Aleksandar Mitrović (footballer)

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Aleksandar Mitrović
Mitro 2015.jpg
Mitrović playing for Newcastle United in 2015
Personal information
Full name Aleksandar Mitrović[1]
Date of birth (1994-09-16) 16 September 1994 (age 23)[2]
Place of birth Smederevo, FR Yugoslavia
Height 1.89 m (6 ft 2 in)[2]
Playing position Striker
Club information
Current team
Newcastle United
Number 45
Youth career
2005–2011 Partizan
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
2011–2012 Teleoptik 25 (7)
2012–2013 Partizan 28 (13)
2013–2015 Anderlecht 69 (36)
2015– Newcastle United 65 (14)
2018 Fulham (loan) 17 (12)
National team
2011–2013 Serbia U19 13 (5)
2013–2017 Serbia U21 5 (4)
2013– Serbia 38 (16)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 23:35, 4 June 2018 (UTC)
‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 20:55, 17 June 2018 (UTC)

Aleksandar Mitrović (Serbian Cyrillic: Александар Митровић, pronounced [aleksǎːndar mǐtroʋitɕ, alěksaːn-]; born 16 September 1994) is a Serbian professional footballer who plays as a striker for Premier League club Newcastle United and the Serbia national team. At the age of 18, Mitrović was named among the top 10 talents under the age of 19 in Europe by a selection of UEFA reporters.[3]

A youth product at Partizan, he turned professional after a loan at Teleoptik, and was a regular as they won the Serbian SuperLiga in his first season. He then joined Anderlecht for a club record €5 million, and scored 44 goals in 90 games across all competitions in a two-season spell. He won the Belgian Pro League in his first campaign at the club, and was the league's top scorer in his second. In 2015, he moved to Newcastle United for £13 million.

Mitrović helped Serbia win the 2013 European Under-19 Championship, being voted the best player of the tournament. Since that year, he has also been a senior international player, earning over 30 caps.

Club career[edit]

Early years[edit]

Born in Smederevo, a boyhood Newcastle United fan from the age of eight,[4][5] Mitrović came to Partizan and went through the youth system of the club. Before being promoted to the first team, he made his senior debut with their affiliated side Teleoptik in the 2011–12 season, scoring seven goals in 25 league matches.

Partizan[edit]

On 27 June 2012, together with two Teleoptik teammates, Mitrović signed his first professional contract with Partizan, on a four-year deal.[6] He made his official debut for the club in a Champions League qualifier against Maltese side Valletta, scoring a goal nine minutes after coming on as a substitute.[7] On 23 August 2012, Mitrović scored a header against Tromsø in the Europa League play-off round. Three days later, he scored his first league goal in a home fixture against Jagodina. On 17 November 2012, Mitrović scored the opening goal in his first ever Eternal derby, which Partizan eventually lost 3–2. Five days later, he also scored in a 1–1 away draw with Azerbaijani side Neftchi Baku during the Europa League group stage.[8] By the end of his debut season, Mitrović was Partizan's top scorer in all competitions with 15 goals in 36 appearances even though he was one of the youngest players of the team.[9] Due to his displays, he earned a place in Jelen SuperLiga's Team of the Season selection.[10] Additionally, Serbian sports portal Mozzart Sport rated Mitrović third of 25 best players in the national league for that season.[11]

Anderlecht[edit]

Mitrović in 2014

On 12 August 2013, after much speculation, it was announced that Mitrović was sold to Anderlecht and that he would join the Belgian club on 30 August at the request of the player and his family.[12] The transfer fee was €5 million,[13] which is Anderlecht's record signing fee. On 1 September, Mitrović provided two assists on his debut for the club after coming on as a substitute at the beginning of the second half in a league match against Zulte Waregem.

On 10 December 2013, in the last round of the Champions League Group C against Olympiacos, Mitrović replaced[14] goalkeeper Silvio Proto who had been sent off, but failed to save a penalty from Alejandro Domínguez.[15]

Mitrović ended his debut season in Belgium with 16 league goals as Anderlecht won their 33rd league title.[16]

Mitrović began the 2014–15 season by scoring in Anderlecht's 2–1 Super Cup defeat of K.S.C. Lokeren.[17] On 5 November 2014, he scored an equalizing goal in the 90th minute in the UEFA Champions League versus Arsenal, completing Anderlecht's comeback from 3–0 to 3–3.[18] Overall, he scored 20 goals in the Pro League, making him the competition's top scorer, and 28 in all competitions.[16] On 22 March 2015, he scored the team's only goal in the 2–1 Belgian Cup Final loss to Club Brugge KV in Brussels.[19]

Newcastle United[edit]

Mitrović preparing for his Newcastle debut. He was booked 22 seconds later.

On 21 July 2015, Mitrović joined Newcastle United on a five-year deal for a reported £13 million, saying he hoped to be able to play like club legend Alan Shearer.[20][21] He made his debut on 9 August as Newcastle began the season with a 2–2 draw against Southampton at St James' Park, playing the final 15 minutes in place of Papiss Cissé. He was booked 22 seconds into his debut for a foul on Matt Targett.[22] Twenty days later, he was sent off in the 15th minute of a 0–1 home defeat to Arsenal for a foul on Francis Coquelin.[23]

Mitrović scored his first Newcastle goal on 3 October away to Manchester City, opening the scoring in a 6–1 loss.[24] In his next game, he netted the fourth goal in the team's first win of the season, a 6–2 home thrashing of Norwich City.[25] He scored his third goal on 13 December in an away game against Tottenham Hotspur, equalising in a 1–2 win two minutes after coming on as a substitute for Cissé.[26]

He won and converted a penalty in a 3–3 draw against Manchester United on 12 January 2016.[27] On 20 March, he headed the equaliser in a 1–1 draw against arch-rivals Sunderland in the Tyne–Wear derby. Mitrović was booked for taking off his shirt in celebration, and a fan who ran onto the pitch to celebrate with him was given a banning order.[28]

On 2 April, Mitrović scored two goals, one from a penalty, in a 3–2 defeat to Norwich City.[29] On the final day of the season, and with Newcastle United already relegated, Mitrović scored the second goal in a 5–1 win over third-place Tottenham Hotspur, but was also sent off for a shin-high challenge on Kyle Walker.[30] He is the sixth player in Premier League history to score a goal, assist a goal and get sent off in the same match.[31]

After being suspended for the first four matches of the season as punishment for his red card against Tottenham Hotspur at the end of the previous season,[32] Mitrović made his season debut in the EFL Cup against Cheltenham on 23 August, but was forced off with a head injury in the first half.[33] As a result, Mitrović had to wait until 13 September to make his Championship debut, scoring his first goal of the 2016–17 season at Queens Park Rangers, with the fifth goal in a 6–0 win.[34] On 25 October, he bagged a brace and an assist in a 6–0 win over Preston North End, as the Magpies advanced to the EFL Cup quarter-finals.[35][36] That weekend, Mitrović received his first league start since the match at Deepdale, and against the same opposition, Mitrović again scored a brace in a 2–1 win.[37] Despite losing playing time to summer signing Dwight Gayle, Mitrović remained positive, saying "maybe last season I played more, but we are in good shape", as Newcastle arrived at the top of the table on 18 October.[38]

On 7 January 2017, Mitrović started the FA Cup third round match against Birmingham City, but was injured in the buildup to the opening goal, scored by Daryl Murphy.[39] On 11 February, Mitrović scored the only goal in a win over Wolverhampton Wanderers. However, he was substituted at half-time as a precaution, as he had been booked earlier in the match and could have been sent off for a challenge on Carl Ikeme.[40]

On 23 August, Mitrović scored the first goal of the 2017–18 season, opening the scoring in what would be an eventual extra-time loss to Nottingham Forest in the EFL Cup.[41] Three days later, Mitrović netted again with the third goal in a 3–0 win over West Ham United.[42] On 30 August, he was suspended for three matches, after an elbow to the head of Manuel Lanzini was picked up by television cameras.[43] On 21 October, Mitrović returned to the matchday squad in an eventual 1–0 win over Crystal Palace, having been left out for the previous two matches after his suspension. He came on as a 78th minute substitute for Joselu to what was described as a "still surprising heroes welcome", but his first touch almost allowed Palace's Ruben Loftus-Cheek to take the lead for the visitors.[44][45] In mid-December, Mitrović was ruled out with a back injury,[46] which would sideline him for rest of the month and the following January. Towards the end of December, Mitrović stated in the Serbian sports daily Žurnal that he expected to leave the club in the January transfer window "to find the best solution for my career".[47]

Fulham (loan)[edit]

On 1 February 2018, Mitrović joined Fulham on loan until the end of the season.[48] In the build up to deadline day, Mitrović was poised to join Bordeaux and then former club Anderlecht, but both moves broke down, and after a discussion with fellow Serb Slaviša Jokanović, he decided to join Fulham.[49] On 3 February, Mitrović made his debut for the West London club in a 2–0 win over Nottingham Forest, and almost scored, but his headed effort was cleared off the line by Joe Worrall. Mitrovic scored his first goal for the club in a 1–1 draw with Bristol City on 21 February. He then scored in the next 4 consecutive games, scoring once against Wolves and Derby and twice against both Sheffield United and Preston, taking his overall tally for Fulham to 7 in 8 games.[50] On 3 April, he scored once again in the 63rd minute to put Fulham 2–0 up against Leeds.[51] This was followed by another goal in the following game against Sheffield Wednesday to put Fulham 1–0 in the 78th minute.[52]

International career[edit]

Youth[edit]

With four goals, Mitrović was the top scorer of the Serbian national under-19 team in their successful qualifying campaign for the 2012 UEFA European Under-19 Championship. On 3 July 2012, the opening day of the final tournament, he was sent off during a match against France U19, which caused him to miss the rest of the competition due to suspension. On 26 March 2013, Mitrović scored two goals in a friendly for Serbia's U21 team against Bulgaria U21.[53]

Mitrović was called up by Serbia's U19 coach Ljubinko Drulović for two qualification matches for the 2013 UEFA European Under-19 Championship taking place after his debut with the senior national side against Belgium.[54] Mitrović was also a member of the squad that traveled to Lithuania for the final tournament, where he established himself as one of the key players in Serbia's U19 team which won the competition for the first time in the history of Serbian football. He contributed by scoring a goal and providing two assists during the contest (including one in the final match against France U19.[55] Also, Mitrović was named the tournament's Golden Player for his performances.[56]

Senior[edit]

Mitrović earned his first call up to the Serbian senior national team by coach Siniša Mihajlović for a 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifier against Belgium.[57] He played 69 minutes on his debut on 7 June 2013 and earned a yellow card after stepping on Axel Witsel's foot, before being substituted for Marko Šćepović.[58] On 6 September, Mitrović scored his first goal for the senior side in a 1–1 home draw against Croatia in another World Cup qualifier.[59] Two years and a day later, he scored his next international goal, the consolation in a 2–1 friendly defeat to France at the Nouveau Stade de Bordeaux, Serbia's 100th match as an independent nation.[60]

In the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifiers, Mitrović scored three goals in two matches to ensure Serbia were still in contention to qualify from their group. On 9 October 2016, he scored a brace in a 3–2 win against Austria,[61] and on 12 November, he scored the equaliser against Wales in a 1–1 draw.[62] He continued this scoring run in 2017, with goals against Georgia,[63] Wales,[64] and Moldova,[65] putting him ahead of teammate Dušan Tadić as the group's top goalscorer.

In May 2018 he was named in Serbia's preliminary squad for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.[66]

Personal life[edit]

With his partner Kristina, Mitrović has a son, named Luka.[67] He is a lifelong supporter of both Partizan and Newcastle United.[38][4][5]

Career statistics[edit]

Club[edit]

As of end of 2017–18 season[68]
Club statistics
Club Season League National Cup Europe Other Total
Division Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Teleoptik 2011–12 Serbian First League 25 7 1 0 26 7
Partizan 2012–13 Serbian SuperLiga 25 10 2 2 9 3 36 15
2013–14 3 3 0 0 3 0 6 3
Total 28 13 2 2 12 3 42 18
Anderlecht 2013–14 Belgian Pro League 32 16 1 0 6 0 0 0 39 16
2014–15 37 20 6 4 7 3 1 1 51 28
Total 69 36 7 4 13 3 1 1 90 44
Newcastle United 2015–16 Premier League 34 9 1 0 1 0 36 9
2016–17 Championship 25 4 2 0 2 2 29 6
2017–18 Premier League 6 1 0 0 1 1 7 2
Total 65 14 3 0 4 3 72 17
Fulham (loan) 2017–18 Championship 17 12 3 0 20 12
Career total 204 82 13 6 25 6 8 4 250 98

International[edit]

As of match played 17 June 2018[69]
National team Year Apps Goals
Serbia
2013 3 1
2014 7 0
2015 8 1
2016 8 5
2017 7 4
2018 5 5
Total 38 16

International goals[edit]

As of match played 9 June 2018[69]
No. Date Venue Cap Opponent Score Result Competition
1 6 September 2013 Red Star Stadium, Belgrade, Serbia 3  Croatia 1–1 1–1 2014 FIFA World Cup qualification
2 7 September 2015 Nouveau Stade de Bordeaux, Bordeaux, France 15  France 1–2 1–2 Friendly
3 25 May 2016 Užice City Stadium, Užice, Serbia 20  Cyprus 1–0 2–1
4 5 June 2016 Stade Louis II, Fontvieille, Monaco 22  Russia 1–1 1–1
5 9 October 2016 Rajko Mitić Stadium, Belgrade, Serbia 24  Austria 1–0 3–2 2018 FIFA World Cup qualification
6 2–1
7 12 November 2016 Cardiff City Stadium, Cardiff, Wales 25  Wales 1–1 1–1
8 24 March 2017 Boris Paichadze Dinamo Arena, Tbilisi, Georgia 27  Georgia 2–1 3–1
9 11 June 2017 Rajko Mitić Stadium, Belgrade, Serbia 28  Wales 1–1 1–1
10 2 September 2017 Partizan Stadium, Belgrade, Serbia 29  Moldova 3–0 3–0
11 10 November 2017 Tianhe Stadium, Guangzhou, China 33  China PR 2–0 2–0 Friendly
12 27 March 2018 The Hive Stadium, London, England 35  Nigeria 1–0 2–0
13 2–0
14 9 June 2018 Liebenauer Stadium, Graz, Austria 37  Bolivia 1–0 5–1
15 3–0
16 5–1

Honours[edit]

Partizan

Anderlecht

Newcastle United

Fulham

Serbia U19

Individual

References[edit]

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External links[edit]