A former midfielder with Yugoslavia, Dragan Stojkovic is a famous name in international football. He took up coaching after a stellar playing career in which he played two World Cups, Euro Cup and the Olympics. In his first World Cup in 1990, Stojkovic scored a brace as Yugoslavia beat Spain in the pre-quarterfinals. But in the quarterfinals, he missed a penalty in the shootout as Yogoslavia lost to Argentina 2-3. In club football, he rose to stardom while plying his trade for Red Star Belgrade and Marseille.
He enjoyed a successful four years at Red Star Belgrade, reaching the semifinals of the UEFA Cup and winning the Yugoslavia First League twice. It was during his time at the club, he picked up his iconic nickname, ‘Piksi’, in Yugoslavia.
With Ligue 1 side Marseille, he won the UEFA Champions League in the 1992-93 season before ending his career with Nagoya Grampus as MVP of the J1 League.
After his retirement in 2001, he served as UEFA and FIFA technical committee member after being elected as the president of the Serbian Football Association, succeeding Miljan Miljanic.
After his tenure as the Serbian Football Association president, he also served as the President of Red Star Belgrade. Stojkovic was appointed as the manager of the Serbian national football team in March 2021. He replaced caretaker manager Ilija Stolica. Under his tutelage, Serbia qualified for the 2022 FIFA World Cup. The qualification came dramatically after a 2-1 win over Portugal in the last match, with Aleksandar Mitrovic scoring in the 90th minute.
Dragan Stojkovic helped the team to elevate its performance during the qualification phase. As old guards Branislav Ivanovic and Aleksandar Kolarov retired, Stojkovic reformed the squad bringing in the players from the 2015 FIFA U-20 World Cup winning team.
He transformed the team’s attack, introducing 22-year-old Dusan Vlahovic to experienced Dusan Tadic and Mitrovic in front. It was Mitrovic who top-scored in the World Cup qualifying group, ahead of Cristiano Ronaldo, with eight goals, and scored another six in the Nations League. In the UEFA Nations League, Serbia won four out of its six matches.
In Qatar, Serbia, placed in Group G alongside Brazil, Cameroon and Switzerland, will look to progress beyond the group stage.
Stojkovic’s preferred formation is 3-4-1-2.