Nikola Žigić

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Nikola Žigić
Zigic vs Antwerp.jpg
With Birmingham City in 2012 pre-season
Personal information
Full name Nikola Žigić[1]
Date of birth (1980-09-25) 25 September 1980 (age 33)
Place of birth Bačka Topola, SFR Yugoslavia
Height 2.02 m (6 ft 7 12 in)[2]
Playing position Centre forward
Youth career
1991–1998 AIK Bačka Topola
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1998–2001 AIK Bačka Topola 76 (68)
2001–2002 Mornar 23 (15)
2002 Kolubara 8 (3)
2003–2006 Red Star Belgrade 79 (47)
2003 Spartak Subotica (loan) 11 (14)
2006–2007 Racing Santander 32 (11)
2007–2010 Valencia 28 (5)
2009 Racing Santander (loan) 19 (13)
2010–2014 Birmingham City[a] 128 (32)
National team
2004–2011 Serbia 57 (20)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 12:16, 1 July 2014 (UTC).
† Appearances (Goals).

Nikola Žigić (Serbian Cyrillic: Никола Жигић [nǐkola ʒǐːɡit͡ɕ]; born 25 September 1980) is a Serbian footballer who plays as a centre forward. At 2.02 m (6 ft 7 12 in),[2][3] Žigić is among the tallest professional players in the world.

Žigić started his career in the youth academy at AIK Bačka Topola in 1991, and joined the senior side in 1998. During his time at the club, he scored 68 goals in 76 league matches, before leaving in 2001 for Mornar. He spent one season at Mornar, scoring 15 goals in 23 league games, before switching to Kolubara in 2002, scoring 3 goals in 8 league games. A brief spell at Spartak Subotica in 2003 followed, where he scored 14 goals in 11 league games. He joined First League of Serbia and Montenegro side Red Star Belgrade in 2003, and made 110 appearances for them, scoring 71 goals. A move to Spain in August 2006 followed, with Žigić joining La Liga side Racing Santander. He spent a single season at Santander, scoring 11 goals in 33 games, before signing for La Liga side Valencia in August 2008. He scored 14 goals in 46 games, but was rarely the first choice striker, and he spent most of the 2008–09 season on loan to Racing Santander, scoring 13 goals in 19 games during his second spell at the club. Žigić joined Premier League club Birmingham City in 2010. In his first season, he scored in Birmingham's League Cup win, and despite their relegation to the Championship, remained with the club for a further three years until his contract expired.

He made his senior international debut for Serbia and Montenegro in June 2005, and has since won 57 caps for his country, scoring 20 goals. He was part of both the 2006 FIFA World Cup and 2010 FIFA World Cup squads, and briefly captained his country in 2011. Following the breakup of Serbia and Montenegro in 2006, he has played internationally for Serbia.

Club career[edit]

Red Star[edit]

Žigić began with modest local teams, netting at an impressive rate, after which he joined bigger club Red Star Belgrade in January 2003. During his years at the club, he played 110 matches and scored 71 goals in all competitions[citation needed] (cup, league and European competitions).

Nikola Žigić

Racing Santander[edit]

On 29 August 2006, Žigić signed a four-year contract with Spanish side Racing de Santander. On 1 April 2007, he scored his first hat-trick in La Liga, in a 5–4 win over Athletic Bilbao.[4] While at Racing, he formed a formidable duo with diminutive veteran forward Pedro Munitis, and netted 12 league goals during the 2006–07 season.

Valencia[edit]

On 8 August 2007, Sky Sports understood that Valencia CF had offered Racing 19 million for Žigić, handing the player a lucrative five-year contract. Numerous other clubs, such as SV Werder Bremen and Manchester City attempted to sign him, but Valencia eventually signed the player, announcing the £20 million deal on their official website the following day. After passing a medical the next day, Žigić was introduced at the Estadio Mestalla.[citation needed]

Žigić's first goal for Valencia came in a Spanish Cup match against Real Unión, adding another to turn the match around, as Valencia won 2–1. However he was unsuccessful in nailing down a starting place in the team under coach Ronald Koeman, who mostly used him as a sub or not at all. His first and only league goal came on 22 December 2007 at Real Zaragoza, as Valencia again came from behind and earned a 2–2 draw. A loan to English club Portsmouth was mooted, but Koeman changed his mind about the player leaving.[5]

After some speculation regarding moves to the Premier League,[6][7] and a thwarted loan return to former side Racing Santander, Žigić finally agreed to stay and fight for a place in 2008–09's Valencia.

Žigić with Birmingham in 2010

Eventually, after having failed to appear in any league matches, being restricted to domestic and UEFA Cup matches, and scoring in both competitions, he was loaned in late December 2008 to former side Santander.[8][9] In June 2009, there were rumours of a move to Sunderland,[10] but nothing came of it.

Žigić was then loaned to a former team, Racing, until the end of the season. On 4 January 2009, in his first game in his second spell with the Cantabrians, Žigić scored the game's only goal in a win at Real Valladolid, repeating the feat in a win at Getafe CF, two matchdays later, and again the following week on 25 January away at Sevilla FC. He finished his second spell with 13 goals in only 19 matches, squad best, and subsequently returned to Valencia, where he continued to be rarely used in the league.

Profiting from a rare chance in the league with the Che, Žigić headed in the only goal of the game at home to RCD Espanyol on 2 January 2010, in the 93rd minute. On 13 January, he added a brace at Deportivo de La Coruña in the 2009–10 Copa del Rey to put Valencia 2–0 up at halftime, in an eventual 2–2 draw (4–3 aggregate loss); on a more positive note, he replaced starter David Villa at Espanyol on 1 May and scored both goals in a 2–0 win (both with his feet).

Birmingham City[edit]

On 25 May 2010, Žigić signed a four-year contract with Premier League club Birmingham City for an undisclosed fee.[11] Media speculation suggested the fee to be in the region of £6 million.[12] He made his debut on the opening day of the season away at Sunderland: replacing Garry O'Connor in the 58th minute, he came close to scoring from outside the penalty area and "injected a note of panic hitherto undetected" in the home team's defence as Birmingham came back from 2–0 down to secure a draw.[13][14]

Žigić's first goal for the club came as Birmingham beat Milton Keynes Dons 3–1 in the League Cup on 21 September.[15] He scored his first Premier League goal on 16 October, opening the scoring at Arsenal with a header from a Keith Fahey cross, but Birmingham lost the game 2–1.[16] His fourth goal of the campaign was the 84th-minute winner as Birmingham progressed to the League Cup semi-final at the expense of local rivals Aston Villa.[17] He scored the opening goal in the 2011 Football League Cup Final with a short-range header as Birmingham defeated favourites Arsenal 2–1 at Wembley Stadium on 27 February 2011.[18] Because of "niggling" hip and groin injuries, Žigić made only two more substitute appearances. His absence deprived the team of what the Birmingham Mail's reporter called their "most effective style: getting the ball forward early, pressing up the pitch and playing off him", as they were relegated to the Championship.[19]

Žigić's first goal in the Championship gave Birmingham a 1–0 win against Leeds United in October 2011.[20] Away to Leeds in January 2012, Žigić scored all four goals as Birmingham came back from 1–0 behind to win 4–1.[21]

He began the 2012–13 season with a goal in the fourth minute of stoppage time to gain a point for Birmingham at home to Charlton Athletic on the opening day.[22] On 15 February 2013, Birmingham manager Lee Clark publicly criticised Žigić for producing "possibly the worst training session in terms of a professional footballer I have ever come across", despite knowing he was due to start the forthcoming game against Watford.[23] Up until this incident, Clark had used Žigić more often as substitute than starter. He had scored six league goals at a rate of one goal every 165 minutes, and been sent off twice.[24] Clark said that Žigić would not be involved against Watford, but that it was "in Nikola's hands" as to whether he would prepare properly for the Sheffield Wednesday fixture three days later.[25]

On the last day of the 2013–14 season, Birmingham needed at least a draw away at Bolton Wanderers and for other results to favour them to avoid relegation to League One. Two goals down with 12 minutes left, Žigić scored, and three minutes into stoppage time, his close-range header was cleared off the line to Paul Caddis, who headed home to preserve Birmingham's second-tier status.[26] He left the club when his contract expired at the end of the season.[27]

International career[edit]

Although he attracted much attention for his performances with Red Star in the Serbo-Montenegrin league, Žigić only gained a regular place in the national team in mid-2005, after having made his debut the previous year under coach Ilija Petković.

He scored a couple of goals in some friendlies, but it was his substitute appearance in a crucial 2006 FIFA World Cup qualifier against Spain in Madrid in September 2005 that brought him international recognition. After an atrocious first-half at the Vicente Calderón Stadium, during which Serbia-Montenegro rarely crossed the centre line, only being 1–0 down, coach Petković threw Žigić into the mix, and his towering presence up front changed the flow of the match instantly. He would later set up the equalizer, also providing Mateja Kežman with a 2–1 chance, but the ball was clipped wide of Iker Casillas' gaping half-empty net. However, Serbia got the key away point and confirmed their World Cup qualification at home in Belgrade versus Bosnia-Herzegovina, with Žigić again nicely setting up Kežman for the game's only goal.

Žigić's only start at the 2006 World Cup came in the nation's final Group C match, when the team was already eliminated. He scored an early goal in the 10th minute of the first half off a long ball from Dejan Stanković against Côte d'Ivoire, in a 3–2 loss.[28]

Still an automatic choice under new national manager Javier Clemente, his form took a dip. On 24 March 2007, Žigić received a red card during the Euro 2008 qualifying match against Kazakhstan, seconds before the end of the game. This caused him to miss the home game against Portugal.[citation needed] He also missed the match against Finland on 2 June 2007 after surgery on a facial injury received on 27 May.[29]

Also playing a crucial role during the 2010 World Cup qualifiers partnering up with Marko Pantelić scoring three important goals on the way to Serbia's first qualification of a major tournament as an independent nation.

He represented his country in the 2010 World Cup. On 17 November 2010, he scored the winning goal against Bulgaria in a friendly match, which was held in Sofia, but was sent off for a second yellow card shortly before the conclusion of the game. Also scoring three goals in Euro 2012 qualifiers against Faroe islands, Slovenia and Estonia. Žigić was appointed captain of the national team when Dejan Stanković and Nemanja Vidić retired from international football after Serbia failed to qualify for Euro 2012.[30] He captained the team in friendly defeats to Mexico and Honduras in 2011, but, as of June 2014, has not featured for his country since.[2]

Career statistics[edit]

Club[edit]

As of end of 2013–14 season
Club statistics
Club Season League National Cup League Cup Other Total
Division Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
AIK Bačka Topola 1998–99[2] Serbian League Vojvodina 14 8 14 8
1999–2000[2] Serbian League Vojvodina 28 28 28 28
2000–01[2] Serbian League Vojvodina 30 30 30 30
2001–02[2] Serbian League Vojvodina 4 2 4 2
AIK Bačka Topola total 76 68 76 68
Mornar 2001–02[2] Second League of FR Yugoslavia 23 15 23 15
FK Kolubara 2002–03[2] Serbian League Belgrade 8 3 8 3
Spartak Subotica 2002–03[2] Serbian League Vojvodina 11 14 11 14
Red Star Belgrade 2003–04[2][31] First League of Serbia and Montenegro 28 19 5[b] 6 33 25
2004–05[2][32][33] First League of Serbia and Montenegro 25 15 5[c] 3 30 18
2005–06[2][34] Serbia and Montenegro SuperLiga 23 11 7[b] 6 30 17
2006–07[2][35] Serbian SuperLiga 3 2 0 0 4[d] 2 7 4
Red Star Belgrade total 79 47 21 17 100 64
Racing Santander 2006–07[36] La Liga 32 11 1 0 33 11
Valencia 2007–08[37] La Liga 15 1 3 4 3[d] 0 21 5
2008–09[38] La Liga 0 0 2 1 3[b] 2 5 3
2009–10[39] La Liga 13 4 4 3 9[e] 2 26 9
Valencia total 28 5 9 8 15 4 52 17
Racing Santander (loan) 2008–09[38] La Liga 19 13 19 13
Birmingham City 2010–11[40] Premier League 25 5 2 0 7 3 34 8
2011–12[41] Championship 35 11 1 0 1 0 6[f] 1 43 12
2012–13[42] Championship 35 9 1 0 0 0 36 9
2013–14[43] Championship 33 7[a] 1 0 1 0 35 7
Birmingham City total 128 32[a] 5 0 9 3 6 1 148 36
Career total 404 208[a] 15 8 9 3 42 22 470 241
  1. ^ a b c d Birmingham's goal in the 2–1 defeat to Bolton Wanderers on 5 October, originally credited to Žigić, was retrospectively awarded to Lee Novak.[44]
  2. ^ a b c Appearance(s) in UEFA Cup
  3. ^ Three appearances three goals in UEFA Champions League, two appearances in UEFA Cup
  4. ^ a b Appearance(s) in UEFA Champions League
  5. ^ Appearance(s) in UEFA Europa League
  6. ^ Five appearances in UEFA Europa League, one appearance one goal in Football League play-offs

International[edit]

Serbian national team[2]
Year Apps Goals
2004 1 0
2005 9 3
2006 9 4
2007 7 4
2008 7 2
2009 8 3
2010 12 4
2011 4 0
Total 57 20

International goals[edit]

As of match played 15 November 2011[2]
Goal Date Venue Opponent Score Result Competition
1. 8 June 2005 Rogers Centre, Toronto, Canada  Italy 1–0 1–1 Friendly
2. 15 August 2005 Lobanovsky Dynamo Stadium, Kiev, Ukraine  Poland 1–1 3–2 Friendly
3. 13 November 2005 Nanjing Olympic Sports Center, Nanjing, China  China PR 0–2 0–2 Friendly
4. 21 June 2006 Allianz Arena, Munich, Germany  Ivory Coast 0–1 3–2 2006 World Cup
5. 2 September 2006 Stadion Crvena Zvezda, Beograd, Serbia  Azerbaijan 1–0 1–0 Euro 2008 qualifying
6. 7 October 2006 Stadion Crvena Zvezda, Beograd, Serbia  Belgium 1–0 1–0 Euro 2008 qualifying
7. 11 October 2006 Stadion Crvena Zvezda, Beograd, Serbia  Armenia 3–0 3–0 Euro 2008 qualifying
8. 24 March 2007 Almaty Central Stadium, Almaty, Kazakhstan  Kazakhstan 2–1 2–1 Euro 2008 qualifying
9. 17 October 2007 Tofik Bakhramov Stadium, Baku, Azerbaijan  Azerbaijan 0–2 1–6 Euro 2008 qualifying
10. 17 October 2007 Tofik Bakhramov Stadium, Baku, Azerbaijan  Azerbaijan 1–4 1–6 Euro 2008 qualifying
11. 21 November 2007 Stadion Crvena Zvezda, Beograd, Serbia  Poland 1–2 2–2 Euro 2008 qualifying
12. 6 September 2008 Stadion Crvena Zvezda, Beograd, Serbia  Faroe Islands 2–0 2–0 2010 World Cup qualification
13. 11 October 2008 Stadion Crvena Zvezda, Beograd, Serbia  Lithuania 3–0 3–0 2010 World Cup qualification
14. 1 April 2009 Stadion Partizan, Beograd, Serbia  Sweden 1–0 2–0 Friendly
15. 10 October 2009 Stadion Crvena Zvezda, Beograd, Serbia  Romania 1–0 5–0 2010 World Cup qualification
16. 18 November 2009 Craven Cottage, London, England  South Korea 0–1 0–1 Friendly
17. 3 September 2010 Tórsvøllur, Tórshavn, Faroe Islands  Faroe Islands 0–3 0–3 Euro 2012 qualifying
18. 7 September 2010 Stadion Crvena Zvezda, Beograd, Serbia  Slovenia 1–1 1–1 Euro 2012 qualifying
19. 8 October 2010 Stadion Partizan, Beograd, Serbia  Estonia 1–0 1–3 Euro 2012 qualifying
20. 17 November 2010 Vasil Levski National Stadium, Sofia, Bulgaria  Bulgaria 0–1 0–1 Friendly

Honours[edit]

Red Star

Valencia

Birmingham City

Individual

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Premier League clubs submit squad lists". Premier League. 1 September 2010. Retrieved 6 November 2010. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p "Žigić Nikola" (in Serbian). reprezentacija.rs. Retrieved 18 June 2013. 
  3. ^ "Nikola Žigić". UEFA. Retrieved 1 June 2010. 
  4. ^ Žigić hat-trick earns Racing 5–4 win over Bilbao; Reuters, 1 April 2007
  5. ^ Valencia keen on Zigic stay; Sky Sports, 30 December 2007
  6. ^ O'Neill denies interest in Zigic; BBC Sport, 22 July 2008
  7. ^ Blackburn weigh up double swoop; BBC Sport, 19 August 2008
  8. ^ Nicola Zigic cayó en la red (Nikola Žigić fell in the net); El Diario Montañés, 30 December 2008 (Spanish)
  9. ^ Žigić heads back to Racing on loan; UEFA.com, 30 December 2008
  10. ^ "Serbia striker Nikola Zigic and Tottenham's £10m-rated Darren Bent top the bill for new Sunderland boss Steve Bruce". Daily Mail. 25 June 2009. Retrieved 15 July 2009. 
  11. ^ "Birmingham seal signing of giant striker Nikola Zigic". BBC Sport. 26 May 2010. Retrieved 30 May 2010. 
  12. ^ Lansley, Peter (27 May 2010). "Alex McLeish planning big things after £6m signing of giant Nikola Zigic". The Times. Retrieved 30 May 2010. 
  13. ^ "Blues fight back for draw". Sky Sports. 14 August 2010. Retrieved 13 September 2010. 
  14. ^ Ward, Les (16 August 2010). "Bent marks card for Cattermole after captain's loss of discipline". The Independent. Retrieved 13 September 2010. 
  15. ^ "Birmingham 3–1 MK Dons". BBC Sport. 22 September 2010. Retrieved 23 September 2010. 
  16. ^ Sheringham, Sam (16 October 2010). "Arsenal 2–1 Birmingham". BBC Sport. Retrieved 16 October 2010. 
  17. ^ McNulty, Phil (1 December 2010). "Birmingham 2–1 Aston Villa". BBC Sport. Retrieved 3 December 2010. 
  18. ^ McNulty, Philip (27 February 2011). "Arsenal 1–2 Birmingham". BBC Sport. Retrieved 28 February 2011. 
  19. ^ Tattum, Colin (26 May 2011). "Colin Tattum reviews Birmingham City's season and asks: How did it go so wrong?". Birmingham Mail. Retrieved 2 June 2011. 
  20. ^ "Birmingham 1–0 Leeds". BBC Sport. 26 October 2011. Retrieved 27 October 2011. 
  21. ^ "Leeds 1–4 Birmingham". BBC Sport. 31 January 2012. Retrieved 31 January 2012. 
  22. ^ "Birmingham 1–1 Charlton". BBC Sport. 18 August 2012. Retrieved 14 September 2012. 
  23. ^ "Nikola Zigic dropped by Birmingham after 'worst training session ever'". guardian.co.uk. Press Association. 15 February 2013. Retrieved 15 February 2013. 
  24. ^ "N. Žigić". Soccerway. Global Sports Media. 15 February 2013. Archived from the original on 15 February 2013. 
  25. ^ Walker, Andy (15 February 2013). "Zigic set challenge". Birmingham City F.C. Retrieved 15 February 2013. 
  26. ^ "Bolton 2–2 Birmingham". BBC Sport. 3 May 2014. Retrieved 4 May 2014. 
  27. ^ "Farewell to Ziggy and urke". Birmingham City F.C. 1 July 2014. Retrieved 1 July 2014. 
  28. ^ Ivorian comeback shocks Serbians; UEFA.com, 21 June 2006
  29. ^ Serbia's Žigić to miss Euro 2008 qualifier in Finland. He scored 7 goals during the Euro 2008 qualifiers.; Reuters, 28 May 2007
  30. ^ Žigić zadužuje kapitensku traku (Žigić takes the captain's armband); reprezentacija.rs (in Serbian), 5 November 2011. Retrieved 19 December 2011.
  31. ^ "2003/04 UEFA Cup: FK Crvena Zvezda: Top goalscorers". UEFA. Retrieved 23 December 2013. 
  32. ^ "UEFA Champions League 2004/05: FK Crvena Zvezda: Top goalscorers". UEFA. Retrieved 23 December 2013. 
  33. ^ "2004/05 UEFA Cup: FK Crvena Zvezda: Matches". UEFA. Retrieved 23 December 2013. 
  34. ^ "2005/06 UEFA Cup: FK Crvena Zvezda: Top goalscorers". UEFA. Retrieved 23 December 2013. 
  35. ^ "UEFA Champions League 2006/07: FK Crvena Zvezda: Top goalscorers". UEFA. Retrieved 23 December 2013. 
  36. ^ "Zigic: Nikola Zigic: 2006–07". BDFutbol. Retrieved 19 December 2013. 
  37. ^ "Zigic: Nikola Zigic: 2007–08". BDFutbol. Retrieved 19 December 2013. 
  38. ^ a b "Zigic: Nikola Zigic: 2008–09". BDFutbol. Retrieved 19 December 2013. 
  39. ^ "Zigic: Nikola Zigic: 2009–10". BDFutbol. Retrieved 19 December 2013. 
  40. ^ "Games played by Nikola Zigic in 2010/2011". Soccerbase. Centurycomm. Retrieved 17 December 2013. 
  41. ^ "Games played by Nikola Zigic in 2011/2012". Soccerbase. Centurycomm. Retrieved 17 December 2013. 
  42. ^ "Games played by Nikola Zigic in 2012/2013". Soccerbase. Centurycomm. Retrieved 17 December 2013. 
  43. ^ "Games played by Nikola Zigic in 2013/2014". Soccerbase. Centurycomm. Retrieved 4 May 2014. 
  44. ^ "Credit goes to Novak". Birmingham City F.C. 9 October 2013. Retrieved 21 October 2013. 

External links[edit]

Sporting positions
Preceded by
Dejan Stanković
Serbia captain
2011
Succeeded by
Branislav Ivanović