Luka Milivojevic has gained true cult status since joining Crystal Palace just over a year ago, opening up to Henry Winter in the interview attached just below about the experiences back home in Serbia which shaped him into the man he is today.
Having become a key cog in the side under all three of the managers he’s played for during his time at Selhurst Park, Luka has undoubtedly filled the sizeable hole that was left in the squad when previous captain Mile Jedinak was sold to Aston Villa.
Tough tackling and the first to step up when the team are awarded a spot kick, there are plenty of on-field similarities between Luka and Mile but away from the game itself, it’s become clear that both also have a deeply-rooted sense of morals, making them the ideal characters to lead their teammates from week to week.
Reading this piece, you’ll soon discover the struggles he was forced to live through as a child, having been born in a country that was torn apart at the seams by war. Whilst I can’t even begin to understand how that felt to him as a young boy, I feel confident in saying that those early years have helped to shape him into the man he is today.
As you would expect from a writer of Henry Winter’s quality, the interview strikes the perfect balance between background and insight into the present day, drawing comments from Milivojevic about Allardyce, De Boer, Hodgson, the 4-0 home defeat to Sunderland and much more.
Personally, my favourite section of the entire piece focusses on the Serbian’s protection of Wilfried Zaha during our home victory over Burnley earlier this season. As I’m sure you’ll remember, the winger was ganged up on by three or four of the Clarets’ players, only for Luka to sprint across and do the job of a bodyguard in a bid to protect the man who is unquestionably the club’s most prized asset.
It’s one thing saying that you’ll put your body on the line when the time calls and another actually doing it in the heat of the moment; luckily for us, we have a player in Luka Milivojevic who walks the walk just as well as he talks the talk.