After seven years of plying his trade in various Serbian clubs and abroad, right-back Marko Zivkovic returned to his home club during winter transfer window.
27-year-old started summer pre-season in convincing fashion, assisting twice in first two friendlies of Slovenia preps.
Unfortunately, due to European sending-off he picked up back in 2014 while at Vojvodina, Zivkovic will not be in contention for Partizan UEFA Conference League tie against Dunajska Streda.
We spoke to Zivkovic on his new Partizan days.
How do you feel eight days into the Slovenia pre-season preps?
“We did our medicals and trained in Belgrade before arriving here for a high intensity practice. We have no time to rest but these are pre-season preps and that`s normal. Everyone is handling it, which is good and I hope will slow down a bit once we return home”, said Zivkovic.
You made your mark with two assists in opening two friendlies, leading to goals from Partizan young guns – Jovic and Milovanovic.
“It`s nice to hear people talk about my good performances and hard work. But, that`s my job anyway”.
You compete with Miljkovic for a right-back spot.
“It`s not a competition, we are friends. We are hanging out together, have a coffee together. We are together in all of this”.
Unfortunately, you won`t be up for selection for a Conference League tie due to a sending-off with Vojvodina seven years ago.
“I can only be there as a tourist, unfortunately. I was too young back then, made a mistake and now I can`t play seven years after. I couldn`t remember how many games I was suspended, I did one but I found out there`s two more”.
We should check if you have some outstanding bookings from 10 or more years ago?
“I always have a problem in that department. When I arrived to Partizan this winter I was carrying bookings from previous club. I hope I paid my dues (laughs)”.
Forward Ricardo is back in Partizan too. It looks better straight away with a classic forward in a team.
“He started training with us today. It`s clear Ricardo is a classic forward and that`s what we needed. He`ll mean a lot to us”.
You know quite a few players from Partizan youths days – Markovic, Pantic, Smiljanic, Jojic…
“We were together as senior team members back in 2013 as well. We are back together now and here to bring the title back to Humska Road”.
Do you work on your crosses after the regular training?
“I love crosses and assists. I do practice after regular training or in between sessions. My teammates notice that too so they keep asking me to cross (laughs)”.
Boss Stanojevic seems quite austere.
“It`s only about not letting us go off the pace. It`s never a problem”.
Three more friendlies to play before Partizan returns to Belgrade.
“Yes, we added fifth friendly. Somehow, we have a friendly against Cracovia every pre-season and it`s always a tough battle”.
Everyone is watching European Championships. Who do you support?
“Well, most of my favourites are eliminated. Italians are playing nice football game so I`m going for them now”.