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Nikola Žigić
Nikola Zigic.jpg
Personal information
Date of birth September 25, 1980 (1980-09-25) (age 29)
Place of birth Bačka Topola, Yugoslavia
Height 2.02 m (6 ft 7+12 in)
Playing position Centre forward
Club information
Current club Valencia
Number 9
Youth career
1991–1998 Bačka Topola
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1998–2001 Bačka Topola 76 (68)
2002 Mornar Bar 23 (15)
2002 Kolubara Lazarevac 8 (3)
2003 Spartak Subotica 11 (14)
2003–2006 Red Star 79 (47)
2006–2007 Racing Santander 32 (11)
2007– Valencia 22 (3)
2009 Racing Santander (loan) 19 (13)
National team
2004– Serbia 42 (16)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 28 January 2010.

† Appearances (Goals).

‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 28 January 2010

Nikola Žigić (Serbian: Никола Жигић, born 25 September 1980) is a Serbian footballer who currently plays for Valencia CF, as a centre forward.

At 202 cms (6 ft 7 in) tall, Žigić is one of the tallest footballers in the world playing for a top flight football club. Abroad, he played in Spain, most notably for Racing de Santander.

Contents

Club career

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Red Star

Born in Bačka Topola, Serbia, Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, Žigić started playing with modest local teams, netting at an impressive rate, after which he joined country giants Red Star Belgrade in 2003. During his years at the club, he played 110 matches and scored 71 goals in all competitions (cup, league and European competitions).

Racing Santander

On 29 August 2006, Žigić signed a four-year contract with Spanish side Racing de Santander. On 1 April 2007, he scored his first hat-trick in Spain's top flight, in a 5–4 win over Athletic Bilbao.[1] While at Racing, he formed a formidable duo with diminutive veteran forward Pedro Munitis, and netted 12 league goals during the season.

Valencia

On 8 August 2007, Sky Sports understood that Valencia CF had offered Racing 19 million for Žigić, handing the player a lucrative five-year contract. Numerous other clubs, such as SV Werder Bremen and Manchester City attempted to sign him, but Valencia eventually signed the player, announcing the £20 million deal on their official website the following day. After passing a physical the next day, Žigić was introduced at the Estadio Mestalla.[2]

Žigić's first goal for Valencia came in a Spanish Cup match against Real Unión, adding another to turn the match around, as Valencia won 2–1. However he was unsuccessful in nailing down a starting place in the team under coach Ronald Koeman who mostly used him as a sub or not at all. Žigić's first and only league goal came on 22 December 2007 at Real Zaragoza. Valencia again came from behind and earned a 2–2 draw. It was made clear in January that he turned down the opportunity to join English side Portsmouth FC on loan for the remainder of the season.[3]

After some speculation regarding moves to the English Premiership,[4][5] and a thwarted loan return to former side Racing Santander, Žigić finally agreed to stay and fight for a place in 2008–09's Valencia.

Eventually, after having failed to appear in any league matches, being restricted to domestic and UEFA Cup matches, and scoring in both competitions, he was loaned in late December 2008 to former side Santander.[6][7] In June 2009, it was suggested that Žigić could be signed to Sunderland AFC,[8] but nothing came of it.

Žigić was then loaned to a former team, Racing, until the end of the season. On January 4, 2009, in his first game in his second spell with the Cantabrians, Žigić scored the game's only goal in a win at Real Valladolid, repeating the feat in a win at Getafe CF, two matchdays later, and again the following week on January 25 away at Sevilla FC. He finished his second spell with 13 goals in only 19 matches, squad best, and subsequently returned to Valencia, where he continued to be rarely used in the league.

Profitting from a rare chance in the league with the Che, Žigić headed in the game's only goal at home to RCD Espanyol, on January 2, 2010, in the 93rd minute. On the 13th, he added a brace at Deportivo de La Coruña for the domestic cup, putting Valencia 2–0 up at halftime, in an eventual 2–2 draw (4–3 aggregate loss).

International career

Although he attracted much attention for his performances with Red Star in the Serbo-Montenegrin league, Žigić only gained a regular place in the national team in mid-2005, after having made his debut the previous year under coach Ilija Petković. He scored a couple of goals in some friendlies, but it was his substitute appearance in a crucial 2006 World Cup qualifier against Spain in Madrid during September 2005 that brought him international recognition. After an atrocious first-half at the Vicente Calderón Stadium, during which Serbia-Montenegro rarely crossed the centre line, only being 1–0 down, coach Petković threw Žigić into the mix, and his towering presence up front changed the flow of the match instantly. He would later set up the equalizer, also providing Mateja Kežman with a 2–1 chance, but the ball was clipped wide of Iker Casillas' gaping half-empty net. However, Serbia got the key away point and confirmed their World Cup qualification at home in Belgrade versus Bosnia-Herzegovina, with Žigić again nicely setting up Kežman for the game's only goal.

Žigić's only start of the 2006 FIFA World Cup came in the nation's final Group C match, when the team was already eliminated. He scored an early goal in the 10th minute of the first half off a long ball from Dejan Stanković against Ivory Coast, in a 3–2 loss.[9]

Still an automatic choice under new national manager Javier Clemente, his form took a dip. On 24 March 2007, Žigić received a red card during the Euro 2008 qualifications against Kazakhstan, seconds before the end of the game. This caused him to miss the home game against Portugal (against Finland, on 2 June 2007, he was also not available due to surgery on a facial injury he received on 27 May).[10]

Honours

Red Star

Valencia

Individual

References

External links


Simple English

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