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Old 24-10-2019, 04:33 PM   #121
Andi Istiabudi
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Default Re: Zoran Tosic


Manchester United will be coming up against a former player, Zoran Tosic, in Thursday's Europa League Group L clash with Partizan Belgrade.

The 32-year-old winger joined the Reds from Partizan in January 2009, as part of a double deal to secure Adem Ljajic, who was unable to complete the move due to work-permit issues. Tosic struggled to break into the star-studded first team at Old Trafford and after just five senior appearances, he moved on to CSKA Moscow a year later.

He has already faced us twice, home and away in 2015/16 whilst with CSKA, and he is relishing another chance to meet his old employers.

“I think it will be a very good experience for everyone at Partizan,” he told MUTV's Stewart Gardner.

“We had punishment from UEFA and played without fans but, now, all the people want to come to the stadium to see Partizan and United, of course.

“I know the stadium will be full. It will be a nice atmosphere and you will enjoy it.”

Tosic acknowledges it was difficult to make his mark in Manchester but he struck up a good relationship with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who was in charge of the Reserves at the time.

“For me, it was like heaven, you know, because I hadn't spent much time at Partizan, so I played in a small city, my hometown and, after a year and a half, I signed for United,” he recalled.

“It was a big step forward for me and there were a lot of world-class players there at that moment. We were the champions of England, and of Europe, and it was a big team. I was lucky to train with these guys and to learn from them.

“I still had two years of my contract with United when I left, and sometimes I think I should have stayed and fought for my place. After all, though, I had seven fantastic years in Moscow. I played almost every season in the Champions League, won a lot of trophies and scored a lot of important goals. So I have to be happy because of that.

“We have to be honest - the United team of 10 years ago is completely different to this new team. There are a lot of new guys who are getting a chance to prove themselves in the first team and they are doing well.

“I am a big fan, as well, still of United and I hope United will be as strong as a few years ago but I think they have to give the manager the chance to work and to show that he has strength and knows how to bring United back to the old days.

”Ole was Reserves manager at that time [I was there]. I have a great opinion of him, I had a good experience with him. He believed in me when I played for the Reserves.“

The experienced Partizan campaigner, nicknamed 'Bambi', also thanked his fellow countryman Nemanja Vidic for helping him settle in Manchester during his time with the Reds.

“It was Nemanja, more than anyone,” he said. “I remember when I came, I didn't speak English. Of course, I learned it in school and, when I came there, I thought I knew English but this was totally different to the English they spoke there!

“I needed some time and he was like an older brother for me there, to help me on and off the pitch.

”I've told him many times that I am very grateful for that.“

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Old 07-11-2019, 08:13 AM   #122
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Default Re: Zoran Tosic

'I didn't know what a gym was until I signed for Manchester United': As he returns to Old Trafford, Zoran Tosic says his 7m move came too soon

* Zoran Tosic said he knew his Man United career was over after 2010 World Cup
* The Serbian received a call and was asked to give up No 14 to Javier Hernandez
* He joined United for 7m aged 21 in 2009 and says that the move came too soon
* Tosic returns to Old Trafford with Partizan in the Europa League on Thursday

Zoran Tosic's mind is going back to the sliding doors moment that ended his Manchester United career almost a decade ago.

The 2010 World Cup in South Africa. Tosic was in a hotel with the Serbia team when he received a call from his agent.

'He said, "We have an offer from CSKA Moscow and we have to react quickly because otherwise they will find somebody else",' recalls Tosic. 'Then someone from United called and asked me to give my No 14 to Javier Hernandez. That was like a signal to me. When I was asked to give my number to some other player, I called my agent and said, "OK, I want to leave". Just like that.'

Zoran Tosic is preparing to face his old club Manchester United at Old Trafford on Thursday

The man known affectionately as Bambi in Belgrade (the nickname derives from his favourite Serbian biscuit) is 32 now. Quite different to the raw but rated winger who joined United from Partizan for 7million at the age of 21 in 2009.

Tosic was supposed to make the move with his even younger team-mate, Adem Ljajic, but work permit issues meant that United abandoned the latter deal. Just 18 months after joining Partizan from his home team, Banat Zrenjanin, Tosic arrived in England alone.

He admits it would have been easier with Ljajic by his side and was grateful to his compatriot Nemanja Vidic for taking him under his wing. Having trained alone in Serbia during the mid-winter break, Tosic immediately felt the culture shock.

The winger joined United from Partizan in a 7million deal at the age of 21 in 2009. A fresh-faced Tosic comes on in Cristiano Ronaldo's place during an FA Cup game in 2009

'When I went to United they were champions of Europe and England. When you see United now, we have to be honest that the team is not as strong as it was,' he says.

'The Serbian league and Premier League are totally different worlds. When I was younger, I never went to the gym. I didn't know what the gym was. When I went to United, I saw that everyone went to the gym before or after training. Most players had a gym at home as well!

'In Serbia at that time, you came to training for an hour and a half, you finished and went home. But I saw Cristiano Ronaldo or Ryan Giggs, who was 36 at the time, come three hours before training and go to the gym. I wasn't ready to play for United in that moment.'

Even so, Tosic made his debut off the bench as a replacement for Ronaldo against Tottenham in the FA Cup 20 days after his arrival, one of only five appearances for United totalling 79 minutes.

There were plenty more games for the reserves under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, but Tosic doesn't feel he has a point to prove when he returns to Old Trafford on Thursday night.

'I know they are not in the best moment,' he says. 'I want the club to be on top of the table, to win trophies, and hope they will soon get back to that position.

'At the beginning, Ole won so many games and I'm sad they're not doing well now. I hope he will find a solution to these problems. When I saw that we were going to play United, I wanted to show I can play at that level, but I never felt I have to show people that they made a mistake.'

Inevitably, Tosic went down as one of Sir Alex Ferguson's less successful signings, leaving Old Trafford for CSKA following a loan spell in Germany. He won the Russian title three times before returning to Partizan, where he picked up two titles in his first spell. He also played 76 times for his country.

Now a father of four, there is no bad feeling towards United.

'It's obvious I didn't get the chance but I'm not angry,' he says. Does he ever wonder how his career would have panned out if he'd made a different decision in that hotel room in South Africa?

Tosic breaks into a rueful smile. 'This is the only question which I am always thinking. If I had chosen to stay to fight to get the chance, I think at that moment I was really ready to play for United.

'What if I chose to stay and not go to Moscow? What would have happened? What if?'

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