Miralem Sulejmani

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Miralem Sulejmani
Miralem Sulejmani.jpg
Sulejmani training with Ajax in 2010
Personal information
Full name Miralem Sulejmani
Date of birth (1988-12-05) 5 December 1988 (age 25)
Place of birth Belgrade, SFR Yugoslavia
Height 1.78 m (5 ft 10 in)
Playing position Winger
Club information
Current team
Benfica
Number 8
Youth career
BSK Batajnica
2000–2005 Partizan
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
2005–2006 Partizan 1 (0)
2007–2008 Heerenveen 34 (15)
2008–2013 Ajax 103 (29)
2013– Benfica 11 (1)
National team
2007–2010 Serbia U21 19 (6)
2008– Serbia 16 (1)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 24 March 2014.

† Appearances (Goals).

‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 5 March 2014

Miralem Sulejmani (Serbian Cyrillic: Миралем Сулејмани; born 5 December 1988) is a Serbian professional footballer who plays as a winger or forward for S.L. Benfica in Portugal and the Serbia national team.

When he signed for Ajax in 2008, he became the most expensive football player to have ever been purchased by a Dutch club.[1] Over the course of seven seasons he amassed Eredivisie totals of 137 games and 44 goals.

Club career[edit]

Partizan[edit]

Sulejmani was born in Belgrade, Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. His father Miljaim played at OFK Beograd, and the son's first club was local FK BSK Batajnica, before he moved to FK Partizan at the age of 11 to complete his formation.

Sulejmani made his first appearance for the seniors in the 2005–06 season, aged 17, and quickly drew interest from Dutch clubs AZ Alkmaar, FC Groningen and SC Heerenveen; additionally, he also spent time at farm team FK Teleoptik.

Heerenveen[edit]

On 6 December 2006 Sulejmani signed for Heerenveen with the transfer being made effective in January of the following year. The move was controversial, with several arguments occurring between the Dutch side and his agent. Eventually Partizan, after a meeting with the Football Association of Serbia, suspended the player until 11 May 2007, keeping him out for the rest of the season; Heerenveen appealed to FIFA afterwards and, although the original verdict claimed that he should not be suspended, a second look at the case was made and he was banned again.[2]

Sulejmani as a Heerenveen player.

Sulejmani made his official debut with the Friesland team in the 2007–08 campaign, against Willem II on 17 August 2007 (0–0 draw). He scored his first Eredivisie goal the following match, but his team lost 1–4 at AFC Ajax; proffiting from the departure of Afonso Alves to Middlesbrough in January 2008, he finished the campaign with 15 goals to rank joint-fifth in the scoring charts, helping his team to the fifth position and the subsequent qualification to the UEFA Cup.

Ajax[edit]

After weeks of speculation, AFC Ajax announced that it had reached an agreement for the transfer of Sulejmani. The Amsterdam club paid 16.25 million to Heerenveen, breaking the Dutch transfer-record of Klaas-Jan Huntelaar which dated from 2005 – the player signed a five-year contract, stating "I am a footballer and I only want to think about football".[3]

Sulejmani netted ten official goals in his first year with Ajax, including two in seven contests in the campaign's UEFA Cup as the club reached the round-of-16. On 18 February 2010, for the same competition, he scored after a marvellous individual play in a 1–2 home loss to Juventus, also the final round-of-32 aggregate score.[4]

Sulejmani taking a free kick with Ajax.

On 11 August 2010, West Ham United confirmed that they had agreed terms with Ajax and Sulejmani to take him on a year-long loan subject to the granting of a work permit,[5][6] which was denied the following day.[7] He continued to display solidly in the following two seasons, scoring 19 goals in 54 appearances combined en route to back-to-back national championships.

On 4 March 2012, in a match against Roda JC, Sulejmani was seriously injured after 30 minutes. Two days later the Ajax medical team has determined that he would have to undergo surgery to the meniscus, going on to miss the rest of the season.[8] In February of the following year, it was reported that he was set to join S.L. Benfica as a free agent;[9][10][11] after this was confirmed, coach Frank de Boer demoted him to the reserves, where he remained until the end of his tenure.[12]

Benfica[edit]

Several days after the initial reports of the deal with Benfica appeared, it was finally confirmed that Sulejmani, along with countryman Filip Đuričić, passed medical tests and agreed to a five-year contract effective as of July 2013.[13][14] Legendary Predrag Mijatović praised his countryman's abilities.[15]

Sulejmani made his Primeira Liga debut on 25 August, coming in midway through the second half of a 2–1 home win against Gil Vicente FC. He scored his first official goal for his new club on 15 December, netting the 3–2 winner at S.C. Olhanense and again featuring as a substitute.

International career[edit]

Sulejmani was named in Zvonko Živković's 18-man squad for the 2007 UEFA European Under-19 Football Championship. On 7 September 2008 he converted two penalties for the under-21s in their 8–0 demolition of Hungary in a qualifying match for the 2009 European Championships.[16]

Sulejmani made his debut for the senior team on 6 February 2008, in a friendly with Macedonia in Skopje. He netted his first international goal on 12 September 2012, against Wales for the 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifiers (6–1 win).[17]

Personal life[edit]

Sulejmani was born in Batajnica, Belgrade, and is of ethnic Gorani descent (from Gora in southern Kosovo). His paternal family moved to Batajnica in 1948. His father also played football, for OFK Beograd and GSP Poleta. His favourite players are Thierry Henry and Cristiano Ronaldo. His best friend is Danko Lazović.[18] In 2010, he met his girlfriend Vesna Mušović.[19] He became a father to a son in October, 2011.[20]

Statistics[edit]

Club[edit]

As of end of 2013–14 season[21]
Club Season League Cup Europe1 Other2 Total
Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Partizan 2005–06 1 0 0 0 0 0 - 1 0
Total 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 0
Heerenveen 2006–07 0 0 0 0 0 0 - 0 0
2007–08 34 15 2 1 2 0 0 0 38 16
Total 34 15 2 1 2 0 38 16
Ajax 2008–09 27 8 0 0 7 2 - 34 10
2009–10 17 2 4 0 10 1 - 31 3
2010–11 32 8 6 3 14 2 1 0 53 13
2011–12 22 11 1 0 8 1 1 0 32 12
2012–13 5 0 2 0 1 0 0 0 8 0
Total 103 29 13 3 40 6 2 0 158 38
Benfica 2013–14 11 1 2 1 10 0 3 1 26 3
Total 11 1 2 1 10 0 3 1 26 3
Career total 149 45 17 5 52 6 5 1 223 57

1 Includes UEFA Champions League and UEFA Cup / Europa League matches. 2 Includes Johan Cruijff Shield and Taça da Liga matches.

International[edit]

As of 5 March 2014
Serbia
Year Apps Goals
2008 3 0
2009 3 0
2010 1 0
2011 0 0
2012 5 1
2013 3 0
2014 1 0
Total 16 1

International goals[edit]

# Date Venue Opponent Score Result Competition
1. 11 September 2012 Karađorđe Stadium, Novi Sad, Serbia  Wales 6–1 6–1 2014 World Cup qualification

Honours[edit]

Club[edit]

Ajax
Benfica

Individual[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Miljoenenflop Sulejmani gratis naar Benfica" [Million flop Sulejmani for free to Benfica] (in Dutch). Het Nieuwsblad. 11 June 2013. Retrieved 15 June 2013. 
  2. ^ "De Sulejmani Code" [The Sulejmani code] (in Dutch). Voetbal Zone. 2 September 2012. Retrieved 15 June 2013. 
  3. ^ "Miralem Suljemani krijgt rugnummer Luque" [Miralem Suljemani gets Luque number] (in Dutch). Voetbal Plus. 9 July 2008. Retrieved 15 June 2013. 
  4. ^ "Ajax verliest met 2–1 van Juventus" [Ajax loses 2–1 against Juventus] (in Dutch). Ajax's official website. 18 February 2010. Retrieved 15 June 2013. 
  5. ^ "Club update on Sulejmani". West Ham United. 11 August 2010. Retrieved 11 August 2010. 
  6. ^ "Hammers scrap Sulejmani loan after work permit failure". BBC Sport. 13 August 2010. Retrieved 13 August 2010. 
  7. ^ "West Ham move for Sulejmani hit by red tape as Fulham denied chance to sign Chelsea starlet". United Kingdom: Daily Mail. 12 August 2010. Retrieved 12 August 2010. 
  8. ^ "Ajax's Sulejmani may miss the remainder of the season". Goal.com. 6 March 2012. Retrieved 14 June 2013. 
  9. ^ "Sulejmani: Benfica contrata médio criativo do Ajax" [Sulejmani: Benfica signs Ajax creative midfielder] (in Portuguese). Mais Futebol. 14 February 2013. Retrieved 14 February 2013. 
  10. ^ "Miralem Suljmani. Um jogador de extremos" [Miralem Sulejmani. An extreme player] (in Portuguese). IOnline. 15 February 2013. Retrieved 15 February 2013. 
  11. ^ "Ex-West Ham and Newcastle target on verge of Benfica switch". Talk Sport. 14 February 2013. Retrieved 15 February 2013. 
  12. ^ Sulejmani marca pelas reservas (Sulejmani scores for reserves); Record, 20 February 2013 (Portuguese)
  13. ^ Benfica: Sulejmani e Djuricic assinam por cinco anos (Benfica: Sulejmani and Djuricic sign for five years); Diário Digital, 23 February 2013 (Portuguese)
  14. ^ "Official: Benfica complete Sulejmani signing". Goal.com. 11 June 2013. Retrieved 14 June 2013. 
  15. ^ ""É um regalo ver Sulejmani a jogar" – Mijatovic" ["It's a treat to watch Sulejmani play" – Mijatovic] (in Portuguese). A Bola. 23 May 2013. Retrieved 23 May 2013. 
  16. ^ "Kačar stars in Serbian rout". UEFA.com. 7 September 2008. Archived from the original on 19 May 2008. Retrieved 8 September 2008. 
  17. ^ "Serbia 6–1 Wales". BBC Sport. 12 September 2012. Retrieved 14 June 2013. 
  18. ^ "Ličnost Danas: Miralem Sulejmani". 2009. 
  19. ^ "Sulejmani: Krivo mi je što sam otišao". 
  20. ^ "Sulejmani dobio sina". 
  21. ^ "M. Sulejmani". Soccerway. Retrieved 3 April 2014. 
  22. ^ "Spot-on Sevilla leave Benfica dreams in tatters". UEFA.com. 14 May 2014. Retrieved 15 May 2014. 

External links[edit]