Final day of winter transfer window saw another former Partizan kid return home. After plying his trade abroad, centre-back Uros Vitas signed for the club he started his youth career in. We spoke to this 27-year-old whose Partizan peers under coach Sladjan Scepovic were Nikola Jojic, Darko Brasanac or Nikola Trujic.
-I actually spoke to Scepovic yesterday. I phoned him and heard him saying in his particular voice – “alright Vitas?”. As for my peers, I watched Brasanac play yesterday, Jojic moved to Austria now…Honestly, I really have a fond memories of that Partizan `93 generation. There was lot of us from all over the country and I often hear people saying it was a bad time to grow up. Well, we had a perfect childhood courtesy of Partizan! I still have joint photos and paper clips from those youth days, you don`t want to forget these things.
Partizan boss Savo Milosevic wanted to sign you last summer?
-Partizan has one fantastic group of players! I`d say there`s a incredible chemistry around, looking as an outsider. I` m sure that`s one of the things boss Milosevic insisted on and if he wanted me to become part of this group that can only make me feel really pleased. All my focus will be on the team and the club now.
Final day of winter transfer window was quite stressful for you?
-I was waiting for the deal to go through so I can sign while going through a personal agony on the way to Belgrade. My young daughter had a strong fever and I started my journey to Belgrade straight from the hospital. I was thinking about here only, is she going to receive an injection or just a syrup. She`s a very gentle girl and I`m taking it very hard whenever she`s sick. Thank God, it all ended well, at home and job-wise!
You had a long spell on the sidelines due to an injury while in Belgium but you played 20 matches this season for Kazahstani team Irtysh. How do you feel and how fit are you now?
-I`m healthy, ready to work and I`m sure I`ll reach competitive level of fitness with support from the coaching team. I`m really over the moon to be here!
Your competition here are S Pavlovic, now on loan from Monaco, Bojan Ostojic and Igor Vujacic. What you now about them and Partizan performances in general?
-I watched Partizan play this season as well as friendlies played during winter break and I`ll just use the phrase “competition is always welcome”. I`m sure we will all get our opportunity and we are here to serve the club. It`s on us to be up to our best when the opportunity comes.
Who do you know from this Partizan roster?
-I met most of the guys over the year but I know Nemanja Stevanovic for more than 10 years – from the days we played in Rad youths. He was among the first to welcome me here.
You have fond memories of Partizan senior Milan Lola Smiljanic from your youth days?
-True, I used to kick the ball around after the training session with Lola. I met lots of senior players back then and it was so important for us kids to have that experience. That was the time when Lola was supposed to move to Spain. He always had patience for us. Now, we are going to be part of the same team and that thrills me too.
You picked shirt number 15?
-I had that number in all Serbian youth teams.
-Partizan is a big club and that`s never going to change. Big clubs need and have to win trophies!