Mateja Kežman

Mateja Kežman

Kežman in 2009
Personal information
Full name Mateja Kežman
Date of birth (1979-04-12) 12 April 1979
Place of birth Belgrade, SFR Yugoslavia
Height 1.80 m (5 ft 11 in)
Playing position Striker
Youth career
1986–1996 Zemun
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1996–1997 Radnički Pirot 17 (11)
1997 Loznica 13 (5)
1998 Sartid Smederevo 14 (4)
1998–2000 Partizan 54 (33)
2000–2004 PSV 122 (105)
2004–2005 Chelsea 25 (4)
2005–2006 Atlético Madrid 30 (8)
2006–2009 Fenerbahçe 46 (20)
2008–2009Paris Saint-Germain (loan) 21 (3)
2009–2010 Paris Saint-Germain 14 (2)
2009Zenit Saint Petersburg (loan) 10 (2)
2011 South China 6 (2)
2011 BATE Borisov 6 (0)
2012 South China 0 (0)
Total 378 (199)
National team
1996–1997 FR Yugoslavia U18[1] 8 (1)
1998–2000 FR Yugoslavia U21[1] 4 (4)
2000–2006 Serbia and Montenegro 49 (17)

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

Mateja Kežman (Serbian Cyrillic: Матеја Кежман; born 12 April 1979) is a Serbian former professional footballer who played as a striker.

Upon playing in his homeland, Kežman went on to play top-flight football in the Netherlands, England, Spain, Turkey, France, Russia, Hong Kong and Belarus. He is arguably best known for his career at PSV, earning numerous awards and worldwide recognition as having the potential to be one of the greatest strikers of his generation, being named Dutch Footballer of the Year in 2003. Kežman was subsequently labeled as a flop after his spell at Chelsea, as there were extremely high expectations of him.[2] By the end of his illustrious career, he had amassed a record amount of championship medals in the top-tier competitions of five different countries.[3] Internationally, Kežman represented FR Yugoslavia / Serbia and Montenegro in one European Championship and one World Cup.

After finishing his professional playing career, Kežman became a sports agent.[4] He also served as a director of football at Vojvodina in 2013.

Early and personal life

Kežman's father Zlatko was also a footballer who played as a goalkeeper, spending the majority of his career with Zemun.[5]

His early career at Partizan was disrupted by NATO's airstrikes on Belgrade in 1999.[6] In 2003, he took protection when a Yugoslav criminal threatened to kidnap him and hold PSV to ransom.[6]

Kežman is a devout member of the Serbian Orthodox Church. During his time in the Netherlands, he prayed in the German city of Dortmund to retain his privacy.[6] Although he considers his addiction to tattoos to be a vice, his tattoos are of a religious theme, and while playing he wore an undershirt with a printed icon of Jesus; this drew media attention during his spell in Turkey.[7] He pledged to become a monk in the church.[8]

Club career


At the age of 19, Kežman joined Partizan. In his two seasons at the club, Kežman made a name for himself as a prolific striker and became a favourite among the fans of the club. He scored a total of 33 league goals in 54 appearances and was the top scorer of the national championship in the 1999–2000 season.


In the summer of 2000, Kežman completed his move to Dutch club PSV.[9] In his debut season, he was the league's top scorer, achieving 24 goals in 33 games as PSV won the title. He also picked up the nickname 'Batman', because the famous theme song was played at Philips Stadion every time he scored. He formed a successful partnership with Arjen Robben, and they gained the epithet 'Batman and Robben', a pun on Batman and Robin.

Kežman went to score 81 goals over the following three seasons with PSV. His best season in terms of both goals and appearances was 2002–03 when he played 33 out of 34 of PSV's matches and scored 35 goals to help them win the title.


Kežman spent the 2004–05 season at Chelsea and scored seven goals in 40 appearances in all competitions. He was signed for the club on 13 July 2004 for £5.3 million by José Mourinho.[10] He wore the number 9 shirt left vacant by Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink's transfer to Middlesbrough.

He played 24 league games and scored four goals. The first goal came on 4 December 2004 in a 4–0 victory over Newcastle United at home, with an injury time penalty after coming on as a substitute in the 61st minute.[11] He did not score again until 11 March 2005 in a 3–1 away victory over Norwich City, who were relegated at the end of the season. Eight days later he scored twice at home against another team that would be relegated, Crystal Palace, as Chelsea won 4–1. At the end of the season Chelsea won their first league title since 1954–55.

His first ever goal for Chelsea was in League Cup third round at home to West Ham United on 27 October 2004. It was the only goal of the game.[12] He scored a goal in extra time (112th minute) of the 2005 League Cup Final against Liverpool. Chelsea won 3–2 after it finished 1–1 after 90 minutes.

Kežman scored a goal in the 3rd round of that season's FA Cup against Scunthorpe United as Chelsea won 3–1 at home.

In 2011, Kežman revealed to Sky Sports that his time at Chelsea was the best he has ever had in football, despite failing to make an impact for the club: "Chelsea was the best thing in my career. That was the climax of my career, for sure. Living and playing in London was something that I will never forget. I don't know if I made a mistake because I moved away so quickly. Maybe I do and maybe I don't regret it, but I always believe in my decisions. But the transfer to Chelsea made my dreams come true. That was the best thing that ever happened to me. Maybe I could achieve more and I could have been more successful at Stamford Bridge, but I don't regret anything."[13]

Atlético Madrid

Kežman left Chelsea for Atlético Madrid of Spain's Primera División on 29 June 2005 for £5.3 million, the same price as he had joined Chelsea.[14] He soon suffered a knee injury, which he did not recover from until after New Year's in 2006. Initially, the appointment of José Murcia as coach allegedly boosted Kežman's confidence, but by the end of his spell in Madrid, Kežman actually scored more goals (six) under Carlos Bianchi than with Murcia (with whom he scored a total of two goals in the remainder of the season).[15] Atlético ended the season in 10th and were knocked out by Real Zaragoza in the Copa del Rey round of 16. Kežman scored a total of eight goals in 30 league matches, often in a strike partnership with Fernando Torres.


Kežman with Fenerbahçe in 2008

In the summer of 2006, Kežman was transferred to Fenerbahçe on a four-year contract.[16] He played a central role in Fenerbahçe winning the 2006–07 Süper Lig in their centennial year. In the 2007–08 UEFA Champions League, he appeared in over half of Fenerbahçe's group stage matches against the likes of his former club PSV, Internazionale and CSKA Moscow. Ironically, he even played against Chelsea over both legs of the 2008 Champions League quarter-finals; the first of which he started and showed off with a close bicycle kick in a 2–1 win,[17] while in the second leg he was subbed in during the dying minutes of his team's 2–0 loss at Stamford Bridge, where Fenerbahçe was eliminated in the longest-lasting Champions League campaign in the club's history. As a result of this and the preceding regular season, in which Kežman scored almost a goal every other game by statistical average, Fenerbahçe S.K. supporters revered him even in the years after he left Istanbul in his journeyman years.

Paris Saint-Germain

On 19 August 2008, Kežman signed for Paris Saint-Germain, a one-year loan with a buyout clause.[18] He appeared in 21 league matches, mostly as substitute, and scored three goals.

On 30 August 2009, it was announced that Kežman would be joining Zenit Saint Petersburg from Paris Saint-Germain on a season-long loan, with a purchase option for an undisclosed fee.[19] The next day, the transfer had been officially confirmed when the player passed medical examinations.[20] He scored two goals for Zenit helping the team to finish 3rd in the Russian Premier League, but the Russian side decided not to retain his services, and he returned to Paris in January 2010.[21]

On 3 November 2010, Kežman's contract with PSG was terminated by mutual consent.[22][23][24]

South China

On 20 January 2011, it was announced that Kežman had signed to play for South China for the rest of the 2010–11 Hong Kong First Division League.[25][26] Kežman made his debut on 29 January 2011 versus NT Realty Wofoo Tai Po which lost 1–0; he was substituted by Leung Chun Pong in the 64th minute.[27]

On 13 February 2011, in the League Cup semi-final against league leader Kitchee, Kežman scored his first goal for the club in the 32nd minute and his second goal seven minutes before the end.[28] South China beat Kitchee by 4–2 and entered the finals.

On 13 April 2011, in the 2011 AFC Cup group H match against Kingfisher East Bengal, Kežman scored his first AFC Cup goal in the 69th minute with a header, assisted by Au Yeung Yiu Chung.[29] His goal helped South China gain victory and moved up to 3rd position in the group, but he also received a yellow card in the match, his second yellow card in the tournament and he missed the away game to East Bengal.

In May 2011, after his team failed to progress into the 2011 AFC Cup knockout stage, following 2–4 loss to Indonesian outfit Persipura Jayapura, Kežman said to the media that the AFC Cup is a strange competition and kind of stupid. He blamed the hot weather and long travel to go to Jayapura as one of the factors why his team could not progress further.[30]

In the final match of the 2010–11 Hong Kong FA Cup, Kežman managed to take advantage of an opponent's defensive error and scored an outstanding goal in extra time to give his team a 2–1 win over NT Realty Wofoo Tai Po on 29 May 2011. The next day, Kežman finished his stint with South China after his four-month contract expired.[31]


On 31 August 2011, Kežman joined Belarusian side BATE Borisov as a free agent until the end of the year.[32] He was seen as a reinforcement for upcoming UEFA Champions League group stage games and as a potential replacement for seriously injured striker Vitali Rodionov. Ultimately, Kežman played six games in the Belarusian League and 5 games in the Champions League without scoring any goals. He parted ways with BATE after the last Champions League game against Barcelona.

Return to Hong Kong and retirement

In January 2012, Kežman returned to South China to play at the Asian Challenge Cup. He played his last professional match on 26 January 2012, missing the last penalty in the shoot-out series against Guangzhou R&F, in the third-place match.

International career

Kežman marked his senior international debut for FR Yugoslavia during March 2000 with a goal against China in a friendly match as part of the preparations for UEFA Euro 2000. Head coach Vujadin Boškov included him in the final 23-man roster that he took to Belgium and the Netherlands. Despite being the fourth attacking option behind Predrag Mijatović, Savo Milošević and Darko Kovačević, 21-year-old Kežman got his chance as substitute late in the group match versus Norway. However, after being on the pitch for about 90 seconds, he was sent off following a rash tackle on Erik Mykland.

In February 2003, after embarrassing performances of the team during UEFA Euro 2004 qualifying, Kežman announced that he retired from the national jersey.[33] However, Kežman returned to the team few months later, after Ilija Petković was appointed as the new coach.

Kežman led Serbia and Montenegro's scoring during the 2006 FIFA World Cup qualifications with five goals, including the only goal in the final game against Bosnia and Herzegovina which in turn allowed Serbia and Montenegro to qualify directly, having come first in their group. During the competition, he was sent off in a group match against Argentina by referee Roberto Rosetti.

After his sending off against Argentina at the 2006 FIFA World Cup, Kežman did not receive any call up for his country's national team.

During his six-year career in the national team, Kežman scored 17 goals in 49 appearances.[34]



Club Season League Cup League Cup Continental Other[35] Total
Partizan 1998–99 226625000338
1999–00 32272276004135
PSV 2000–01 332443114104931
2001–02 271521113114120
2002–03 33353460114340
2003–04 293110126114338
Chelsea 2004–05 25431429000417
Atlético Madrid 2005–06 3083200003310
Fenerbahçe 2006–07 2492072003311
2007–08 22114592113619
Paris Saint-Germain 2008–09 21322408300358
Zenit Saint Petersburg 2009 102000000102
Paris Saint-Germain 2009–10 13220000000152
2010–11 100000101030
South China 2010–11 6222125120167
BATE Borisov 2011 6000005000110
South China 2011–12 000000002020
Career total 3341793624949627104485238


National team Year Apps Goals
FR Yugoslavia 2000 7 2
2001 9 5
2002 10 3
Serbia and Montenegro 2003 4 0
2004 5 1
2005 10 5
2006 4 1
Total 49 17

International goals

Scores and results list Serbia and Montenegro's goal tally first.
Goal Date Venue Opponent Score Result Competition
1 25 May 2000 Workers Stadium, Beijing  China PR 1–0 2–0 Friendly
2 16 August 2000 Windsor Park, Belfast  Northern Ireland 1–1 2–1 Friendly
3 6 June 2001 Svangaskarð, Toftir  Faroe Islands 2–0 6–0 2002 FIFA World Cup qualifying
4 5–0
5 6–0
6 6 October 2001 Partizan Stadium, Belgrade  Luxembourg 3–2 6–0 2002 FIFA World Cup qualifying
7 6–2
8 13 February 2002 Bank One Ballpark, Phoenix  Mexico 1–0 2–1 Friendly
9 17 April 2002 Sartid Stadium, Smederevo  Lithuania 2–1 4–1 Friendly
10 3–1
11 17 November 2004 King Baudouin Stadium, Brussels  Belgium 2–0 2–0 2006 FIFA World Cup qualifying
12 17 August 2005 Valeriy Lobanovskyi Stadium, Kiev  Ukraine 1–2 1–2 Valeriy Lobanovskyi Tournament
13 3 September 2005 Red Star Stadium, Belgrade  Lithuania 1–0 2–0 2006 FIFA World Cup qualifying
14 7 September 2005 Vicente Calderón Stadium, Madrid  Spain 1–1 1–1 2006 FIFA World Cup qualifying
15 8 October 2005 LFF Stadium, Vilnius  Lithuania 1–0 2–0 2006 FIFA World Cup qualifying
16 12 October 2005 Red Star Stadium, Belgrade  Bosnia and Herzegovina 1–0 1–0 2006 FIFA World Cup qualifying
17 1 March 2006 Stade Olympique de Radès, Radès  Tunisia 1–0 1–0 Friendly



Paris Saint-Germain
South China
BATE Borisov



  1. 1 2 Only official UEFA matches included
  2. "Top 10 Premier League import flops: Santos, Diouf, Kezman, Rebrov, Kleberson and more". 11 February 2013. Retrieved 17 March 2013.
  3. "Runs, records and retirement". FIFA. 15 May 2013. Retrieved 16 May 2013.
  4. "Kežman otišao u menadžere" (in Serbian). 28 May 2012. Retrieved 26 August 2012.
  5. "Zemunac, "Leteći Holanđanin"" (in Serbian). 4 January 2001. Retrieved 12 May 2012.
  6. 1 2 3 Brodkin, Jon (25 September 2004). "Difficult past will shape Kezman's future at Chelsea". The Guardian. Retrieved 16 March 2016.
  7. "Serbian Orthodox Soccer Player Confesses His Orthodox Faith On Turkish Field". Mystagogy Resource Center. 4 January 2011. Retrieved 16 March 2016.
  8. Lewis, Aimee (19 March 2008). "When football's final whistle blows". Retrieved 16 March 2016.
  9. "Kezman's a PSV man". BBC Sport. 11 July 2000. Retrieved 28 April 2011.
  10. "Kezman joins Chelsea". BBC Sport. 13 July 2004. Retrieved 28 April 2011.
  11. "Chelsea 4 v 0 Newcastle". 4 December 2004. Retrieved 12 April 2014.
  12. "Chelsea 1 v 0 West Ham Utd". 27 October 2004. Retrieved 12 April 2014.
  13. "Kezman – Chelsea was best thing". 7 October 2011. Retrieved 8 October 2011.
  14. "Kezman completes Atletico switch". BBC Sport. 29 July 2005. Retrieved 28 April 2011.
  15. "Change of coach boosts Kezman". 20 January 2006. Retrieved 20 May 2013.
  16. "Kezman signs". 29 August 2006. Retrieved 28 April 2011.
  17. "Fenerbahce 2–1 Chelsea". 2 April 2008. Retrieved 20 May 2013.
  18. "Kezman: "A dream to play for PSG"". 19 August 2008. Retrieved 28 April 2011.
  19. "Kezman joins Zenit Saint Petersburg on loan". 30 August 2009. Retrieved 28 April 2011.
  20. "Official for Kezman". 31 August 2009. Retrieved 28 April 2011.
  21. "Kezman is back!". 2 January 2010. Retrieved 28 April 2011.
  22. "Kežman leaves PSG by mutual consent". UEFA. 3 November 2010. Retrieved 28 April 2011.
  23. "Kezman leaves PSG". FIFA. 3 November 2010. Retrieved 28 April 2011.
  24. "Club statement". 3 November 2010. Retrieved 28 April 2011.
  25. "South China sign Kezman". FIFA. 20 January 2011. Retrieved 28 April 2011.
  26. "NEXT STOP FOR KEZMAN IS SOUTH CHINA". 20 January 2011. Retrieved 20 January 2011.
  27. "South China 0:1 NT Realty Wofoo Tai Po".
  28. "Kitchee 2:4 South China".
  29. "South China 1–0 East Bengal". 13 April 2011. Retrieved 12 April 2014.
  30. "Kezman says AFC Cup is a stupid tournament". 6 May 2011. Retrieved 12 April 2014.
  31. "Kezman ends 'fantastic' Hong Kong stint". 30 May 2011. Retrieved 12 April 2014.
  32. "BATE Borisov swoop for Kezman". ESPN. 31 August 2011. Retrieved 10 September 2011.
  33. "Kezman quits national team". UEFA. 18 February 2003. Retrieved 28 April 2011.
  34. "Yugoslavia (Serbia (and Montenegro)) – Record International Players". RSSSF. Retrieved 12 March 2009.
  35. Includes other competitive competitions, including the Dutch Super Cup, Turkish Super Cup, French Super Cup, Asian Challenge Cup
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