Serbia mourning death of Miljanić

UEFA President Michel Platini has paid tribute to Miljan Miljanić, the honorary president of the Football Association of Serbia and former Yugoslavia coach, who died aged 81 on Friday.

Former Yugoslavia coach Miljan Miljanić
Former Yugoslavia coach Miljan Miljanić ©FSS

The honorary president of the Football Association of Serbia (FSS) and former Yugoslavian national team coach, Miljan Miljanić, has died at the age of 81. Miljanić was a legendary footballing figure in the former Yugoslavia and Serbia, and was a respected football personality around the world.

Miljanić was born on 4 May 1930 in Bitola (now the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia). A player with FK Crvena zvezda, his career ended early through injury. He served as coach of the Belgrade club between 1966 and 1974 and won ten domestic trophies.

He then moved on to Real Madrid CF – where he achieved a notable domestic double in 1974/75 and another league title the following season – Valencia CF and Kuwaiti clubs Kacia and al-Ain. In addition, Miljanić was twice head coach of Yugoslavia – from 1973 to 1974, and from 1979 until 1982 – and under his direction they took part in the 1974 and 1982 FIFA World Cups.

From 1992 until 2001, Miljanić was president of the Yugoslav Football Association (FSJ), before going on to serve in the honorary president's position in the FSS. Fluent in several languages and a voracious student of the game who travelled worldwide to observe football trends, he wrote a number of books. He received the UEFA Order of Merit in Emerald in 2004.

"I was saddened to hear of the passing of Miljan Miljanić," said UEFA President Michel Platini in paying tribute. "I respected him greatly, both as a coach and a football visionary. He was a symbolic figure in football in Yugoslavia and Serbia, and was renowned throughout the football world."

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