Rajković with Serbia in 2008.
|Full name||Slobodan Rajković|
|Date of birth||3 February 1989|
|Place of birth||Belgrade, SFR Yugoslavia|
|Height||1.91 m (6 ft 3 in)|
|Playing position||Centre back|
|2007–2008||→ PSV (loan)||13||(0)|
|2008–2010||→ Twente (loan)||23||(1)|
|2010–2011||→ Vitesse (loan)||24||(0)|
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 12 February 2019|
‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 5 June 2017
Born in Belgrade, Rajković started his career with OFK Beograd. He was included in the club's first team at the age of 15. During his second season in the first team, Rajković's reputation grew so such that in November 2005, English Premier League club Chelsea decided to pay €2 million for the 16-year-old centre-half.
Under the terms of the deal, Rajković stayed at OFK Beograd as a loaned player from Chelsea until the end of the 2006–07 Serbian SuperLiga season.
Loans to Eredivisie
After the year-long loan spell at PSV, the Dutch club wanted to extend the loan period for another year, but Chelsea declined due to the lack of playing time Rajković was receiving in his season at Eindhoven. Rajković, however, returned to the Eredivisie On 9 July 2008, joining Twente on a one-year loan deal.
Having returned to Chelsea prior to the 2011–12 season at the request of new manager André Villas-Boas, Rajković played his first game in a Chelsea shirt in a friendly against Wycombe Wanderers on 12 July 2011 at Chelsea's Cobham Training Centre. He played the second half and scored his side's third goal, volleying home a Yuri Zhirkov corner.
Four years after signing for Chelsea, Rajković still remained ineligible for either a work permit or an EU passport, precluding his ability to play in matches open to the public (hence why he played in the closed door game with Wycombe, but could not play against Portsmouth). However, he finally made his debut in a pre-season friendly game against a Malaysian XI, in which he played the whole of the first half. He also played against Kitchee SC in the 2011 Barclays Asia Trophy in Hong Kong.
On 23 August 2011, Rajković joined German Bundesliga club Hamburger SV from Chelsea on a four-year deal for €2 million. He did not manage to secure the starter's position in his four years at the club, making only 46 appearances in all competitions.
By the age of 16, Rajković was a regular in the Serbia under-21 national team, later becoming the youngest player ever to appear in a qualifying match of the UEFA European Under-21 Football Championship. On 17 June 2007, during the 2007 UEFA European Under-21 Football Championship, which the Serbia U21 team eventually finished as runners-up in, Rajković was part of a controversial second goal for England. He was lying on the ground, injured, and while Serbian players expected their rivals would kick the ball out of the field, Matt Derbyshire went on against a bewildered Serbian defence to score the second goal of the night for England, provoking a turbulent reaction from the Serbian players. Rajković was called for a national team match in 2016, after more than two years.
Style of play
Rajković is known as a highly aggressive player. After his arrival to Hamburger SV, he stated in an interview, "I like to play more aggressive than the referees like."
- As of 5 May 2018
|Serbia national team|
- "Blues to place defender at PSV". jesternix.net. Archived from the original on 11 December 2008.
- "FC Twente huurt Rajkovic van Chelsea" (in Dutch). FC Twente. 9 July 2008. Retrieved 13 January 2013.
- "FC Twente huurt Rajkovic opnieuw". FC Twente (in Dutch). 17 June 2009. Retrieved 13 January 2013.
- "Op weg naar Vitesse: Rajkovic en Matic" (in Dutch). Vitesse. 23 August 2010. Retrieved 13 January 2013.
- "MATCH REPORT: CHELSEA 3 WYCOMBE WANDERERS 0". Chelsea FC. 12 July 2011. Archived from the original on 15 February 2013. Retrieved 13 January 2013.
- "Raj has been Slobbing around". London: The Sun. 17 July 2011. Retrieved 18 July 2011.
- "Lilien verstärken sich mit Slobodan Rajkovic" (in German). sv98.de. 29 September 2015. Archived from the original on 1 October 2015. Retrieved 29 September 2015.
- In May 2010, Rajković was called up to the Serbia senior team for the first time when he was announced in the nation's preliminary 30-man squad for the upcoming 2010 FIFA World Cup. U21 Championship: Facts and figures by UEFA Archived 10 July 2006 at the Wayback Machine
- "Posle dve i po godine Slobodan Rajković se vraća u reprezentaciju". mozzartsport.com (in Serbian). 15 March 2016. Retrieved 15 March 2016.
- "S.Rajković". Soccerway. Retrieved 11 October 2016.
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