Zoran Tošić is enjoying the best moments of his career so far with FK Partizan, but the 21-year-old left winger insists he is still just "a normal guy who loves his dog, his home town of Zrenjanin and his girlfriend Dijana".
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Zoran Tošić is enjoying the best moments of his career so far with FK Partizan, but the 21-year-old left-winger insists he is still just "a normal guy who loves his dog, his home town of Zrenjanin and his girlfriend Dijana".
A few years ago, there was little to distinguish Tošić from a raft of teenage players in Serbia. However, his life was to change dramatically after Nikola Rakojević, his coach at hometown club FK Banat Zrenjanin, decided to try him out on the left. Inspired in his new position, he reached the 2007 UEFA European Under-21 Championship final with Serbia, and moved to Partizan in the summer.
If the summer of 2007 was a good one for Tošić, the summer of 2008 has been truly sensational. Fresh from a trip to the Olympics, Tošić has emerged as the star of the new season in Serbia with four goals in the league and another in Partizan's 2-1 UEFA Cup first round first-leg win at FC Timişoara. He has demonstrated his genius from free-kicks and scored a 30-metre effort from open play in his last league game.
"These are great times, the best of my life," he told uefa.com. "I always work hard, but all players can say that. However I believe in honest work. If you give 100 per cent each day and in every training session, then playing well is like a glorious gift. Now, I am enjoying myself but am looking to work harder, because a few games do not mean anything. It can all turn in a few weekends."
Having had "a great experience" at the Olympics in China, Tošić had very little time off before starting the season with Partizan, but he and his club hit the ground running. With arch rivals FK Crvena Zvezda in crisis, Partizan top the table and a draw at home to Timişoara on Thursday would take them into the UEFA Cup group stage.
"When results go your way, you have no pressure, which is very important," he said. "We started well and want to carry on the same way and reach the UEFA Cup group stage. European competition means so much for us and we to test ourselves against strong opponents. If we can do well in Europe, we will have the best proof of our calibre. I really believe that."
Tošić is also likely to have games to play in the FIFA World Cup, having played in Serbia's first two qualifiers. "I am really optimist about Serbia's future, but let us prove that on the pitch," he said. However, he is adamant that his new star status will not change him, calling himself "a normal guy who loves his dog, his home town of Zrenjanin, his girlfriend Dijana and going to the cinema".