent
Assumed office
27 June 2012
Preceded by Nenad Milenković
President of the DS branch for the city of Belgrade
In office
2011 – 8 Jun 2013
Preceded by Dragan Đilas
Succeeded by Balša Božović
Personal details
Born (1978-06-01) June 1, 1978 (age 36)
Belgrade, SFR Yugoslavia
Political party Independent (2014–)
Democratic Party (2006–2014)

Aleksandar "Aca" Šapić (Serbian Cyrillic: Александар Шапић - Аца; born 1 June 1978 in Belgrade, Serbia) is a Serbian politician and a retired water polo player. Currently, he's the president of the municipality of New Belgrade.

At 1.88m and 100 kg during his playing days, and a professional career that lasted from 1993 until 2009, he's considered by many to be one of the greatest water polo players of all time. As an instrumental part of the Serbia and Montenegro national water polo team, Šapić won gold at the 2005 World Aquatics Championships in Montreal. He also won three Olympic medals: a bronze medal in Beijing 2008, silver medal in Athens 2004, along with a bronze from Sydney 2000.

Early life[edit]

Born in Belgrade to father Miloš from Kordun and mother Slavojka from Berane vicinity in Montenegro, Aleksandar and his younger brother Vladimir grew up in New Belgrade near Studentski Grad.

Water polo club career[edit]

Aleksandar Šapić

Šapić started playing water polo at the age of 8. After going through all the age groups at VK Crvena Zvezda, Šapić transferred to VK Partizan in December 1991 after his previous club's pool in New Belgrade was closed down. In his first year at Partizan he made his senior debut at only 13 years of age.

After year and a half in black-and-white part of Belgrade, he went back to Red Star for the 1992/93 season as an established national team player.

Next seven seasons Šapić spent in VK Bečej where he won six Yugoslav league titles and six Yugoslav Cups. He also led the team to the 1999/00 European Champions League title, scoring 5 goals in the final versus Zagreb's HAVK Mladost. He was also that year's Champions League best scorer with 39 goals on the season. [1]

After Bečej got dissolved due to financial difficulties, Šapić moved to Italian league in late summer 2001 and spent three seasons with Camogli.

In the summer of 2004 Šapić switched teams again, going this time to Savona. He led the club to the Italian league title in his first season.

In 2005/06 Šapić was already one of top five paid players in the sport when towards the end of the season Russian water polo club Shturm offered him $300,000 per season (huge sum of money in water polo terms), which would make him the single best paid player in the world. [2]

At the end of 2005/06 season, powerhouse Savona, featuring Šapić, Tamás Kásás, Bogdan Rath and Viktor Jelenić, made it to LEN Champions League Final Four in Dubrovnik but lost 8-9 in a tense semi-final to host VK Jug.

On 24 May 2006, he signed a contract with Russian club Shturm from the town of Chekhov. The terms were not disclosed but it is widely believed to be the highest in water polo history. [3]

As of the end of 2005/06, Šapić is the holder of another significant record. From 1995 on (11 straight seasons and counting), Šapić was always the league's top scorer in whichever team or league he was playing.

Clubs he played for[edit]

National team[edit]

At the 2003 European Championships in Kranj, Slovenia, Šapić turned in another star performance, scoring Serbia-Montenegro's winning goal in the final versus Croatia. He also scored the most goals at the championships (24).

At the European Championships 2006 held in Belgrade, Serbia, Šapić won gold with Serbian national team. With 33 goals, Šapić was again the tournament's top scorer.

In 2008, Šapić was again the best scorer of the European Championships in Malaga, Spain, thus tying Manuel Estiarte's record of being the top scorer at three consecutive European Championships. [4]

On 15 October 2008, Šapić called a press conference along with fellow player Aleksandar Ćirić where both announced their retirement from the national team.[1]

In total Šapić played 385 official matches for the national team, and scored an absolute record 981 goals.[2]

Playing style[edit]

He was the top scorer in the European Champions League in 2000 and 2003, and was the leading goal scorer in the 2000 Olympic Games with 18 goals.

In late April 2005, during LEN Cup final second leg match between Šapić's club at the time Savona and one of his former teams, VK Partizan, he got into an altrecation with the visiting fans. He reacted to their taunts and verbal abuse as he exited the pool after the match. [5]

Honours[edit]

Club[edit]

VK Partizan

  • National Cup of Yugoslavia (1): 1991–92

VK Crvena Zvezda

  • National Championship of Yugoslavia (1): 1992–93

VK Bečej Naftagas

  • National Championship of Yugoslavia (6): 1995–96, 1996–97, 1997–98, 1998–99, 1999–2000, 2000–01
  • National Cup of Yugoslavia (6): 1995–96, 1996–97, 1997–98, 1998–99, 1999–2000, 2000–01
  • LEN Euroleague (1): 1999–2000

Rari Nantes Camogli

Rari Nantes Savona

Šturm 2002

  • National Championship of Russia (2): 2007–08, 2008–09
  • LEN Cup (1): 2007–08

Individual[edit]

Political career[edit]

Šapić with DS party colleagues — Serbian president Boris Tadić and Božidar Đelić — at the 2012 Belgrade Marathon, a public appearance as part of the campaign ahead of the parliamentary and presidential elections.

Šapić joined the Democratic Party (DS) in January 2006 while still an active water polo professional. The party was in opposition at the time on the national level, although it held power locally in the city of Belgrade. The public announcement of the 27-year-old Šapić, at the time the World and European champion as well as the Olympic silver medalist with Serbia-Montenegro, joining a political party had a significant resonance in the Serbian media.

After retiring from water polo in early May 2009, Šapić devoted himself fully to politics. Right away in November he became one of the assistants to Belgrade mayor Dragan Đilas, one of the most influential and powerful individuals within DS.

In July 2011, Šapić was named the president of the DS branch for the city of Belgrade.[3] At the position he continued working closely under Đilas.

One year later in June 2012, following the general election, Šapić was named the president of New Belgrade municipality.[4]

Personal[edit]

In 2005, Šapić married Ivana Šljukić his girlfriend of few years, and the widow of slain mobster Sredoje Šljukić. In June 2009, their separation became public.[5]

Other endeavours[edit]

Šapić had a memorable part in the popular 2004 Serbian movie Kad porastem biću Kengur. He played the role of the local neighbourhood bully and gangster named Gangula.

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Awards
Preceded by
Italy Roberto Calcaterra
Most Valuable Player of
Water Polo World Championship

2005
Succeeded by
Spain Guillermo Molina