How brilliant is Roma's Edin Džeko?

The 'Bosnian Diamond' has re-energised his career in Serie A with Roma, but his goalscoring records have always marked Edin Džeko out as something special.

Edin Džeko with the match ball after scoring a hat-trick against Villarreal
Edin Džeko with the match ball after scoring a hat-trick against Villarreal ©AFP/Getty Images

Feted in his home country as the 'Bosnian Diamond', Edin Džeko is sparkling in his second season at Roma after spending a long time as an impact substitute at Manchester City. always knew he had it in him. 

What they say
"Edin has convinced himself that he can't wait as a striker just to score one goal. He has to play for 95 minutes every game, not always scoring but working for the team and making the movements."
Manuel Pellegrini, former Manchester City manager

"If a coach could make a striker, I'd make one like Džeko. He's the perfect prototype: strong, tall, fast for his height, combative, aggressive and has good technique."
Luciano Spalletti, Roma coach

Watch five goals from Edin Džeko
Watch five goals from Edin Džeko

"He's rubbish at football, but great at goalscoring."
Noel Gallagher, Oasis songwriter and Manchester City fan

"Edin is the best striker in Europe. You will see. He is better than Ibrahimović."
Miroslav Blažević, former Switzerland, Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina coach

"Italian journalists gave me funny looks and even laughed when I said Džeko would be Serie A top scorer after a bad first season. Who's laughing now?"
Mehmed Baždarević, Bosnia and Herzegovina coach

"I met him for the first time in 2003, when I started to coach Željezničar; he was 17 and amazingly no one saw him as any kind of talent. But I saw his gift."
Jiří Plíšek, former Željezničar coach

Current tally
International: 82 appearances, 49 goals
UEFA club competition: 68 appearances, 22 goals
Domestic competition: 426 appearances, 187 goals

Džeko takes Crossbar Challenge
Džeko takes Crossbar Challenge

Claims to fame

• He started out as a midfielder, winning a junior cup with the Sarajevo club in 2002/03, with his youth coach Jusuf Šehović remembering: "He had the talent, but even more he had persistence. I never doubted he would become a great player, and that's why I'm proud. He exceeded all expectations. He is our jewel."

• However, one unnamed director of the club was quoted as saying that selling Džeko to Teplice for a reported €25,000 in 2005 was like "winning the lottery" for the Railwaymen, where he was not regarded by some as a great prospect.

Teplice and Ústí nad Labem (loan)
• Six goals in 15 games out on loan at second division Ústí nad Labem was regarded as a decent total for the young Džeko, who made the Teplice first team the following season; in 2006/07, he was the league's second highest scorer with 13 goals (Mladá Boleslav's Luboš Pecka came top with 16) and earned a move to Wolfsburg.

Grafite and Džeko scored at a fearsome rate for Wolfsburg
Grafite and Džeko scored at a fearsome rate for Wolfsburg©Getty Images

• Fine-tuned under coach Felix Magath ("I am more physically fit than ever before," Džeko said) the Bosnian (26 goals) and Brazilian forward Grafite (28) racked up 54 goals between them as Wolfsburg won the 2008/09 German title, making them the best goalscoring double-act ever in the German top division, beating Gerd Müller and Uli Hoeness's tally of 53 for Bayern in 1971/72.

• Džeko was then voted Bundesliga player of the season, and also finished the campaign as top scorer in the German Cup (six goals).

• Bundesliga top scorer in 2009/10 with 22 goals, Džeko also chimed in with ten assists – a measure of his generosity. "Goalscorers are selfish - Edin Džeko is not; for him the most important thing is that the team scores," explained former Želježnicar and Yugoslavia midfielder Ivica Osim.

• Left for Manchester City in 2011 as Wolfsburg's all-time top scorer (66 goals) and their joint top marksman in UEFA competitions – level with Grafite on nine goals.

Džeko won the title with City in 2011/12
Džeko won the title with City in 2011/12©Getty Images

Manchester City
• Became the first City player to score four in a Premier League game in a 5-1 win at Tottenham Hotspur on 28 August 2011, his haul including a perfect hat-trick (left foot, right foot, head).

Scored in the 3-2 win against QPR on the final day of the season that earned City their first league title in 44 years.

• Scored the second fastest goal ever in a Manchester derby, 45 seconds into a game at Old Trafford on 24 March 2014; only City's Dennis Tueart (after 39 seconds on 12 November 1975) could beat that.

• His overall haul in six Premier League derbies was four goals (all at Old Trafford) in just 174 minutes of football. Factor in a Community Shield goal and two more against United for Wolfsburg, and he struck seven times in nine games against the Red Devils – an average of a goal every 63 minutes. Is that some kind of record?

• Left for Roma in 2015 having won every major English honour: two Premier League titles (2011/12, 2013/14), the FA Cup (2010/11), the League Cup (2013/14) and the pre-season Community Shield (2012).

Džeko picked himself up after a sluggish first Roma season
Džeko picked himself up after a sluggish first Roma season©AFP/Getty Images

• Transformed after a sluggish first season, he scored ten in his first ten Serie A games of 2016/17 – the first player to do so for the club since Gabriel Batistuta in the Giallorossi's title-winning 2000/01 campaign.

• Is now the top scoring player from Yugoslavia or any former Yugoslav nation in Europe's top-five leagues (Spain, England, Germany, Italy, France) having surpassed Davor Šuker's tally of 129 with his sixth of this season – his first in a 3-1 win at Napoli on 15 October.

Bosnia and Herzegovina national team
• Eclipsed Zvjezdan Misimović and Elvir Bolić to become Bosnia's top scorer on 7 September 2012 with a hat-trick against Liechtenstein.

• His ten goals in qualifying helped the Dragons qualify for their first major international final tournament, the 2014 FIFA World Cup.

What you might not know
• His upbringing was interrupted by the war in the Balkans. "I was six when the war started. It was terrible. My house was destroyed so we went to live with my grandparents. The whole family was there, maybe 15 people all staying in an apartment about 35m square. It was very hard. We were stressed every day in case somebody we knew died. A lot of footballers start to play kicking a ball around in the street but for me that was impossible. But when the war finished I was much stronger, mentally."

• Seen as too tall and clumsy to succeed as a midfielder during his time at Zelježničar, Džeko was nicknamed 'Kloc' – the local slang term for a lamp-post or the pole that holds up a road sign.

• Felix Magath signed him for Wolfsburg without seeing him in the flesh; scout analysis and video highlights were enough to convince him that Džeko was the right man.

• Džeko's footballing intelligence extends to languages; when he came to the Czech Republic with Manchester City for a meeting with Viktoria Plzeň, he answered reporters' questions in fluent Czech. Aside from his native language, he also speaks German and English – and a bit of Italian too. 

• His ties to his home country remain strong; he has a Bosnian wife, model Amra Silajdžić who he married on 31 March 2014, with their daughter Una born in February this year. Asked whether he would settle in England after his playing career was over he replied: "After I finish with football, I will definitely go home."

• While he is wowing Roma, he said – during his time at Wolfsburg – that AC Milan was his "dream club", saying: "At some point in my career, I want to play there." His boyhood idol was Andriy Shevchenko. 

What he says
"Regardless of what I was and who I am, above all, the most important thing is to remain human. I have to thank my parents for how I was raised, and I have brought that idea from home."

"At international level, I have not achieved everything I want. We are fighting for Russia 2018 but I hope to still be fit to play for the Dragons at EURO 2020."

"I always try to do my best. Sometimes is that enough to get a good result, sometimes not, but I never give up and I never will."

"Goals don't bother me, even though it is my job. I am as happy when team-mates scores as I am when I score. Winning is what matters."

"I won the title in Germany and England – now its Italy's turn."

The 'Bosnian Diamond' is his national team's all-time top scorer
The 'Bosnian Diamond' is his national team's all-time top scorer©Getty Images

What he might achieve yet
• Gonzalo Higuaín set a record with 36 Serie A goals for Napoli last season; after 14 games, he had scored 12 – as many as Džeko has hit at the same stage. Can he keep up the pace?

• He needs one more international goal to become only the 18th European man to make it to 50 strikes for his country.

• He needs four more World Cup qualifying goals to match boyhood idol Shevchenko's European record of 26.

• He trails his 36-year-old first cousin Emir Spahić's national record of 93 for Bosnia and Herzegovina by 11; can he close that gap?