After three goals - including two unbelievable free-kicks - over 48 hours in the Hyundai A-League and Westfield FFA Cup, everyone's talking about the gloriously talented "Nebo". But who is he?
Name: Nebojsa Marinkovic
Born: Knjaževac, Serbia
Position: Attacking Midfielder
National Team: Serbia and Montenegro U-17, Serbia and Montenegro U-19, Serbia U-21
He’s scored two stunning free-kicks in the space of 48 hours and played a leading role in Perth Glory’s rise to the top of the Hyundai A-League and final of the Westfield FFA Cup.
But not many outside of Perth Glory have really sat up and taken notice of Serbian midfielder Nebojsa Marinkovic…until now that is.
Marinkovic may be a relatively new name on the lips of Hyundai A-League fans but he has a superb football pedigree.
He was born in the eastern Serbian town of Knjazevac, in the region bordering Bulgaria and grew up playing football in the streets with younger brother Nenad, who is also now a professional player at Partizan Belgrade.
Marinkovic’s first big break came when he joined the youth system at renowned Belgrade club FK Partizan.
Set-piece ability, especially free-kicks and we have seen this week, have always been a strength of the classy playmaker and he would spend hours on the training fields refining his technique.
That dedication and desire paid off in 2004 when at just 17, he signed his first professional contract with the club.
While he couldn’t break into the Partizan first time immediately, Marinkovic got some valuable experience going out on loan to smaller clubs before coming back to his parent club for the 2006-07 season.
And that’s when they saw his best, finishing that season as the club’s leading scorer with 14 goals in all competitions.
In 2010, the former Serbian under-21 international decided to move abroad and joined Israeli club Maccabi Petah Tikva.
He spent four years in the country – also having stints at Hapoel Acre and Hapoel Haifa – scoring 20 times in 99 games.
Then in January this year, Marinkovic signed with the Glory and scored his first goal for the club in the 2-1 win over Newcastle Jets a couple of months later.
Marinkovic seems to have benefitted from a full pre-season under Kenny Lowe and has started the new campaign in fantastic form, which augurs well for Glory fans and should send out a warning to all their Hyundai A-League rivals.
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