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Darko Kovačević (Serbian Cyrillic: Дарко Ковачевић) (born 18 November 1973 in Kovinmarker, Serbiamarker, SFR Yugoslaviamarker) is a former Serbian football player. He is known for his spells at Real Sociedad where his partnership with Nihat Kahveci was one of the best in Spain. His key attributes are his strength and aerial ability. Kovačević has been instrumental for Olympiacos during the 2007-2008 season.

Club football

Serbia—Proleteer and Red Star Belgrade

Beginning his career with Zrenjaninmarker based Serbianmarker club FK Proleter, it became clear at the young age of 19 that Kovačević would become one of the country's greatest ever goalscorers. Spending two seasons with the club, Darko managed over a goal every other game, and was quickly snatched up by Serbian giants Red Star Belgrade. Kovačević flourished at the Belgrademarker club, becoming one of Europe's hottest prospects and earning a call-up to the Yugoslavia national team. Netting in an astonishing 37 goals in just 47 games, Kovačević was eventually picked up by English Premier League side Sheffield Wednesday F.C. in December 1995 for £2m.

England—Sheffield Wednesday

Given the opportunity to showcase his skills in one of the top leagues in Europe, Darko initially looked good, impressive in the air, and scoring 2 goals in one game against Bolton Wanderers in a 4-2 victory that saw him likened to Les Ferdinand, but the rest of his skills failed to leave any mark with the Englishmarker club. Kovačević's transfer turned out to be a disaster for Sheffield Wednesday as the striker managed only 4 goals in his lone half-season at the club. His move to Wednesday from Red Star was in July 2007 named #10 on The 50 worst transfers in Premier League history list by British newspaper The Times.[307326]

Spain—Real Sociedad (first time)

Hoping to reach top form once again, Kovačević moved to La Liga side Real Sociedad in 1996. It was with the Spanishmarker club that Darko put on some of his best performances and became one of Europe's best once again. Larger clubs soon came calling, with Italianmarker giants Juventus FC acquiring the big Serbian in 1999.

Italy—Juventus and Lazio

At the Turinmarker based club, Kovačević found goals in both the Serie A and competitions such as the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Cup becoming their leading European goal scorer one season. Yet the Juventus management felt Darko was underachieving and soon both parties were looking for a move out of Italy, with clubs such as Rangers F.C. willing to offer £12m for the Serbian's services.[307327] In 2001 Kovačević spent a brief time with S.S. Lazio before moving back to Spain in the middle of the season.

Spain—Real Sociedad (second time)

In 2001 Kovačević eventually returned to the club where he found his most success at, Real Sociedad. Kovačević would go on to spend 6 more seasons at the club, netting in 51 goals in his second spell with Sociedad. The 2006-07 season would be Kovačević's last season with the Spanish side, ending in the club's relegation.


In 2007 Kovačević signed with Greekmarker champions Olympiacos CFP. Kovačević once again reached top form for the Piraeusmarker based club, scoring 17 goals in the Greek Superleague to lead Olympiacos to the league championship, and adding 3 goals in the Champions League as the team reached as far as the Round of 16.

Kovačević scored twice in the UEFA Cup 2008-09 1st round 5-0 home leg win against FC Nordsjælland.

In early 2009, he was diagnosed with a blocked artery; he successfully underwent heart surgery to improve the flow of blood to his heart. His doctors have advised him that he should retire from football, and Kovacevic officially retired in May 2009, playing a final friendly match for Olympiakos to celebrate the winning of the Greek domestic double.After his retirement he may take an another role for the team.

International football

Kovačević made 59 appearances for the then Yugoslavia national team. Beginning his international career in 1994, Kovačević would go on to score 10 goals and compete in both EURO 2000 and FIFA World Cup 1998.



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