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Branislav Ivanovic

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Branislav Ivanovic

Branislav Ivanović
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 2 November 2013.

† Appearances (Goals).

‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 15 October 2013

Branislav Ivanović (Serbian Cyrillic: Бранислав Ивановић, pronounced [brǎnislaʋ iʋǎːnoʋitɕ]; born 22 February 1984) is a Serbian footballer and the captain of the Serbia national football team who plays for Chelsea in the Premier League. He is a versatile defender who can operate as a right full back or as a right sided centre back.

He started his career in Serbia, playing for Remont, FK Srem and OFK Beograd, where he earned his first cap for Serbia, before moving to Russia to play for Lokomotiv Moscow. After two years in Moscow he moved to Chelsea. He played for Serbia at their first international tournament as an independent country, the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa.

Ivanović was selected as the right-back of the season for the 2009–10 Premier League season as Chelsea won the league title and the 2010 FA Cup Final. In 2012 he was part of the Chelsea team that won the Champions League, playing a pivotal role in their win against FC Barcelona in the Semi-finals, however a yellow card in that game meant he missed the final. The following year Chelsea again reached a final in Europe, this time winning the 2013 UEFA Europa League Final with Ivanović scoring a stoppage time header to win the match.

Early life

Born to father Rade and mother Slavica, both of whom have sporting backgrounds, young Branislav took to football early in the youth sections of hometown Sremska Mitrovica, the club his father also turned out for professionally, playing the defensive positions of sweeper and centre-half.[2]

Club career

Early career

Ivanović began his career in his home town with Srem, before transferring to OFK Beograd in December 2003, during the 2003–04 winter transfer window.

Lokomotiv Moscow

After three years of playing in the Serbian Superliga, the first division of football in Serbia and previously Montenegro, he was signed by Lokomotiv Moscow in January 2006. Coached by compatriot Slavoljub Muslin, 22-year-old Ivanović made an immediate impact, appearing in 28 league matches, scoring two goals, and picking up five bookings along the way. He was substituted only twice during the entire league season and contributed greatly to Lokomotiv's legitimate title challenge that ultimately ran out of steam near the end of the season. He sealed his place as a regular in the Serbian national team during his career in Russia.

In the following season, Ivanović, by now an established squad member, made 26 league appearances and scored three goals. During his time with Lokomotiv Moscow, the only major honour he won was the Russian Cup in 2007.


On 15 January 2008, Chelsea confirmed that the club had agreed terms with Lokomotiv Moscow for Ivanović's transfer subject to the agreement of personal terms and the passing of a medical, having beaten competition from the likes of Milan, Ajax, Juventus and Internazionale for his signature.[3] Though the transfer fee was undisclosed, it was speculated to be in the £9 million range.[4] Lokomotiv Moscow announced the transfer fee for Ivanović was €13 million (£9.7 million). According to the club, the transfer was the largest in Russian football history.[5] Ivanović signed a three-and-a-half-year contract with Chelsea the following day. He was given the number 2 shirt last worn by Glen Johnson.[6]


Despite the substantial price tag, Ivanović did not make a first team appearance for Chelsea FC during the 2007–08 Premier League season under manager Avram Grant. The reason given by the club was a lack of match fitness as a result of the Russian Premier League season's conclusion several months before his signing. However, he did play twice for the Chelsea reserve side.


Before the start of the 2008–09 season, Ivanović was linked with a move away from Stamford Bridge, most notably to Serie A clubs Milan and Juventus . However, new manager Luiz Felipe Scolari, said Ivanović featured in his plans for the coming season.

Eight months after becoming a Chelsea player, Ivanović made his first appearance for the Chelsea's first team, getting a start against Portsmouth in the League Cup on 24 September. He soon went on to make his Premier League debut, starting against Aston Villa and playing the full ninety minutes at Stamford Bridge on 5 October, a match that Chelsea won 2–0. However, Ivanović was still far from securing a regular spot: he sat out the following five league matches, only getting a single substitute appearance in the 85th minute away at Hull City with the contest already decided 0–3 when Luiz Felipe Scolari sent him on for José Bosingwa. It would be Ivanović's starting performance at right back position against the second-tier Championship side Burnley on 12 November that convinced the Brazilian manager to give Ivanović another look. This time, Ivanović got the chance at center back position instead of Alex, starting four consecutive matches: including three league contests as well as his first ever Champions League appearance away at Bordeaux. However, it was the performance at home versus Arsenal on 30 November that lowered Ivanović's stock in Luiz Felipe Scolari's eyes again – after being up at halftime, the Blues lost the contest 1–2 courtesy of Robin van Persie's second half brace. The Serb was relegated back to the bench, recording only a couple more starts in late December and early January. He played a total of nine games in the first part of the 2008–09 season under Scolari's tenure.

Towards the end of the winter transfer window, Ivanović became a target of another Serie A outfit – this time it was Fiorentina. On 27 January, his agent Vlado Borozan confirmed ongoing negotiations with the club's sporting director Pantaleo Corvino,[7] however, on 1 February, Italian player agent Ernesto Broseti said Chelsea appeared unwilling to sell Ivanović and that he will likely remain in London,[8] which is what happened in the end.

Chelsea were in a poor run of form, culminating with a 2–0 loss away at Liverpool FC followed by a goalless home draw versus lowly Hull City, all of which led to Luiz Felipe Scolari's removal on 9 February. New manager Guus Hiddink continued omitting Ivanović who was by now completely out of the first-team picture. His first start under Guus Hiddink finally came on 4 April away at Newcastle United, almost two months after the Dutchman's arrival at Stamford Bridge. It was the player's first league appearance in more than three months for the club and it happened only days after he scored the winning goal for the Serbian national team in a 2010 FIFA World Cup qualifier away at Romania. Despite playing very little competitive football over the previous months (his appearances restricted to national team and cup competitions with Chelsea), Ivanović responded with assured defensive displays.

He scored his first goal for Chelsea against Liverpool in the first leg of the Champions League quarter-final at Anfield. He later went on to score a second goal which like his first, was a headed goal off a corner. These two goals proved to be decisive, as Chelsea left Anfield leading 1–3 on aggregate, and would go on to win the tie by two goals with an aggregate score of 7–5.[9] Ivanović's two goals also earned him a regular starting place for the time being in Guus Hiddink's side, as well as making him an instant fan favourite among Chelsea supporters with the nickname Branislav 'two goal' Ivanović announced before games. Still, by the end of the season Hiddink relegated Ivanović back to the bench after Champions League semi-final 1st leg at Barcelona, meaning that he didn't play in the 2nd leg, and he also sat out of the FA Cup Final.


Beginning the season under yet another new manager Carlo Ancelotti (Ivanović's fourth in his 18 months at Stamford Bridge), the Serb made his first start in the Community Shield against Premier League champions Manchester United. He was substituted off at half time for José Bosingwa with Manchester United leading 0–1 as Chelsea went on to overturn the result 2–1 before conceding an injury-time equaliser and eventually winning 4–1 on penalties.[10]

In mid-August Ivanović made his first Premier League appearance of the season against Sunderland, which Chelsea won 3–1, with goals from Michael Ballack, Frank Lampard, and Deco.[11] In September, Ivanović made his first Champions League appearance of the season against FC Porto in the absence of Chelsea's first choice right back, José Bosingwa. Ivanović scored the first goal of his Premier League career against Bolton Wanderers with a shot from inside the penalty area on 31 October. His goal was Chelsea's third in a 4–0 victory at the Reebok Stadium. As his main competitor for a defensive spot, Bosingwa, went down with a season-ending knee injury in October, Ivanović became an automatic choice in the Chelsea defence.

Though much more settled into the Chelsea first team than in previous seasons, Ivanović continued to figure as a transfer target for various European teams, highlighting his recent form. On 22 December, a week before the opening of 2009–10 winter transfer window, he was placed on the cover of MARCA, influential Spanish high circulation daily sports tabloid that maintains strong links to Real Madrid. The accompanying piece claimed that Real was after Ivanović as a replacement for their injured centre back Pepe.[12]

As the season continued, so did Ivanović as a regular in the Chelsea first team. In the UEFA Champions' League second round first leg away at Jose Mourinho's Inter Milan, the later winners of the compition, Ivanović ran a majority of the pitch before passing to Salomon Kalou who scored Chelsea's equaliser. His great run of form during the season led to him being named in the PFA 2009/10 Team of the Year in the right-back position.


Ivanović started the season at right back but eventually moved back centre back due to injuries to his team mates Alex and John Terry and the return to fitness of first choice right back Jose Bosingwa. His first goal of the season scored in an away game against Blackburn Rovers in the Premier League, on 30 October 2010,[13] a late header that secured Chelsea 2–1 win. He then scored a brace in a 4–1 win in the Champions League against Spartak Moscow on 4 November 2010, netted by a powerful header and a neat shot.[14] His second goal in the Premier League, or fourth in all competitions, came with a header during the 3–1 loss to Arsenal.[15]

Early in 2011, Ivanović scored his first goal of the year on 15 January 2011, in a 2–0 home win in a Premier League match against Blackburn Rovers at Stamford Bridge, with a shot from close range. He has currently made 34 appearances and has scored five goals in total.[16]

On 10 February 2011, Ivanović signed a new five-and-a-half-year-contract with Chelsea, keeping him at the club until the summer of 2016. After signing this new long-term deal, he said: "It is good news for me, it is a very big step for me in my career and I want to try to help Chelsea win a lot more trophies," according to Ivanović. He said again: "These things take a little time but my first vision was always to stay with Chelsea. There were not a lot of problems because I wanted to stay, the club wanted me to stay and I want to thank everyone who helped with the deal. I am very happy with that." He ended the season by being one of three nominations for Chelsea Player of the Year, losing out in the end to Petr Čech.


Ivanović scored a headed goal in the 42nd minute of Chelsea's 5–0 Champions League group stage win over Belgian club KRC Genk at Stamford Bridge.[17] He assisted Frank Lampard from an outside-of-the-foot cross in the 50th minute against Blackburn Rovers. Chelsea won the game as it was the only goal of the match.

Branislav scored the winning goal in the UEFA Champions League round of 16 on 14 March 2012 to complete the turn around against which was decisive extra time winner against Napoli which Chelsea won by 4–1 and 5–4 on aggreagate at Stamford Bridge.[18] On 31 March 2012,This marked Roberto Di Matteo's start at Chelsea with an important win. He then went on to help Chelsea overcome Benfica in the quarter finals and beat favourites Barcelona in the semi finals, however he received a 2nd yellow in the 2nd leg and so missed the final against Bayern Munich from suspension. Ivanović scored a double against Aston Villa in a 2–4 away win.[19] Ivanović scored again in the following game against Wigan Athletic in a 2–1 victory, with a controversial offside goal.[20]

He was once again one of three players nominated for the Chelsea Player of the Year Award after a personally successful season, but lost out to Juan Mata.


Ivanović played all of Chelsea's pre-season games and captained the side against the Seattle Sounders leading the side to 4–2 victory.[21] On 12 August, Ivanović started the Community Shield match against Manchester City and was sent off for a two footed tackle on Manchester City countryman Aleksandar Kolarov.[22] He started Chelsea's Premier League campaign by scoring an early goal against Wigan on 19 August, helping the Blues to a 2–0 opening round win.[23] He scored again off an assist from Eden Hazard, as Chelsea defeated Reading 4–2 on 22 August.[24] The Serbian then went on to score a goal as Chelsea defeated Norwich City 4–1 on 6 October 2012.[25] He was sent off in a Premier League game against Manchester United after a professional foul on Ashley Young. Chelsea lost the match 3–2. He scored his first ever League Cup goal in 1–5 win over Leeds United on 19 December.[26] On 23 December 2012, Ivanović scored his fifth goal of the season in an 8–0 thrashing of Aston Villa.[27][28]

Ivanović again displayed his recent goal-poaching prowess and opened his goalscoring account for the calendar year on 5 January 2013, adding a third goal to the scoreline in a third round FA Cup victory against Southampton FC.[29] This was also the Serb's first ever goal in the FA Cup. In Paolo Di Canio's debut as Sunderland manager on 7 April, Ivanović divereted David Luiz's long range shot past the outstretched arms of Black Cats 'keeper Simon Mignolet, securing a 2-1 victory for Chelsea.[30]

In the Europa League final on 15 May 2013, Ivanović headed in the winning goal in the third minute of second-half stoppage time to give Chelsea a 2–1 victory over Portuguese club Benfica.[31] The goal was the Serb's eighth of the campaign in all competitions, and first in the Europa League, and secured a second successive European title for the London club[32] and the 11th major trophy of the Roman Abramovich era.[33] The win also meant that for ten days, the Blues would hold both the Champions League and Europa League titles at the same time, until the final of the 2013 Champions League final on 25 May.[34] Because of Ivanović's heroic performance at both ends of the pitch, the Serbian defender was named the Man of the Match.[35] Following the match, teammate Frank Lampard lauded Ivanović and described him as a "great man" and added, "You only have to look at him to see what a beast he is, he goes under the radar a bit because he just does his job, but what a player... He has been an absolute professional and he is a man you want on your side."[36]

Bite incident

Ivanović was subject to an oral assault by Liverpool striker Luis Suárez in their Premier League fixture on 21 April 2013. The game ended in a 2–2 draw after Suárez scored a dramatic 97th minute equalizer to salvage a draw, a point which otherwise would not have been possible had the referees spotted the incident.[37] Replays showed that as the two tussled for an incoming cross from Steven Gerrard, which was deflected out by Ryan Bertrand for a corner, Suarez dug his teeth into the right arm of Ivanović.[38] Suarez was adjudged to have been guilty of violent conduct and was handed a 10 game ban for the assault from the FA, but Ivanović did not press formal charges following the match.[39] He initially did not accept the apology from Suarez but afterwards the defender said he calmed down and accepted it.[40]

International career


Ivanović's under-21 debut took place on 15 December 2003 in Ohrid vs. Macedonia in a match that Serbia-Montenegro ended up winning 4–1. He scored his first goal only two days later against the same opponent in a 7–0 rout.

He took part in the 2006 U-21 Championships in Portugal, where he made four appearances and scored one goal for Serbia and Montenegro. Ivanović was given the captain's armband during this time and continued to captain the side to the 2007 U-21 Championships final where they lost to the host, the Netherlands.

In total he featured in 38 matches for the under-21 team, scoring 4 goals.

Senior team

Ivanović received his first cap on 8 June 2005 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada when Serbia and Montenegro played a friendly against Italy. The game finished 1–1 and he came on as a 77th minute sub for his then club teammate Marko Baša. Ivanović scored his first international goal on 12 September 2007 against Portugal in Lisbon. The goal was of importance because Serbia were losing 1–0 up until the 88th minute, when Ivanović scored following a series of goal area deflections after a Dejan Stanković in-swinging freekick, sealing a 1–1 draw. The game was played for Euro 2008 qualifying.[41]

Despite not having a regular spot at his club side Chelsea at the time, Ivanović continued being the automatic starting choice for Serbia at the start of World Cup 2010 qualifiers under new head coach Radomir Antić. He regularly plays right back for Serbia.

Personal life

His nickname is "Bane", a nickname for the Serbian name Branislav. Ivanović has a son named Stefan. On his mother's side, Ivanović is related to late footballer Đorđe Milovanović, a former Red Star Belgrade player, as well as his cousin Dejan Milovanović, also a professional footballer.[2]

Contrary to popular belief, Ivanović is not related to Serbian former tennis World No. 1 Ana Ivanovic, though Branislav is good friends with her, as well as fellow Serbian tennis players Novak Djokovic and Jelena Janković.[42]

Career statistics

As of 27 October 2013
Club performance League Cup League Cup Continental Total
Season Club League Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Serbia League Serbian Cup League Cup Europe Total
2003–04 OFK Beograd Super Liga 13 0 13 0
2004–05 27 2 27 2
2005–06 15 3 2 1 17 4
Russia League Russian Cup League Cup Europe Total
2006 Lokomotiv Moscow Premier League 28 2 2 0 2 1 32 3
2007 26 3 7 0 6 1 39 4
England League FA Cup League Cup Europe/Other* Total
2007–08 Chelsea Premier League 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2008–09 16 0 4 0 2 0 4 2 26 2
2009–10 28 1 3 0 3 0 7 0 41 1
2010–11 34 4 3 0 0 0 11 2 48 6
2011–12 29 3 5 0 1 0 10 2 45 5
2012–13 34 5 6 1 3 1 16 1 59 8
2013–14 9 1 0 0 0 0 4 0 13 1
League Cup League Cup Continental Total
Total Serbia 55 5 0 0 2 1 57 6
Russia 54 5 9 0 8 2 71 7
England 150 14 21 1 9 1 52 7 232 23
Career total 259 24 30 1 9 1 62 10 360 36
  • Club World Cup, Community Shield and UEFA Super Cup

International goals

# Date Venue Opponent Score Result Competition
1. 12 September 2007 Estádio José Alvalade, Lisbon, Portugal  Portugal
Euro 2008 qualification
2. 10 September 2008 Stade de France, Saint-Denis, France  France
2010 FIFA World Cup qualification
3. 11 October 2008 Stadium Crvena Zvezda, Belgrade, Serbia  Lithuania
2010 FIFA World Cup qualification
4. 28 March 2009 Stadionul Farul, Constanta, Romania  Romania
2010 FIFA World Cup qualification
5. 7 October 2011 Stadium Crvena Zvezda, Belgrade, Serbia  Italy
Euro 2012 qualification
6. 28 February 2012 Tsirion Stadium, Limassol, Cyprus  Armenia
7. 11 September 2012 Karađorđe Stadium, Novi Sad, Serbia  Wales
2014 FIFA World Cup qualification






External links

  • Branislav Ivanović at
  • Soccerbase
  • Branislav Ivanović national team profile at
  • profile
  • BBC Sport profile
Sporting positions
Preceded by
Nikola Žigić
Serbia captain
2012 – present
Succeeded by
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