Dejan Stanković was born on
September 11, 1978 in Zemun, a suburb of Belgrade, the capital
of Serbia and Montenegro. Both of his parents, Borislav and
Dragica, had strong soccer (football) backgrounds.
Stanković is a midfielder who currently plays for Internazionale
in Milano. Previous club teams included Red Star Belgrade and
Lazio of Rome. "Deki" made his international debut, for
Yugoslavia, against South Korea on April 22, 1998.
He is the captain of the Serbia and Montenegro national football
Dejan initially made his name with Red Star Belgrade, his
hometown club for which he's played in every age category. First
opportunity for senior team action came in 1994/95 season and he
used it to bag his first goal against FK Budućnost Podgorica. He
soon became a first team regular and fan favourite.
In those years Red Star was under the international ban beacuse
of UN embargo imposed on FR Yugoslavia meaning the team could
not compete in European competition. The ban was finally lifted
in 1996/97 season, and Dejan played a huge part in a memorable
2-leg victory over 1.FC Kaiserslautern in Cup Winners' Cup.
Next season he was picked to be the squad captain, the youngest
ever in club's history.
In the summer of 1998, he transferred for £7.5 million to S.S.
Lazio where he scored on his Serie A debut versus Piacenza in
September 1998. In those years, Lazio had an all-star squad,
loaded at every position, so it was no small feat that young
Dejan was able to hold down a regular first-team place alongside
midfield mates like Pavel Nedved, Juan Sebastian Veron, Iván de
la Peña, Roberto Mancini, etc. He put in 5 and a half memorable
seasons in the biancoceleste part of Rome, before moving on to
Internazionale in January 2004.
Since most of the big-name teams in Italian football knew the
financially strapped S.S. Lazio would have to sell Dejan sooner
or later, they were jockeying for his services for quite some
time before the transfer finally happened. Juventus was very
interested and came close to Dejan's signature, but he picked
Internazionale instead, perhaps prefering to be reunited with
his former teammate and coach at Lazio, Roberto Mancini.