The award of the Serbian Young Player of the Year honour to FK Vojvodina forward Danijel Aleksić capped a remarkable 12 months for the 17-year-old, who recently made his debut for the national team after a whirlwind ascent.
Aleksić was presented with his award at a ceremony in Belgrade on 17 December, just three days after making his bow for Serbia against Poland. That appearance saw him become the 12th youngest player to play international football and the second most junior in Serbia. That achievement followed a sparkling start to the season in which he scored four times in 12 matches for Vojvodina to help the club to second in the Superliga, three points behind champions FK Partizan at the winter break.
On the international front, Aleksić was the leader of the Serbia side that nearly reached the semi-finals of the UEFA European Under-17 Championship, a member of the U19 team that qualified for the Elite round, and he has also represented the U21s, impressing enough to be in contention for selection to the UEFA European Under-21 Championship in Sweden next summer.
"That really was the year of my dreams," said Aleksić. "I had so many unforgettable moments and shall remember them forever. If I must choose the best one, it would be playing for the senior team. Every player wants to be at that level. I had a chance when very young and I shall do everything I can to repeat that. In the meantime, I want to play with my generation and I have so many challenges in front of me.
"I am really proud," he added, after claiming the Serbian Young Player of the Year honour. "Serbia has thousands of young stars but they chose me. I shall keep that award in a special place and will take power from it in the future." Most young Serbian players of Aleksić's quality are often captured by bigger European names, but that is not something that concerns him at present. "If I don't think about that, my football level will increase much faster.
"My mind is focused on Vojvodina. I live for the club 24 hours a day and wish them the greatest results. I know how many tough matches are in front of me in the Serbian league and how much stick opposing defenders will give me. Of course, I will play at some big European club – I believe and want that – but now I have other targets. I want to play football and learn more, I want to be better and it is too early to speak about other things."
The Belgrade ceremony was also marked by the coronation of Manchester United FC defender Nemanja Vidić as Serbian Player of the Year, while the Team of the Year was likewise announced, with the following players from Serbian clubs selected:
Goalkeepers: Željko Brkić (FK Vojvodina) and Bojan Isailović (FK Čukarički)
Defenders: Ivan Stevanović (FK Partizan), Nenad Djordjević (FK Partizan), Igor Djurić (FK Vojvodina), Ivan Obradović (FK Partizan)
Midfielders: Juca (FK Partizan), Nenad Milijaš (FK Crvena Zvezda), Ognjen Koroman (FK Crvena Zvezda), Zoran Tošić (FK Partizan), Almani Moreira (FK Partizan)
Forward: Lamine Diarra (FK Partizan)
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