Legendary Partizan skipper Sasa Ilic hanged his boots last May, 31 years after he first joined the club as a 9-year old. Now 42, Ilic played his last game in a final round of last season against Prolete Novi Sad.
Coming out of the tunnel, both teams wore face masks with Sasa Ilic`s image printed on it while Partizan team captain came out last along with his wife and two young kids, followed by standing ovation, chants in Sasa`s name and numerous photo shoots.
Symbolically, Ilic departed the field in the exact same minute he came on as a sub back in 1996 to make his Partizan senior team debut. Upon leaving the field, he left his footprint in a special clay bowl to mark the occasion.
Sasa Ilic bio
Born: December 30, 1977
Won 11 titles and 6 national cups with Partizan. Played two Champions League group stages with Partizan and one with Galatasaray.
Played a total of 874 games for the club scoring 240 goals, making him a Partizan record holder regarding number of appearances.
Played 423 league games for Partizan and scored 130 goals, second best when it comes to number of league apps in Yugoslav/Serbian football history.
Played a record 31 Eternal derby games.
In total (domestic league, cup, Euro competitions), Sasa Ilic made 602 apps and scored 164 goals.
He also played 273 friendly games scoring 76 goals.
Officially, Ilic arrived to Partizan in 1988 although he had his first training session with Partizan in 1986, as a nine-year old. He graduated from Partizan youth school and signed a professional contract in 1996 followed by a season-long loan to Teleoptik. Ilic made his Partizan senior team debut in October 1996 and scored his first competitive goal away to Vojvodina in August 1997.
He also played for Galatasaray (76 apps – 25 goals), Salzburg (42-10), Larissa (12-1) and Celta Vigo (13-1).
Apart from Celta spell and his Partizan debut, Sasa Ilic always wore shirt number 22.
Ilic made his national team debut against Northern Ireland, August 2000, making a total of 37 apps with 4 goals scored.
Sasa Ilic is seventh best goalscorer in Yugoslav/Serbian football history.
Фото галерија: Мирослав Тодоровић