I finished the 2025/2026 season a few days ago, a review of it will come out soon but first I wanted to highlight one of my favorite players of the last two seasons, Ljubiša Dragićević.
As someone who prefers to play long-term saves, I often find myself obsessing over certain players, Ljubiša Dragićević is one of them. Although I am 99% sure that he will leave this summer (wanted by Dortmund, Milan, & RB Leipzig), it’s been fun to watch him develop into such a great player.
Players like him remind me why I enjoy Football Manager so much. I might shed a tear once he leaves.
Ljubiša has developed wonderfully since he arrived from St. Pauli four years ago. Since his arrival, I decided to focus on his individual training and developing his player traits. He trained as an Anchor in his first season, then as a Halfback in the second season and for the last two seasons, he has been training as a Ball Winning DM.
Although it looks like he has peaked in terms of ability, the one thing that you can always continue to develop is his player traits. Never trust your coaches when it comes to traits, at least that is what I tell myself. I knew that most of the traits that I wanted him to learn would take time as his attributes were just starting to develop, I just needed to be patient.
Although my tactic is set to shorter passing, I wanted my Halfback to be able to ‘try long-range passes’ to the strikers and wingbacks bombing forward. Due to our high line of defense and intense pressing, our Halfbacks normally end up outside the box when attacking, so developing the ‘shoot from distance’ trait was a must. His finishing and long shots are not great but his technique of 17 balances it out. The other traits ‘dictates tempo’ and ‘knocks ball past opponents’ were developed from his mentoring group.
See his overall attribute development below.
2022/2023 – 2023/2024
Ljubiša Dragićević spent the first two seasons in Italy in the youth teams developing while occasionally featuring for the first team. He got his professional debut in his first season and made a further 9 appearances in his second season while providing 1 assist.
In his third season, I decided that he was ready to move to the first team to provide cover in the Halfback role for Park-Yi Young. Injuries and poor performances from Park-Yi allowed Ljubiša Dragićević to cement himself as our go-to Halfback in the starting eleven.
His performances were crucial, especially during the second half of the season. He was everywhere, clearing & intercepting the ball, winning headers from balls over the top by the opposition’s goalkeeper, and tackling when needed. He also set provided in attack, he lurked outside the area and would shoot-on-sight. He ended up scoring 4 goals and creating another (see his bangers below).
This season it was more of the same from Ljubiša Dragićević. As you will see below, his defensive output was outstanding. He ranked high in defensive headers, clearances, fouls, and blocks per 90. In terms of ball retention, he was the most accurate passer in the league, had an average of 88 passes per 90, and he won the ball back more often than most midfielders in the league. Although it doesn’t seem like it in the scoring graph, 5 goals from the Halfback role throughout a season is more than decent in my eyes (see more bangers down below).