Dragan Stojković

Dragan Stojković (Piksi)

Dragan Stojković as manager of Guangzhou R&F
Personal information
Full name Dragan Stojković
Date of birth (1965-03-03) 3 March 1965
Place of birth Niš, SFR Yugoslavia
Height 1.75 m (5 ft 9 in)
Playing position Midfielder
Club information
Current team
Guangzhou R&F (manager)
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1981–1986 Radnički Niš 70 (8)
1986–1990 Red Star Belgrade 120 (54)
1990–1994 Marseille 29 (5)
1991–1992Hellas Verona (loan) 19 (1)
1994–2001 Nagoya Grampus Eight 184 (57)
Total 422 (125)
National team
1983–2001 Yugoslavia[1] 84 (15)
Teams managed
2008–2013 Nagoya Grampus
2015– Guangzhou R&F

* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.

Dragan Stojković (Serbian Cyrillic: Драган Стојковић, born 3 March 1965 in Niš, Serbia), also known under the nickname Piksi (Пикси), is a Serbian former footballer who played as a midfielder, and current manager of Guangzhou R&F.

Stojković was long time captain of the Yugoslavia national football team and Red Star Belgrade,[2] and is considered one of the best players in the history of Yugoslavian and Serbian football. He starred for Yugoslavia at the 1990 FIFA World Cup (where he was named in the World Cup All-Star Team) and 1998 FIFA World Cup where he captained the team.

He is one of the five players to be awarded the title Star of the Red Star. He is widely considered to have never shown his true potential in Europe[3] as injury prevented him from establishing himself at Marseille over the long term. Despite this, there is consensus among critics that he displayed an extraordinary ability throughout his career in spite of his chronic injuries, being most renowned in Japan.[4][5]

Early life

Born to father Dobrivoje and mother Desanka in Niš, SR Serbia, SFR Yugoslavia, Stojković took to football very early while growing up in Pasi Poljana community near Niš. He has been nicknamed Piksi after Pixie, one of the characters from the cartoon Pixie and Dixie and Mr. Jinks.[6]

Club career

Radnički Niš

A 175 cm, 73 kg midfielder and occasional forward, Stojković began his professional playing career with Yugoslav First League and hometown side Radnički Niš in 1981–82 when he made one first-team appearance. The next four seasons, Stojković appeared in 69 matches for Radnički and scored eight goals.

Red Star Belgrade

In the summer of 1986, twenty-one-year-old Stojković moved to Red Star Belgrade where he would spend the next four seasons, scoring 54 times in 120 appearances.

Olympique de Marseille

In the summer of 1990, twenty-five-year-old Stojković made the much publicized move to Olympique de Marseille for a transfer fee of £5.5 million, joining the star-laden squad bankrolled by French businessman/politician Bernard Tapie. The expectations were sky-high with a team featuring world-class players such as Jean-Pierre Papin, Éric Cantona, Chris Waddle, Carlos Mozer, Manuel Amoros, Didier Deschamps, Jean Tigana, Abédi Pelé, etc. as well as newly arrived defender Basile Boli and new head coach Franz Beckenbauer fresh off winning the 1990 FIFA World Cup with Germany. Stojković had his own shining moments at the said World Cup, all of which only contributed to Marseille's interest.

Early into his debut season, Stojković sustained a knee injury for which he had to have surgery in Germany, forcing him to the sidelines for months. In fact, the entire 1990–91 league season was injury riddled for the Serb and he ended up making only eleven league appearances. Beckenbauer stepped down from the coaching post during the winter break, although he remained with the club in an adviser capacity. The new head coach to replace the famous German was Raymond Goethals. In the final of the UEFA European Champions' Cup, Marseille played against Stojković's former team Red Star. Stojković, a penalty kick specialist, entered the game late during the extra-time as a substitute, but as the match eventually went to a penalty shootout, he informed head coach Goethals that he did not want to take a penalty shot against his former team. Red Star won the European Cup in the shootout.

He would remain Marseille player for the next four seasons with a half-season loan move to Hellas Verona sandwiched in-between his stints in Marseille.

Nagoya Grampus Eight

In the spring of 1994 Stojković signed with Japanese J-League team Nagoya Grampus Eight, then managed by Arsène Wenger and featuring Gary Lineker. He spent seven seasons with Grampus Eight, retiring as a player in 2001. Stojković played 183 matches for the club, scoring 57 times. He was named J-League MVP for the 1995 season.

International career

Youth level

Stojković made his under-21 debut on 11 October 1983 versus Norway in Pančevo as part of qualifying for the 1984 UEFA European Under-21 Football Championship. Playing under head coach Ivan Toplak, the youngster from Radnički Niš scored on his debut as Yugoslavia won 6–2.[7]

National team

Stojković made 84 career international appearances, scoring 15 times, those split between the SFR Yugoslavia national team and the FR Yugoslavia national team. He played for the former in UEFA Euro 1984, 1984 Summer Olympics, 1988 Summer Olympics and the 1990 FIFA World Cup and for the latter in the 1998 FIFA World Cup and UEFA Euro 2000. He made his international debut on 12 November 1983 in a scoreless draw against France.

At the 1990 World Cup, Stojković scored both goals in Yugoslavia's 2–1 round-of-16 defeat of Spain in Verona. In the quarter-final, he was one of three Yugoslavs to miss in the 3–2 penalty shootout defeat to world champions Argentina.[8]

His final international match was against the country he spent much of his playing career in, Japan, on 4 July 2001.

International statistics


Yugoslavia national team

Style of play

A highly skilful midfield playmaker, Stojković was also capable of playing as an attacking midfielder, as a central midfielder, or as a forward; he was known in particular for his vision, technique, creativity, dribbling skills, and passing ability.[10] Despite his talent, his career was affected by several injuries, which hindered his potential.[11]

Administrative career

FA president

Upon retiring in 2001, 36-year-old Stojković immediately became the Yugoslav Football Association president, succeeding Miljan Miljanić. Though Stojković's appointment initially received wide public approval, his 4-year tenure will be remembered for 2006 world cup qualifier.

During that period he was elected as a member of the UEFA technical committee and member of FIFA football committee for an 8-year term.

Red Star Belgrade president

In July 2005, Stojković became the president of Red Star Belgrade. Similar to his FA appointment 4 years earlier, Stojković again became a successor to another long term, larger than life figure, Dragan Džajić who occupied various leading positions within the club's administration during the previous 26 years. This transfer of power was full of controversy with plenty of lobbying behind the scenes and at times open feuding in the press.

2005–06 season

One of Stojković's first orders of business ahead of the 2005–06 season was firing the head coach he inherited, Ratko Dostanić, and bringing Walter Zenga who thus became the first foreigner ever to coach Red Star. Calling on his Japan connections, Stojković also got Toyota Motor Corporation to invest in the club through a shirt sponsorship deal. Additionally, he also opened the club's doors to various prominent Serbian companies like Delta Holding and Telekom Srbija thus creating a pool of sponsors.

On the player personnel front, Stojković initially more-or-less continued the existing "buy low sell high" policy that meant players were mostly recruited from Red Star's own youth system or smaller clubs throughout Serbia and Montenegro, and then sold abroad as soon as they gained some exposure on the European scene. Stojković's most prominent initial move was loaning out striker Marko Pantelić to Hertha Berlin for €250,000 on the last day of the summer 2005 transfer window (Pantelić was eventually sold to Hertha for additional €1.5 million in April 2006). On the other hand, 20-year-old striker Milan Purović and 22-year-old keeper Vladimir Stojković were brought to the club from Budućnost Podgorica and FK Zemun, respectively. Additionally, by bringing in Ghanaian midfielder Haminu Dramani, president Stojković indicated he was also interested in affordable foreign imports, which would soon become a staple of his transfer policy. All three new arrivals gelled well with the existing squad (featuring the likes of Nikola Žigić, Boško Janković, Milan Biševac, Dušan Basta, Nenad Kovačević, Aleksandar Luković, and Milan Dudić), as Red Star won the domestic double in impressive fashion. The club also played some impressive football in UEFA Cup where on last group matchday only a late goal by RC Strasbourg's Kevin Gameiro prevented them from progressing to the eight-finals.

2006–07 season

Winning the double combined with some fine European outings during previous season raised the fans' expectations considerably as they now wanted the existing Red Star squad to be kept intact (especially Nikola Žigić who reportedly at the time became a target of some high-profile English Premiership clubs) in order to make a serious run at qualifying for the UEFA Champions League. However, the first move came as a complete shock – president Stojković sold goalkeeper Vladimir Stojković to FC Nantes, reportedly for €3 million. Trying to deal with the angry fan reaction, he attempted to explain that the move had been necessary to cover the club debt that grew to alarming levels following years of mismanagement and unpaid commitments of some key sponsor pool members.[12] The wholesale continued with Nenad Kovačević, Milan Dudić, Haminu Dramani, Aleksandar Luković, and Boško Janković also leaving, but their departures caused comparatively less angry fan reaction. However most were still disappointed to see the winning team disassembled and sold off so quickly.

On 12 October 2007 Stojković announced that he was stepping down as the president of Red Star Belgrade.[13]

Coaching career

Stojković returned to Japan to take over as manager of his former club, Nagoya Grampus, on 22 January 2008. On 15 March 2008 the former J.League MVP won his first game as manager as Nagoya Grampus stunned AFC Champions League 2007 Champions Urawa Reds 2–0 at Urawa's home, the Saitama Stadium. Despite his glorious playing career at Nagoya, some Nagoya fans were initially worried about his lack of experience as a coach; however, his team finished in 3rd place and he led the club to AFC Champions League for the first time in his debut season.

In a 2009 J.League match between Yokohama F. Marinos and Nagoya Grampus, Stojković amazed everyone by scoring a goal from his technical area. One of the players had just been injured, so the goalkeeper Tetsuya Enomoto kicked the ball out of play to stop the game. Stojković got out of his seat in the dugout and volleyed the ball, which went high into the air before dipping into goal.[14] For this action he was sent off by the referee.[15]

On 20 November 2010, Stojković led Grampus to the J. League title, the club's very first. Stojković has stated that he had learnt a lot about football from former manager Arsène Wenger, who had led the club to their previous best showing in 1995 when they finished runners-up and Emperor's Cup champions, and had kept regular contact with him, with Wenger giving him advice and congratulating him on the club's success. Stojković has been named by Wenger as the person he would like to take over Arsenal when he has gone[16] stating "Our ideas are the same and we both strive for perfect football."[17] After the successful 2010 season, Stojković was awarded the J. League Manager of the Year.

Stojković was announced as manager of Chinese Super League side Guangzhou R&F on 24 August 2015.[18] on a contract that will expire in 2017.[19]

Managerial statistics


Team From To Record
Nagoya Grampus 2008 2013 204 103 42 59 50.49
Total 204 103 42 59 50.49



Red Star Belgrade
Nagoya Grampus Eight


Nagoya Grampus Eight


TV advertisements


  1. "Yugoslavia (Serbia (and Montenegro)) – Record International Players". Rec.Sport.Soccer Statistics Foundation. 20 February 2009. Retrieved 12 March 2009.
  2. Piksi on Red Star official web site
  3. Outside of the Boot: Dragan Stojkovic, one of the Greatest – By Uros Popovic. 17 May 2013
  4. Asian Football Feast: Top 10 Japanese Foreigners: No 1 – Dragan Piksi Stojkovic. December 2012
  5. The Inside Left: Then and Now: Dragan Stojkovic. By Dominic Bliss
  6. Dragan Stojković Piksi (Serbian)
  7. Yugoslavia-Norway 6:2;1984 Euro qualifying, 11 October 1983
  8. "Osim recalls what might have been for a brilliant Yugoslavia in 1990". Sports Illustrated. 1 July 2010. Retrieved 18 June 2014.
  9. http://www.rsssf.com/miscellaneous/dstojkovic-intlg.html
  10. "100 top World Cup footballers: No100 to No61". The Guardian. 27 May 2014. Retrieved 15 June 2016.
  11. "Dragan Stojkovic" (in Italian). hellastory.net. 7 September 2004. Retrieved 27 February 2016.
  12. Dragan Stojković: "Morali smo..."
  13. Stojković podneo ostavku na mesto predsednika Zvezde;Blic, 13 October 2007
  14. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XQPR43v64e4
  15. Youtube: A nice goal by the Manager, Dragan Stojkovic ejected him out from the pitch.
  16. John Duerden (5 November 2010). "Stojkovic doing things the Wenger way". ESPNsoccernet. Retrieved 20 November 2010.
  17. http://soccernet.espn.go.com/news/story/_/id/876897/arsene-wenger-lines-up-dragan-stojkovic-as-arsenal-successor
  18. "关于聘请德拉甘·斯托伊科维奇担任广州富力足球俱乐部主教练的公告-公告". www.gzrffc.com.cn. Retrieved 2016-03-12.
  19. "Stojkovic hired to lead Chinese team". Japan Times. Japan Times. Retrieved 22 May 2016.
  20. J.League Data Site(Japanese)
  21. "Stojkovic: Football can promote solidarity". FIFA.com. 3 May 2011. Retrieved 13 June 2016.
  22. "Wenger wants Stojkovic to replace him at Arsenal". ESPN. 6 February 2016. Retrieved 30 October 2016.
  23. "Skoblar dernier joueur de la dream team des 110 ans". OM.net (Olympique de Marseille). 24 April 2010. Retrieved 13 June 2016.
  24. FIFA XI´s Matches - Full Info
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Dragan Stojković.
Sporting positions
Preceded by
Zlatko Vujović
Yugoslavia captain
Succeeded by
Savo Milošević
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