Vlahovic doesn’t listen to you – AS.com

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Dusan Vlahovic (Belgrade, January 28, 2000) is a predestined. It is almost written on his square, serious, defiant face, and he does not fail to show it with the facts. Only someone who has enormous things in his destiny appears in a great team like Juventus, as he did when he was only 22 years old. He was received with an illusion that they had not felt in Turin since Cristiano’s arrival and it took him 13 minutes to show that all these expectations were well invested.

That was the time he needed to score his first goal as a bianconero, against Verona, with a precious Vaseline that drove the tifosi crazy. His debut in the Champions League was another message to the world: a fundamental goal 32 seconds into the clash with Villarreal. Only Alex Del Piero himself managed to make his debut with a goal from Juventino being younger in the European Cup.

The day before, Massimiliano Allegri tried to take the pressure off him, stating that he would have to be given time to adapt to a competition that he still did not know. Dusan ignored him and settled for less than a minute.

It is a constant in his career, in his life. His beginnings at Partizan Belgrade are another proof. Ivica Iliev, the club’s sports director, tells AS when he saw the forward for the first time. He remembers it perfectly: “It was November 2015, he had been sports director for a couple of weeks. I went to see a youth game and this amazing player showed up. It was not necessary to have great abilities to recognize his talent, at every step you could see that he was two, three years above the others. He was extraordinary.” What Vlahovic had at just 15 years old is everything we have appreciated about him now: “Speed, physicality, goalscoring instinct, work for the team, ability to score goals in any way… There are players who have two or three of these things and they are very good. He has them all and brings them together with a winning character. Being a kid he was already captain, he didn’t need the armband. He did not accept losing, and the team followed him”. Shortly after that game (and having scored 32 goals in 15 duels), Vlahovic signed his first contract as a professional and began to break one record after another.. He was the youngest from Partizan to make his league debut, in the ‘eternal derby’ with Red Star, to score a goal and finished the season by winning the Serbian Cup. Obviously, with his goal in the final against Javor Ivanjica.

In the following months the great ones of Europe began to look for him. “Everyone came to see him, the scout of a club top defined him as the best talent of his fifth”, recalls Iliev, “but Fiorentina was ahead of everyone. The clubs had a great relationship: they already signed Jovetic, Ljajic and they were closing Milenkovic. They know that those here are very good”.

The viola sports director at the time, Pantaleo Corvino, did not think twice. In 2017, to beat the competition, he met Dusan’s family, and then invited her to Milan. His mother warned him: “I’m giving the new Batistuta.” He replied: “I’ll settle for being the new Toni.” He cost him just 1.5 million, and there were those who criticized him “for occupying the last non-community position with a 17-year-old boy from the Primavera team.”


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Iliev knew from the moment he saw him “that he would end up very soon in a big European club”, but something still makes him sad: “If he had stayed one or two more years, he would have become our highest paid player of all time. He will be, along with Haaland, the best striker in the world for the next decade.”

His adaptation to Italy, however, was not easy. He had to be unemployed for a year due to bureaucratic problems and returned in 2018 in the spring. He immediately exploded by scoring 20 goals in 22 appearances. He was clearly too good for that category, and even then his personality showed. He won a ‘Coppa Italia Primavera’ with three goals in the two finals against Torino. One of them came with a penalty that he forced under the tifosi granata background, while he received racist insults (“zingaro di merda”, shitty gypsy). He silenced them by materializing it Panenka style.

Getting his place in the Fiorentina first team was the only thing in his career that forced him to be patient. With Pioli he never had space and had to wait for the summer of 2019, with Montella on the bench. Against Monza, in the Italian Cup, Fiore lost 0-1 and the ‘Aeroplanino’ put him in the last quarter of an hour, to reinforce the lead. In six minutes Vlahovic turned the scoreboard around, with two crossed left-footed shots typical of his repertoire.

The impact in that game did not help him gain prominence right away. Dusan had to adapt to football, that of Calcio, which is very demanding for forwards, improving his control of the ball and the speed of his decisions. Among the Primavera he dominated with his physique, but in Serie A that was not enough and in 17 games he did not score a single goal.

The first two came on a lousy day, the 5-2 loss at Cagliari’s stadium. A couple of weeks later, however, Vlahovic gave Italy a preview of what he was going to do in the future. A Fiore from four straight defeats received Conte’s Inter, who with Borja Valero applied the cruel law of the former. La Viola started from the start with Chiesa and Boateng up, and was unable to harm the Nerazzurri. In the last half hour, Dusan jumped onto the field, which changed the history of the match in the 92nd minute. He received the ball in the center of the field, very far from the goal, and started his career without looking at it, straight ahead. He reached the area and Skriniar only gave him a very complicated angle, almost on the left wing, which was enough to get a very powerful left-footed cross out of his hat that surprised Handanovic and earned the final 1-1. It was one of the most beautiful goals of the year, and the Serbian celebrated it by putting his hands to his ears, without moving. He had received a lot of criticism and this was his response: “I don’t listen to you.” His story will tell that he wasn’t lying.

The draw did not erase the crisis at La Fiore, which fell 4-1 to Roma at the Franchi the following day. It was the defeat that cost Vincenzo Montella the bench. It was December 2019 and, in his place, Giuseppe Iachini arrived, who would stay until 2021. There was a parenthesis, however, with Cesare Prandelli. The former coach replaced him between November 2020 and March 2021, when he resigned for personal reasons and announcing, with a letter, his possible and definitive goodbye to the bench. Those were probably the months that changed Vlahovic’s career.

In the 28 games after the great goal against Inter, the striker only scored four goals. Doubts about his talent returned, perhaps for the last time. Complicated months, in which the Serbian he took the advice of Franck Ribéry, who knows this. In an interview with ‘politika.rs’, Vlahovic revealed the face-to-face with the French: “We talked for hours. He said that he was very good and that my moment would have come, that I had to take advantage of every moment by training to the fullest, that time flies in football and suddenly it would have been too much afternoon”. Exercising alongside the former Bayern player, whose work culture is immense, helped him grow physically and technically. Confidence was given to him by Prandelli: “He told me that he was by my side even if he didn’t score goals. To encourage me, he chose me for penalties. In December I scored a goal against Sassuolo, one against Verona, and one against Juve. That’s where it all started.”

After these three games, nothing was like before. Vlahovic scored 40 goals in all ways in 52 games, the last ones in a Fiorentina shirt. His performance had exploded and the beautiful offensive game of Vincenzo Italiano, coach from this course, was the ideal habitat to express himself. He did it despite the increasingly insistent rumours. In the summer of 2021, Atlético de Madrid offered Fiorentina 70 million. Rocco Commisso refused, convinced that he would have found a way to renew his contract, which expired in 2023. He was wrong.


Goals in Serie A (2019-20, 20-21 and 21-22)

Goal chances after driving

Goals in Serie A (2019-20, 20-21 and 21-22)

Goal chances after driving

Goals in Serie A (2019-20, 20-21 and 21-22)

Goal chances after driving

There was never an agreement with Darko Ristic and his collaborators, and in October the president Viola announced that Vlahovic was on the market: “We made him an offer that would have made him the highest paid player in the club’s history (4 million net per season) , but they didn’t accept it”. There, little by little, the shadow of Juventus reappeared. For the Fiorentina tifosi it was a recurring nightmare. The most hated rival had already taken Baggio, Bernardeschi and Chiesa, and was back with another idol’s ‘yes, I want’ in his pocket.

Commisso, who came to define the agents as “dishonest and lying” for having declined any other proposal, had to agree with the Bianconeri. The Agnelli club disbursed 81 million plus ten in variables and fulfilled the wish of its president, who as soon as he signed Cristiano in 2018 stated: “We must sign the next Ronaldo, but when he is 25 years old.”

The Serbian arrived at Juve with 22, filling the void left by the Portuguese, and leaving a city infuriated. Florencia did not forgive him for his decision and the tifosi hung banners with the usual hateful racist insults, and even death threats: “The police will not save your life.”


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2021/22 season comparisons

Recovery

last third

Recovery

last third

Comparatives

2021/22 season

Recovery

last third

Recovery

last third

Vlahovic, who went from a salary of 800,000 euros to one of seven million net, left without looking back. He thanked the Fiore on the day of his presentation without rancor and began his new journey with the character that Iliev noticed since he was 15 years old. He inherited Cristiano’s 7 without any awe (“The important thing is how we play, the rest doesn’t interest me”) and lived up to expectations right away. Allegri put him in the center of a trident next to Dybala and Morata and said that he will be at the same level as Mbappé and Haaland. Vlahovic responded by scoring four goals in his first nine games.

Fate wanted him to return to the Franchi on March 2, for the first leg semi-final of the Italian Cup. He was welcomed by 10,000 whistles, a banner quoting Dante Alighieri to define him as a traitor, and some racist chant. Dusan looked at the stands and didn’t answer. Criticism, insults, praise and controversy have always given him the sameHe, Dusan doesn’t listen. And he follows his own.