Urawa Reds’ Zlatan Enjoying Japanese Football
When the name Zlatan is mentioned, undoubtedly it will be the Manchester United’s striker that will first come to your mind. However, there is another Zlatan who has been stealing some shows in the J.League
When the name Zlatan is mentioned, undoubtedly it will be the Manchester United’s striker that will first come to your mind. However, there is another Zlatan who has been stealing some shows in the J.League in recent years.
Urawa Reds’ striker Zlatan Ljubijankic, donning jersey number-21 has been playing in Japan’s top flight since 2012. The 1.86m tall striker first turned out for Omiya Ardija but was quickly offered a contract by Urawa Reds after Omiya Ardija was relegated to J2 after 2014 season.
Already in his 6th year playing in Japan, the former Slovenia International, who has great scoring record against England, Ireland, Australia and also United States in the 2010 FIFA World Cup, also counts his blessing as he is enjoying his career in Asia, particularly the AFC Champions League.
“We are doing well in both AFC Champions League and also in J.League at the moment but you can see, we are actually in a very challenging (AFC Champions League) group, especially Shanghai SIPG. Although we are facing some good opponents in the competition, we will focus one game at a time and will do our best to progress from the group stage and see where it will lead us to,” said Zlatan.
Having knowing which country Junpiter Futbol is from, the Urawa’s hitman shared some of his comments on Singapore football & S.League without holding back. He said, “I know there is an Albirex Niigata in Singapore too. I know Singapore is similar to my country Slovenia – it’s a small country with small league and I can understand how tough it can be with the limited resources. I have never play against a Singapore team but I won’t judge and I will not say S.League is not good. Just like my country, it’s small but our league does produce many good players as well.
“I have watched the game where Singapore drew with Japan in the World Cup Qualifying. Playing Japan at home was never easy and to get away with a point like what Singapore has done, that was an amazing result. I think Singapore played well honestly,” added Zlatan.
Before the man left the Ajinomoto Stadium after the away match against FC Tokyo, we asked how different is this Zlatan (himself) as compared to the Manchester United’s Zlatan!
“Haha, “Zlatan” is a common name back in our country. Well, both of us are from the same roots and the name “Zlatan” means Gold. I like him as a player and I am working hard in my own style too!”