Best 11: OFK Beograd (2011-2020)

The 10s were a very turbulent decade for OFK Beograd. After they had ended the previous one on a high, with a third place finish, this one would turn out ugly. The best they did was sixth place in 2012/13, but in 2015/16 the club got relegated for the first time since their introduction to post-Yugoslav league football. It got even worse a year later, when they were relegated for the second time in a row. Despite the hardships, the club has produced plenty of solid players and here’s a breakdown of their best 11:

Defence:

Bojan Šaranov (34) | GK | PAS Lamia | Serbia: 1/0 | Highest worth: 1,5M | Rating: 5,5

A youth academy product at OFK. Represented them in 74 official matches, conceding 91 goals. The highlights of his career were playing for Maccabi Haifa, Partizan and one senior appearance for the national team, in a friendly against South Korea. 

Marko Petković (29) | RB | Honved | Serbia: 4/0 | 1,5M | 5,5

Another one who broke through at OFK. Considered a big talent at the beginning of his career. Got to 77 games for OFK, scoring once and assisting 6 times. Earned himself a transfer to Red Star, where he suffered a major cruciate ligament injury. Was never the same after that. Did move to Spartak Moscow, but that wasn’t a success. In recent years, returned to Serbia and even got a call-up for the NT, but didn’t seize the opportunity.  

Petar Golubović (27) | RB/CB | Aalesunds FK | Serbia U21: 2/0 | 700K | 5,5

Primarily a right back, but can also slot in at centre back. Arrived at OFK via the Nike Academy and Red Star before that. Featured in 23 games total. Won the U19 Euro with Serbia and earned himself a transfer to AS Roma. Sadly, didn’t make it there. Spent a lot of time in Serie B on loans and eventually got transferred to Belgium and now Norway

Bogdan Planić (30) | CB | Maccabi Haifa | Serbia U21: 1/0 | 2,3M | 6

Worked his way through the lower leagues before joining OFK. Made an instant impact and got signed by Red Star. Things didn’t work out over there, so he rejoined OFK. In total he played 77 games for the club, scoring and assisting 2 times each. From there on, he’s been taking solid steps in his career. Spent most of his years at Steaua Bucharest and has been at Maccabi Haifa for a year and a half now.

Milan Rodić (30 | LB | Red Star | Serbia: 7/0 | 3,5M | 6,5

Came through the OFK academy and spent 3 seasons at the club, before getting snatched up by Zenit. In the end, he got to 80 appearances, scoring 5 times and assisting 6 goals. Couldn’t break through at Zenit and came back eventually to Red Star. In Belgrade, he’s been one of the most consistent Red Star players in their revival of the last 5 years. The only downside is his stamina, but it’s tough when you don’t have a natural replacement.

Midfield:

Aleksandar Ignjovski (31) | CDM | Holstein Kiel | Serbia: 12/0 | 4M | 6

Yet another youth academy product. A real workhorse who broke through and made an instant impact. Got himself a transfer to 1860 Munich after just 23 official games and 3 goals for OFK. Has had a long career in Germany, playing for 6 different teams, taking part in 117 Bundesliga games. Was also a NT regular for a short while under the reign of Siniša Mihajlović. 

Saša Zdjelar (26) | CDM | Partizan | Serbia: 4/0 | 3,5M | 6,5

OFK’s youth academy used to be a gift that kept on giving. Zdjelar was a fine graduate of the academy and was an integral part of the U20 World Cup winning side. Like most of them, he quickly earned a transfer to a bigger league, at Olympiakos. Never truly made it there and eventually returned to Serbia, to join Partizan. There, he has been one of their very best and you feel like he still has another gear left if he leaves this summer. For OFK, he played 67 times, assisting 2 goals. 

Aleksandar Paločević (28) | CAM | FC Seoul | Serbia: 1/0 | 1,5M | 6

It was between him and Pavlovski, for that #10 spot, but you have to be fair to Paločević, he’s had the better career up until this point. Another one who came through the famous OFK academy. Went under the radar, despite being a very gifted player. Got to 53 appearances, 6 goals and 3 assists. Earned himself a transfer to Portugal eventually and did OK there. But has really been on fire in South Korea, scoring 29 times in 75 games and adding 17 assists as well.

Attack:

Aleksandar Čavrić (27) | RW | Slovan Bratislava | Serbia U21: 21/2 | 1,5M | 5,5

One who was brought in for a change. Snapped up young from Banat Zrenjanin. Played 60 games for OFK, scoring 16 times and getting 3 assists. Was a bench warmer in the U19 squad that won the Euro’s. Čavrić was snapped up by Racing Genk, where he didn’t make it. Got to Slovan Bratislavia via Denmark and has been there for 4,5 seasons already. The highlight of his career was a tremendous assist that solidified Serbia’s win over Spain U21 in a do-or-die playoff. 

Dejan Dražić (26) | LW | Honved | Serbia U21: 1/0 | 1M | 5,5

You guessed it: another youth academy product! Came in with a bang and left OFK after 57 games, getting 9 goals and 3 assists. Joined Celta de Vigo, but never got it going over there. Has bounced around Slovakia, Poland and now Hungary, but like Čavrić has had his best period at Slovan Bratislava. Dražić’s dream has always been to play for Partizan, but right now, I’d say they can do better. 

Stefan Šćepović (32) | AEL Limassol | Serbia: 8/1 | 2,5M | 5,5

One of two brothers who were at one point both considered talented Serbian strikers. Joined OFK from Partizan’s academy and only played 16 games for the club, scoring once. First got loaned to Sampdoria and later sold to Club Brugge. Had a proper journeyman career, playing for an incredible 16 clubs. Except for a brief period at Sporting de Gijón, he never truly made a lasting impact.

By Stefan Stojanovic

Average rating: 5,8

Average prime worth: 854K

Average number of caps: 3,3

Final thoughts:

Could this OFK squad challenge for the title in Serbia? Maybe a few years ago. Right now, I’d say they’d easily finish third, but more would be a stretch. It’s a very decent side however, and I could see them qualifying for the group stages of the new Conference League. The Europa League would be a brigde too far in my opinion, but nevertheless the most positive thing about this team is how many players came from OFK’s own youth academy. Hopefully we’ll see a revival of their youth section soon.

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