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Obradović pumped up for Partizan opener

Published: Thursday 23 October 2008, 15.20CET
Having captained FK Partizan for the first time last weekend, 20-year-old Ivan Obradović wants the Belgrade club to show they have "the strength" to reach the UEFA Cup knockout stage – starting against UC Sampdoria.
by Aleksandar Bošković
from Belgrade
Obradović pumped up for Partizan opener
Ivan Obradović lines up for Serbia ©Getty Images
 
 
Published: Thursday 23 October 2008, 15.20CET

Obradović pumped up for Partizan opener

Having captained FK Partizan for the first time last weekend, 20-year-old Ivan Obradović wants the Belgrade club to show they have "the strength" to reach the UEFA Cup knockout stage – starting against UC Sampdoria.
Having captained FK Partizan for the first time last weekend, 20-year-old Ivan Obradović wants the Belgrade club to show they have "the strength" to reach the UEFA Cup knockout stage – starting against UC Sampdoria on Thursday.

Dizzying spell
It has been a dizzying autumn for Obradović. Still eligible for Serbia's Under-19s, the left-back was given his senior debut against the Faroe Islands in September and then scored on his third appearance in the 3-1 FIFA World Cup qualifying victory in Austria on 15 October. "Miraculous really," he told uefa.com. "It wasn't long ago that I was dreaming of playing for the U19s, and now I am at the highest level. I was sorry to miss the Olympics through injury, but I'm working hard, keeping the faith and enjoying my success."

New responsibilities
Obradović has also been taking on new responsibilities with his club –
replacing Nenad Djordjević as captain for Saturday's Superliga home draw with FK Javor Ivanjica. "Another great moment," he said. "To captain, aged only 20, the team where I have spent eight years of my career, even if for just one game ... I was proud, but in the end disappointed too. Javor sprung a surprise and it finished 2-2. I will remember the occasion, though, and forget the result. We are defending a domestic double and we can be successful again."

Tough opener
Partizan are also targeting success in Europe, where they have a tough UEFA Cup Group C curtain-raiser at home to Sampdoria. "This is a huge challenge for us," said Obradović, who has made 31 league outings in total. "Most of us Partizan players are young, but we really want to be among the big boys of European football – to try to establish ourselves at that level if possible. It will be difficult. Sampdoria are well-organised and, in Antonio Cassano, they have a top international, their most dangerous player."

Primary objective
Even so, Obradović is certain that he, for one, will not be starstruck. "I can say all sorts of nice things about our opponents and they deserve that praise, but we have to focus on our own ideas, tactics, strengths and responsibilities," he added. "If we think more about them than ourselves, it will be a disaster. Our main goal is to qualify for the next round and I believe we have the strength to do that."

Last updated: 22/10/08 23.30CET

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