Today's Branislav Ivanović Talking Points
Branislav Ivanović (Serbian Cyrillic: Бранислав Ивановић, pronounced [brǎnislaʋ iʋǎːnoʋitɕ]; born 22 February 1984) is a Serbian professional footballer who plays for Russian club Zenit Saint Petersburg and the Serbia national team, which he captains. A versatile defender, Ivanović played as a right back for Zenit, although he can also play as a centre back. Ivanović has been described as tough, tenacious and committed as well as a marauding, goal-scoring right-back.
Ivanović began his career with Remont Čačak, shortly before joining hometown club FK Srem. In January 2004 he transferred to top division side OFK Beograd. Two years later, he moved to Russia to play for Lokomotiv Moscow in the Russian Premier League, where he would spend two seasons, winning his first honour, the 2007 Russian Cup. In January 2008, Ivanović was signed by Premier League side Chelsea for a £9 million fee, where he would spend nine highly successful years. In February 2017, Ivanović returned to Russia, joining Zenit Saint Petersburg on a free transfer.
During his nine years at Chelsea, Ivanović became a club legend. He won eight major honours with Chelsea, including two Premier League titles, three FA Cups, one League Cup, the UEFA Champions League and the UEFA Europa League. Overall, he made 377 appearances and scored 34 goals, making him one of only five foreign players to appear in over 300 matches for the club and putting him behind only John Terry in terms of goals scored by a defender for Chelsea. Additionally, Ivanović was twice named in the prestigious PFA Team of the Year. His leadership qualities were highly valued at Chelsea, where he was appointed club vice captain in 2015 by José Mourinho in the wake of Didier Drogba's second departure. Ivanović developed a reputation as a "big game player", reserving his best performances for the biggest occasions, such as the 2013 UEFA Europa League Final where he scored an injury time header to win the tournament, or the second leg of the semi-final of the League Cup in 2015 against Liverpool where he played with a "boot drenched in blood" according to his manager, before rising high in the box to score yet another headed winner, which sent Chelsea into the final.
Ivanović was first capped for Serbia in June 2005, and has since earned over 90 caps and scored 12 goals for his country. He represented the nation at their first international tournament as an independent country, the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa, and was appointed captain of the national team in 2012.Close