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Fudbalski Klub Crvena Zvezda ( , known in English as Red Star Belgrade) is a football club from Belgrademarker, Serbiamarker. The club is sometimes known worldwide by translations of its Serbian name. Red Star Belgrade are the only Serbian club to have become European and World Champions having won the 1991 European Cup and 1991 Intercontinental Cup. They are also the only Serbian club ever to win an international title.

According to recent polls, Red Star is the most popular football club in Serbia, with nearly 50% of the population supporting the club. Their main rivals are fellow Belgrade side, FK Partizan.

According to the International Federation of Football History & Statistics' list of Top 200 European clubs of the 20th century, Red Star is the highest ranked Serbian club, sharing the 27th position on the list with Feyenoord.



The story about how Red Star was formed is well known. In February 1945, while World War II was still going on, a group of young people, members of the Serbian United Antifascist Youth League, decided to form a Youth Physical Culture Society, that was to become Red Star on 4th March. The name Red Star was assigned to the club after a long discussion, and the first vice presidents of the Sport Society, Zoran Žujović and Slobodan Ćosić, were the ones to assign it. On that day Red Star played the first football match against the First Battalion of the Second Brigade of KNOJ and won 3:0 (2:0).

Five days later, a football section was officially formed, led by Kosta Tomašević, and the first manager was Predrag Đajić. The two of them defended the honor of Red Star in the playing field – Tomašević was the first striker and scorer in the history of the club, and Đajić was a midfielder. Red Star was given a stadium of a prewar FC Yugoslavia (that was active during the war under the name of League of Communists of Yugoslavia in 1913, and that was disbanded specifically due to these activities at the time of occupation), at that time known as Avala.

In a post-war 1946 season, Red Star won the Serbian Championship and thus qualified for the Yugoslav Championship. In the first four seasons our club did not succeed in winning any championships, however, in the period of 1948 to 1950 there was a series of hat-trick triumphs in Cups, finals against Partizan, Naša Krila of Zemunmarker and Dinamo.

The first championship was won in a spectacular way. Three rounds before the end Dinamo from Zagrebmarker was five points in the lead in the league and winning a match brought two points. However, the team from Zagreb was defeated by the team from Sarajevomarker, and Red Star won the rivals’ duel for the championship and entered the last round with a minus of one point. The match between BSK and Dinamo ended 2:2, and the decision was reached a day later, on 4th November, in the match with Partizan. The eternal rival had won the derby very convincingly earlier that season (6:1), but Red Star this time scored the necessary 2:0 and thanks to better goal-average (only 0,0018 more) became the national champion for the first time.

The late fifties – the first era of dominance

Red Star also won championship in 1953, however, real changes would yet follow in the middle of the decade, when a stable club structure was formed with Dušan Blagojević acting as president, Slobodan Ćosić as secretary general and great Aca Obradović, famous for his nickname Doctor O, acting as technical director of the club.

They prepared the ground for the generation that would fully dominate Yugoslav football scene in the following five years, leaving their stamp on the European scene as well. It was a team of players such as Beara, Durković, Stanković, Popović, Mitić, Kostić, Šekularac... Those football players, whose names are still remembered, who are worldwide famous, will win four Yugoslav championships and two Cups, not missing a single trophy in those five seasons.

Red Star’s play was fast and offensive, bringing great popularity to the club both in the country and in the world. As they were gaining victories in the playing field, Obradović formed the ground for professional work that will later serve as the basis of great successes to be achieved by our club. Doctor O possessed an exceptional gift to recognize talents, and at the end of his career he transferred Mitić, Stanković, Toplak to the professional staff headquarters, and they will be dealing with football very successfully for several decades.

The sixties – a crisis and a new stadium

The end of the fifties was the first period of dominance of one club on the Yugoslav football scene, but the beginning of the decade to follow shifted the focus of events to the other side of Topčider Hillmarker. In the following seven seasons, Red Star will win only one championship (which will not repeat before the nineties) and only one cup, its placement will be the worst in its history (seventh place in 1963) and it will even drop four times bellow the first three in the table (before and after that only seven times more has Red Star been bellow the third place in 54 football seasons in SFRYmarker, FRYmarker, SCG and Serbiamarker).

Even then it was clear that Red Star was the most popular club in the country by far, and its defeats came down hard on its supporters, so accidents happened in which they used to burst into the field and literally burn both goals. In 1962–63 season, our club also set a negative record by scoring only 21 goals, which was, for example, half the result of Vojvodinamarker, five places lower in the table.

Still, on the other hand, Red Star was developing and setting the final grounds for the great rise that followed - at the end of 1959 building of a new stadium began on the same spot that was occupied with the outdated Avala. In the following four years Red Star played as a host at the stadiums of Partizan and OFK Beograd (which can also be considered a reason for the bad results it achieved at that time), and the new building was opened on 1st September in 1963, when a match with Rijeka took place.

The first season on the stadium of its own, which could receive the amazing one hundred people, was celebrated with double crown, seeing Miša Pavić off the bench who had won five trophies in the previous decade and who had set a record by keeping his place on the club’s bench seven seasons in a row.

The key moment took place in the summer of 1966, when Miljan Miljanić joined the club’s bench. For the following eight years, Miljanić will lead the club that grew into a highly-rated club in Europe. Up to then, Yugoslav football had gone through an introductory testing stage and a five-year dominance of Red Star and Partizan. In the remaining 25 years of the existence within the borders of the same country, Red Star will be a constant, whereas only rivals would change.

Miljanić and Red Star’s hard-shooting kids (1966-1974)

Miljan Miljanić was a football player in Red Star back in the glorious '50s, but it was his position of the first coach in the summer of 1966 that he found the right for him and the club. Miljanić was a leader of the new orientation in the club - relying on its own forces. In the first season he completely changed the generation of players and won the fifth place, the same as one year before. And after that triumphs began.

The generation led by Dragan Džajić, officially the best player in the history of this country (the choice of the Football Association on the 50th anniversary of UEFA) and certainly one of the best left winger in the history of the world, will leave a deep mark and make a great difference compared to all the greatest rivals. It will be the first time Red Star has won three championships in a row (two times double crown), and every child in Yugoslavia will know the names of Dujković, Đorić, Dojčinovski, Klenkovski, Karasi, Aćimović, Lazarević, Krivokuća, Ostojić... It is of special importance to know that most of the above mentioned football players joined Marakanamarker very early and went through many selections in the club’s youth school.

At that time Red Star became a sound name on the European level as well, setting standards which only a small number of clubs from the east could follow. It was focusing on Yugoslav Cup in 1971 that made the league’s second worst placement ever – the sixth place – and that impression was improved by winning the Cup. Miljanić will win another Cup with the team, in 1973, and some new names will already appear among the players, such as Vladimir and Ognjen Petrović, Bogićević, Filipović, Keri... Many of them will, at the end of the eight decade, lead Red Star into the new era of great triumphs.

Apart from bringing lots of joy to its supporters, in that era Red Star was a club that was watched with pleasure: during the eight years of Miljanić’s leadership, seven times it was the most efficient club in the league (in 1972 Velež scored one goal more), and in the last two seasons it left its rivals first by 12, and then by 18 scores.

Zec and Stanković, maintaining dominance

As it usually happens, when a great coach leaves, this entails a drop in results, and the two seasons after Miljanić had left passed less successfully for Red Star. It will not be before the arrival of Gojko Zec in 1976 that the club will achieve stability and as soon as the following May the twelfth victory of the national championship was celebrated at Marakana. It was an introduction into an era of Branko Stanković, which was to last four years and bring Red Star three trophies and the first great European finals.

After Džajić had left for Bastia, the team was lead by the fourth star of Red Star, Vladimir Petrović Pižon, and Dušan Savić and Srboljub Stamenković, who was to become a great football star in the United Statesmarker, were equally popular. The first season of Gojko Zec was a real demonstration of force – the championship was won with nine points’ advantage, which was up to that moment the greatest difference in the history of the league, and strikers, with Filipović at the head, scored 67 times against their rivals (the first to accompany them on the list was Borac with 53 goals scored).

In the following season Red Star won the second place and thus made its way for great performance in the European Cup in 1978–1979 season. The first championship for Stanković as a coach (as a player he was a champion for four times) was won in 1980, when Red Star missed double crown, and a year later Red Star was the champion again.

An eleven years’ period without winning the cup, the longest in its history by far, ended in the spring of 1982, when two matches were won (2:2 in Zagreb and 4:2 in Belgrade) and a new champion was defeated, Dinamo from Zagreb. By that time, the first change of coach during a season took place since the fifties, Ostojić replaced Stanković.

Gojko Zec returns to the team in 1983, finding only one player from the champions generation he was coaching back in 1977Miloš Šestić. Zec similarly repeats the team’s triumph from his previous mandate by winning the championship immediately upon his arrival. And in the same manner as during that season, the Cup finals ended in Splitmarker, and Red Star won the trophy in the most massive competition in 1985, again playing against Dinamo.

Especially after Petrović and Savić had left during 1982–1983 season, Šestić became a leader of the new generation, the players of which were Ivković, Elzner, Boško and Milko Đurovski, Musemić, Janjanin, Mrkela. The end of the era of Gojko Zec coincided with the greatest scandal in the history of Yugoslav football, a Scheiber’s case, that made the country have two champions in two seasons. Our club first lost and then won the championship in 1986, before it was taken away from it at the green table.

European and World Champions

In the summer of 1986 there were great changes in the club. The management run by Dragan Džajić and Vladimir Cvetković began to build a team that could compete with the most powerful European teams. During that summer Velibor Vasović sat on the bench, the first Serbian national to raise the European Cup’s cup, and the team was strengthened with a number of players, among whom Dragan Stojković and Bora Cvetković stood out.

In the first season that started with penalty points, Red Star focused on the European Cup, achieving good results. It was not later than the summer of 1987 that a five-year plan was developed with the goal to win the European Cup. The history is a witness that all the plans were fulfilled.

Starting from the club’s birthday in 1987, when Real Madrid was defeated at Marakana, through March 1992, Red Star lived the best period in its history. In the five seasons they won four championships (in 1989 Vojvodina was the championship winner with Šestić, Mihajlović, Ljupko Petrović as a coach and Kosanović as a director), in 1990 with as many as 11, and a year later with eight points of advantage compared to the first rivals (both times Dinamo). All four seasons in which Red Star won the championships it also played in the finals, but won the cup only in 1990.

The fact that Red Star was managed by as many as five coaches in the glorious five years’ period (Vasović, Stanković, Šekularac, Lj. Petrović and Popović) seems strange, but at the same time is a confirmation of extreme power of the red-and-white both in management and in the field. In the summer of 1987 Binić and Prosinečki arrived, and in the following order came Šabanadžović, Pančev, Savićević, Belodedić and Mihajlović. At the same time the youth school was working well, which brought Stojanović and Jugović to the club.

At the very beginning of the nineties, Red Star simply did not have any competition in domestic contests, whereas in Europe it was high ranking. Although it was certain that transfers of at least several players would happen, the war in the Balkans, disintegration of Yugoslavia and sanctions imposed by the United Nations accelerated the process, which would, only thirteen months after Barimarker, practically leave Red Star without entire generation of champions.

The dark nineties

At the very beginning of 1992, the club was at the height of its fame – the champion of Europe and the world, weakened by the departure of several members of the champions generation from Bari, but still with rather good chances to defend the trophy in Londonmarker won at the European Cup. In domestic competition, great rivals, Dinamo, left the league, just as all the other clubs from Croatiamarker and Sloveniamarker did, and the championship in a Yugoslavia that was cut in size was played on the edge of observance of regulations, because, in April, the war broke out in Bosnia and Herzegovinamarker. Red Star defended its title and for the second time made a champion hat-trick (for the first time since the era of Miljanić), but at the Cup’s finals, won by Partizan, it was already clear that hard days for our club were ahead of us.

In the period between May 1992 and May 2000, only one championship victory was celebrated at Marakana – the twentieth cup arrived to our glass closet in 1995, and it was brought by another great generation of players, such as Milojević, Stojkovski, Đorović, Stefanović, Sakić, Živković, Krupniković, Kovačević, Petković... Heading for the title, the hundredth derby was also won (2:1), and Ljupko Petrović was again sitting on the bench.

Still, it was a short break in a very unsuccessful decade. The league of SR Yugoslavia of that day did not resemble a kind of sports competition we used to attend before the country fell apart, and under new and strange circumstances it was difficult for our club to find the right way. Red Star used to frequently have the best team in the country by far, but it was simply not enough. As the nineties were approaching their end, irregularities were reaching their climax, and the 1997–98 championship was won by a debutant in Obilić league. The following championship was not finalized due to NATOmarker aggression, and Red Star ended at the third place, which was the only placement for the club below the second position in the last 20 years.

During the seven seasons, Red Star won one championship and even five cups, along with several glorious European performances. For most clubs it was by all standards a successful period, however, demands of the Red Star’s army of supporters were different. The time of pleasure was yet to come back for them.

New century and new triumphs

The summer of 1999 was a new beginning for our club. Immediately after NATO aggression had finished, Red Star won the seventeenth cup in its history by winning a match against Partizan resulting in 4:2, and after a bad beginning of the following season the team was taken over from Miloljub Ostojić by Slavoljub Muslin. As a member of the glorious generation of Pižon Petrović and Dule Savić, he brought a fresh philosophy to its team – during the two seasons spent with him Red Star set defensive records and cut the number of goals scored against them to a half (only 19 in 40 matches of 1999–2000 championship). The title was practically ensured on the day of Đurđevdan, when Obilić was defeated at Marakana, and Partizan won only one point in Kragujevacmarker. Three days later, the cup was won and four points of advantage were kept as a routine in the remaining three rounds. In March, April and May, Red Star won all 20 matches in the league and the Cup.

The following season Muslin remained in the club, and the champions title was defended. The trophy was lost in the cup, a competition on which Red Star had a kind of monopoly – in the last 18 finals it played 16 times and won 10 times. Muslin was to leave the bench of our club in September 2001, after which Red Star was to lose two championships in a row in an identical manner – after five rounds our falling behind our greatest rival was huge (in the first one it was 7, and in the second one it was 10 points’ difference). The return of Muslin to the bench in the summer of 2004 also brought back the necessary strength to Red Star and set a new record – only 13 goals scored against it in 30 matches.

During that summer our club, with Ljupko Petrović at the head for the third time, achieved great results at preparations and entered a new championship with a great dose of optimism, but two heavy defeats in European matches (in Eindhovenmarker and St. Petersburgmarker) psychologically disturbed the team, it started losing the fight for the title, and it ended the bad season with a defeat from Železnik in the Cup finals (the second time in three years the cup was lost by receiving a goal against them in the last minute).

During the summer of 2005 a great change occurred in the club because Dragan Džajić left the president’s chair and his function after whole 20 years. The third star of Red Star was replaced by the fifth star – Dragan Stojković – and for the first time in the history a foreign coach Walter Zenga has joined the club. Two years of Red Star’s full dominance in the sphere of domestic football followed, represented by double crowns and initially seven, and later seventeen points of advantage compared to the closest rivals in the league. Red Star has entered 2007–2008 season with clear ambitions, which, again, are inevitable at Marakana – to defend double crown and make a step further in Europe.


Red Star's home ground is Stadion Crvena Zvezdamarker ( ). It has a capacity of 55,000 and is the largest stadium in Serbia. Due to the former capacity of over 100,000 the stadium is commonly referred to as Marakana after Maracanã stadiummarker in Brazilmarker. It was opened in 1963 after construction which had started three years earlier.

The largest crowd was recorded that autumn at a derby against FK Partizan–74,000 people. Next year, after the stadium was fully completed its capacity increased to 110,000 spectators and it got the unofficial moniker - Marakana, in honour of the famous Brazilian stadium. Apart from the exciting look, the new stadium also featured a magnificent grass pitch with drainage, which made the overall playing experience much more enjoyable.

Still on the subject of records, according to the number of tickets sold, Marakanamarker saw its largest crowd on 23 April 1975 at the Cup Winners Cup semi-final home leg against the Hungarian side Ferencváros (2-2). There were officially 96,070 spectators in the stands that night with purchased tickets, but it is believed that the stadium was filled to the maximum allowable capacity which at the time was 110,000.

In the years since, the stadium's capacity was gradually decreased. Following different modernisation touch-ups more seats were put in each time. During mid 1990s in order to meet UEFA demands for spectators' comfort and security, standing places at the stadium were completely done away with. Seats were installed on all four stands so that the Marakana‘s maximum capacity today reaches 55,538.

Today the stadium has a modern press box, with a capacity of 344 seats,including seven extra-comfortable seats.The stadium also has a modern media center for promotions, press conferences etc. On the west stand of Marakana there is an official Red Star Shop along with Nikemarker shop.

In August 2008 the club reconstructed the pitch in the stadium. Under-soil grass heaters and an improved drainage system were installed and new modern turf replaced the old surface. The training pitch was also renovated by laying down synthetic turf and installing new lighting equipment.

Club culture

Supporters of the various Red Star sports teams are known as Delije ( ). A rough English translation might be "courageous and brave young men" or simply "The Heroes". They are generally concentrated in the North Stand of the Stadion Crvena Zvezda. The Srbija do Tokija (lit. Serbia to Tokyo) chant originated with Red Star supporters following their victory in the 1991 Intercontinental Cup in Tokyomarker. It was later adopted by Serbian paramilitaries during the various Yugoslavian wars of the 1990s. The Delije were involved in the notorious Dinamo Zagreb–Red Star Belgrade riot in 1990, which highlighted the ethnic tensions in Yugoslavia at the time.

Red Star's main rivals are fellow Belgrade club, FK Partizan. Matches between the two are known as the "Eternal Derby" ( , Večiti derbi). The record attendance for a Red Star-Partizan match is around 108,000, the lowest 8,000 for a Yugoslav Cup semi-final in 2005. In league matches, the derby has been played 133 times; Red Star winning on 57 occasions and Partizan 34 times. In cup games, Red Star have won 17 of the 31 fixtures, Partizan 10.

In addition to their rivalries, Red Star have two friendship clubs, Olympiacos of Greecemarker and Spartak Moscow of Russiamarker. The fans of the three teams have been dubbed "Orthodox Brothers".


International titles

The following titles include only those which are recognised by UEFA and FIFAmarker.

European titles

European Cup (defunct, succeeded by UEFA Champions League):
*Champions (1): 1991
Mitropa Cup (defunct):
*Champions (2): 1958, 1968

World-wide titles

Intercontinental Cup (defunct, succeeded by FIFA Club World Cup):
*Champions (1): 1991

National Titles

Other titles and major achievements

European Cup (defunct, succeeded by UEFA Champions League):
*Semi-finalists (2): 1956–57, 1970–71

UEFA Cup Winners' Cup (defunct):
*Semi-finalists (1): 1974–75

UEFA Cup (defunct, succeeded by UEFA Europa League):
*Runners-up (1): 1978–79

UEFA Super Cup:
*Runners-up (1): 1991

World of Soccer Cup (defunct):
*Champions (1): 1977

European Competitions

Red Star is the most successful team from Serbia (and Yugoslavia); it competed in Europe 46 times, once becoming European Champions (90/91). Other notable results include UEFA cup final (78/79), two European Champions Cup semifinals (56/57, 70/71), one Cup Winners’ Cup semifinal (74/75), and one UEFA cup semifinal (61/62).

European Results Analysis

Red Star Belgrade Seasons P W D L F A Match %W Ties P Ties W Ties L Ties %W
Representing Serbiamarker 2 8 3 3 2 9 8 37.50 4 2 2 50.00
Representing FR Yugoslaviamarker 12 72 28 20 24 112 85 38.89 34 19 15 55.88
Representing SFR Yugoslaviamarker 33 177 88 30 59 344 234 49.72 85 54 31 63.53
Total 46 255 119 51 85 460 322 46.67 122 75 47 61.48

Current squad

As of November 21, 2009

For recent transfers, see List of Serbian football transfers summer 2009.

Notable players

The Stars of Red Star

Red Star has almost a 50 year long tradition of giving the title of the Star of Red Star (Zvezdina zvezda) to the players that have had a major impact on the club's history and that have made the name of the club famous around the globe. So far, only five players in the club's history were officially given the title. They are:

Though it may sound strange, none of the players that have won the only European Champion title for the club is titled Star of Red Star. In fact, no new "stars" have been added to the list since Dragan Stojković was given the title in 1990. In his recent statement, Stojković, then the club's president, said that the tradition of naming the club's stars was going to be continued, probably by naming Dejan Savićević the sixth "star", although there were opinions that the entire 1991 generation should be named the sixth star. Ironically, Stojković himself missed the opportunity to be part of the historical 1991 cup since he moved to Olympique de Marseille, the same team that was beaten by Red Star at the 1991 final, in the summer of 1990.

The 1991 European Champions Generation

Goalkeepers:   Defenders:   Midfielders:   Strikers:
Coach: Ljupko Petrović

Other notable players

SFR Yugoslavia
FR Yugoslavia/Serbia and Montenegro







South Africa

Award winners

Ballon d'or

European Golden Boot

Copa America Winners

Coaching history

For details see List of Red Star Belgrade football coaches

Club presidents

Notes and references

External links



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