Left-back Nikola Antic is first Partizan 2023/24 season signing!
29-year old, former Partizan academy graduate, signed a 3-year deal.
Antic was part of Partizan youths along with Aleksandar Mitrovic, Lazar Markovic and current Partizan right-back Marko Zivkovic. He was European champion with Serbia U-19`s back in 2013.
New Partizan signing played for Rad, Jagodina, Vojvodina, Shakhtar Soligorsk and Khimki.
Partizan Sporting Director Ivica Kralj handed over shirt number 15 to Antic.
“When I received a call from Ivica Kralj, I stopped about other options. We talked in football terms and return to Partizan is a great challenge for me as I still have a desire to make my debut for Partizan seniors. I took the back roads to reach my goal, now I`m back and I`m so thrilled about it”, said Antic.
Nikola Antic played in Partizan youths alongside future Serbian internationals Lazar Markovic, Aleksandar Mitrovic and Nikola Ninkovic.
“There were many talented boys in my age group and in selections of boys born 1995 and 1996 with Danilo Pantic, Andrija Zivkovic or Sasa Lukic among others. I knew them all, we trained and played together, had the same coaches and many of them had success later on. I`m glad to be back as I recall many nice things from that period and I cannot wait to start my training with the current team”.
Your football story shows that hard work pays off eventually. It`s hard being a Partizan youth as there`s lot of talent and lot of competition for each playing position.
“Absolutely, lots of talent and it`s hard to find your spot under the sun in such competition. I remember I was a ballboy when left-back Marko Lomic was regular at Partizan and I enjoyed watching him. There`s no harm in competition, it pushes you to work more. It didn`t work out for me back then but I found my way forward and I`m where I wanted to be finally. I hope to win trophies with Partizan”.
You were part of Serbia U-19, 2013 European champions in Lithuania. You were actually sharing left-back spot with a player you came in to replace now – Slobodan Urosevic.
“Yes, quite incredible. I wish Urosevic all the best in his new exploits, I`m glad he signed for a club abroad to have an opportunity to show even more of his qualities. We played together for Serbia U-19`s when we won European gold and those are the moments to cherish, lifetime memories. It was also a boost for our careers”.
How would you compare yourself with Urosevic, how would you describe your characteristics and abilities?
“If I was to describe myself, I believe my quality is my left foot, something always in shortage in football game. I have good crossing abilities, long range shot and I like to attack. During my career I had to fix my defensive part of the game as I played for teams who were defending a lot and you simply had to learn it to become a better player. It`s hard for me to compare myself with Urosevic a his defending was top-notch although he had his contribution forward. I can only hope I will contribute as much as he did, if not a little bit more”.
“I played for number of clubs, went through a lot in my career, gained experienced and saw a lot. All that is a big experience as you have good and bad sides to a football game but you simply have to go through all of that to take the right path and set some of your priorities. Hard work and persistence are very important as is cooperation with your coaches, so that you can learn from everyone. As you get older, you understand it was all useful and it makes it easier for you to adjust to any work and system”.
“ I didn`t think twice when offer from Belarus came and I was right – I won three titles, one cup trophy and Supercup with Shakhtar Soligorsk. I want to remain humble but I was announced as best player in the league and it meant a lot to me to pick a right foreign club after my spells in various Serbian clubs. Russian and Belarus football scene is different compared to Serbia, it`s more dynamic and faster. We are more about technical abilities while they do more emphasis on physicality and it`s really good there”.
Signing for Khimki looked like a right move for Antic but all that goes on in and around Russia influenced his contract to end after only several months, it turned out only a short-term solution.
“I was in touch with Partizan Sporting Director Ivica Kralj since that transfer window when I signed for Khimki. Desire was there, a bit of talk, but I was under contract at the time. Unfortunately, when I returned to Russia, things got more complicated and I decided to return to Serbia after another call from Partizan. I left it all behind me, I look forward now only, here at Humska Rd, I want to win titles”.
You met you new teammates during this weekend`s medicals but you already know some of the players, coaches and other staff?
“My heart was beating so much, I met doctor Malicevic who I know since my childhood, met some other boys..We start training today, I picked shirt number 15 as my favourite number is 5 but it`s on the back of Vujacic`s shirt and that`s not a problem. I`ll take a new one and I`ll try to make it memorable”.
Your message to Partizan fans?
“First of all, I would like to see them in great numbers once the season starts, to follow us and support us. They were always 12th player to us. Their support is crucial in our joint aim to get more success with our club”, said Antic.