Ljajić with Roma in 2014
|Full name||Adem Ljajić|
|Date of birth||29 September 1991|
|Place of birth||Novi Pazar, SFR Yugoslavia|
|Height||1.82 m (6 ft 0 in)|
|Playing position||Attacking midfielder|
|2015–2016||→ Internazionale (loan)||25||(3)|
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 13 May 2018|
‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 27 June 2018
Adem Ljajić (Serbian Cyrillic: Адем Љајић, pronounced [ǎːdem ʎǎːjitɕ]; born 29 September 1991) is a Serbian professional footballer who plays as an attacking midfielder for Italian club Torino and the Serbian national team.
Ljajić began his career with FK Jošanica, and later Partizan, with whom he made his debut in the Serbian SuperLiga and UEFA Champions League. In January 2010, he was set to join England's Manchester United, but the club withdrew its 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. In July 2016, he was sold to Torino.
Born in Novi Pazar, in the Serbian region of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, Ljajić joined Partizan at age 14 in 2005, signing from Serbian lower tier club FK 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.
In October 2008, Manchester United had given Ljajić a trial, although no information was given about the length of the trial initially. On 2 January 2009, Manchester United announced the signings of both Ljajić and his Partizan teammate, 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 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 teammate 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.
Ljajić signed with Roma 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 chose the number 8 jersey, left vacant by Érik Lamela, which he also used with the Serbia national team. On 1 September 2013, Ljajić made his Roma debut against Hellas Verona, replacing Alessandro Florenzi; Ljajić scored the final goal in 3–0 win. In his first season in Rome, he scored 6 goals in 32 appearances.
On 30 August 2014, Ljajić made his 2014–15 season debut against Fiorentina, a 2–0 win for the Giallorossi. On 24 September, he scored his first goal of the season against Parma, a 2–1 Roma victory. On 6 December, he scored his first brace for Roma, which allowed Roma to come back and draw the home match against Sassuolo, which finished 2–2. On 26 February 2015, he scored his first goal in the UEFA Europa League for the club, the opener in a 2–1 win away to Feyenoord. He concluded the season with 41 appearances and 9 goals, making him the club's second-highest goalscorer of the season, after Francesco Totti.
Loan to Internazionale
On 31 August 2015, Ljajić signed for Internazionale on a season-long loan, for €1.75 million, with an option to make the transfer permanent at the end of the season for €11 million. On 1 December 2015, he scored his first goal for Inter in a 2–1 away loss to Napoli.
Ljajić represented the Serbia under-17 and under-19 teams. On 7 September 2008, he made his international debut for the under-21 squad in a European Championship qualification match against Hungary. 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 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 require players to sing the national anthem but to give their all for their country on the field. He scored his first goal for the senior side on 7 June 2015 in a 4–1 friendly win against Azerbaijan.
- As of end of 2017–18 season
- As of 27 June 2018
- "Score" and "Result" columns list Serbia's goals first.
|1.||7 June 2015||NV Arena, Sankt Pölten, Austria||Azerbaijan||2–1||4–1||Friendly|
|2.||4 September 2015||Karađorđe Stadium, Novi Sad, Serbia||Armenia||2–0||2–0||UEFA Euro 2016 qualifying|
|3.||8 October 2015||Elbasan Arena, Elbasan, Albania||Albania||2–0||2–0|
|4.||10 November 2017||Tianhe Stadium, Guangzhou, China||China PR||1–0||2–0||Friendly|
|5.||14 November 2017||Ulsan Munsu Football Stadium, Ulsan, South Korea||South Korea||1–0||1–1|
|6.||9 June 2018||Liebenauer Stadium, Graz, Austria||Bolivia||2–0||5–1|
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- UEFA Champions League – Fixtures & Results
- Papers: Reds eye 'Little Kaka'?
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