Born in Bosnia and Herzegovina, in a small village by the name of Batar, Luka Jovic has endured a meteoric rise to prominence in Europe. The 21-year-old Eintracht Frankfurt forward is one of the biggest stories of the year in the Bundesliga so far and has set Germany on fire scoring 15 goals in 1599 minutes of playtime and averaging 107 minutes per goal, which is better than Robert Lewandowski's average of 124 minutes per goal.
In the year 2014, Zvezdan Terzic, the general manager of Red Star Belgrade said:
"Luka Jovic is going to explode this season, he is going to be the Serbian Radamel Falcao", but it was not a smooth ride as he had his fair shares of struggle before people started noticing his potential.
Developed by the Crvena Zvezda youth academy, Jovic was all destined to become a prolific goalscorer and was given his debut for Redstar at the age of just 16 years, 5 months and 5 days as a substitute. He stepped up to the challenge and inside 120 minutes of the match he became the youngest scorer for Red Belgrade. There was no stopping him from there on.
In January 2015, Jovic moved from Redstar Belgrade to Portuguese club Benfica in search of more greener pastures, but all was not as good as it seemed. He became part of one of the biggest scandals in the history of FIFA.
Contract details exposed by Football Leaks on April 17, 2016, stated that Jovic's contract had been owned by Israeli player agent Pini Zahavi, owner of Apollon Limassol, who was also a part of Andrija Zivkovic scandal. Pini Zahavi sold Jovic's economic rights from Red Star to Apollon Limassol in order to evade FIFA's anti-third-party ownership rule.
It was a typical transfer which helped in filling the pockets of agents rather than the development of the player. It had negative consequences to Jovic's career which became dormant due to the steep step up.
Such was his decline that he was demoted to the Benfica B team from being a first-team starter in Red Star, but Jovic was not the one to get bogged down by the obstacles in front of him. He kept on giving his 100 percent and waited for his chances.
And one day, fortune favored the brave. One week, Raul Jimenez was injured and Mitroglou was out of form so Rui Vitoria, the manager of Benfica decided to start Jovic alongside Jonas. It was a huge boost to his confidence but fate had some other plans.
He stayed out late, partying in a club in Lisbon and was caught, starting a chain of severe consequences like being dropped from playing eleven and being totally shunned from the first team.
Jovic needed someone to bail him out from this misery, and then came Eintracht Frankfurt sporting director Fredi Bobic. A former German National team player who knew how to cut a deal and signed Jovic for €200,000, which also included a loan to buy option of €6 million.
Jovic started 27 times for Frankfurt last season which earned him the title of 'Serbian wonder kid'. He was part of the Frankfurt team which defeated Bayern Munich in their cup final and was managed by none other than present Bayern Munich manager Nico Kovac.
This season Jovic has formed a great partnership with Sebastian Haller and Ante Rebic and has flourished as a goal-scoring machine. This triumvirate has all the recipes to become one of the deadliest attacking force in the whole of Europe.
Jovic was described as 'an incredible box player' by Bobic. An intelligent player who can turn any situation to his advantage, he is a master of disguise. He can terrorize any defense with his timely run into such spaces others are not aware of and score from difficult situations from which he is least expected to score. This makes him a deadly scorer more in the mold of Radamel Falcao and Miroslav Klose.
20-year-old Luka Jovic has come a long way but still has a lot to learn and achieve but it cannot be denied that he has matured a lot in terms of temperament and skills. A lot of credit for this goes to Frankfurt for taking a risk on this prodigious talent and they are reaping rewards of it as many big European clubs like Barcelona and Bayern Munich are keeping an eye on this unpolished talented kid.
Jovic has a great future ahead of him. The next few years are going to be the most crucial time for him as it will decide whether his name will be taken alongside some of the greatest of the game. In the meantime, we can hope he keeps on entertaining people with his goalscoring exploits as it seems he has no plan to stop anytime soon.Published 25 Mar 2019, 20:38 IST