Brazilian Wagner still orchestrating things at 36

When Wagner arrived in Bosnia and Herzegovina in 2003 he expected to spend a couple of years there and move on. Over a decade on he has become an institution, rewriting records.

Wagner has been a familiar face in the Široki Brijeg for ten years
Wagner has been a familiar face in the Široki Brijeg for ten years ©Fedja Krvavac

When Wagner arrived in Bosnia and Herzegovina from his native Brazil in 2003 he expected to stay a couple of seasons and move on. Eleven seasons later and he is still there.

On Saturday fans of NK Široki Brijeg were treated to the now familiar sight of their captain wheeling away in celebration after scoring in the 2-0 victory at FK Mladost Velika Obarska. It was Wagner's fifth goal of the season and, more significantly, his 91st goal in the Bosnian and Herzegovinian Premier League – surpassing current FK Sarajevo striker Emir Obuća's record of 90.

"When I arrived in Bosnia and Herzegovina, I thought I'd play there for two seasons – now I will probably end my player career at Široki Brijeg," said the 36-year-old. "I have one championship and two Bosnia and Herzegovinian Cups, but this year I want the double, as well as the top scorer prize."

©Fedja Krvavac

Wagner took that personal title last season with 18 goals, and a similar total this would take him beyond the century mark overall. Široki Brijeg are also making good progress on the league front, opening up a three-point lead after eight rounds – victory in this Sunday's meeting with the only other unbeaten team, FK Sarajevo, would underline their billing as favourites.

Wagner, an attacking midfielder, actually began his career in the country at NK Posušje, spending two seasons there before linking up with neighbouring Široki Brijeg. He won the cup in 2007 and 2013 having captured the league title in 2005/06 – they have finished runners-up four times since, including last season. Wagner is determined to end the wait.