Milenko "Mile" Ačimovič (pronounced [miˈleːŋkɔ aˈtʃiːmɔʋitʃ]; Serbian Latin: Aćimović [atɕǐːmoʋitɕ]; born 15 February 1977) is a former Slovenian footballer who last played for Austria Wien as a midfielder. On 15 September 2010, Ačimovič ended his football career following a persistent right knee injury.
Ačimovič playing for Austria Wien in 2009
|Full name||Milenko Ačimovič|
|Date of birth||15 February 1977|
|Place of birth||Ljubljana, SFR Yugoslavia|
|Height||1.87 m (6 ft 2 in)|
|Playing position||Attacking Midfielder, Winger|
|1998–2002||Red Star Belgrade||102||(34)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only|
Born to Serbian parents in Ljubljana, Ačimovič started his career in the youth ranks of Železničar Ljubljana. He made four first division appearances for Železničar when he was 18 years old. From 1996 until 1998 he scored seven league goals in 36 matches for Olimpija. He then joined Red Star Belgrade, where he played for four and a half years. After successful appearances for the Slovenian national team in Euro 2000 and World Cup 2002, several bigger European clubs expressed interest in him. In the summer of 2002, he joined Tottenham Hotspur. In his first season in London, he made a few appearances, but never established himself as a first team player. In his second season, he became a fringe player.
In January 2004 he joined the French club Lille on loan until the end of the season. When he arrived, the club was in 14th place in the Ligue 1, but Ačimovič contributed to an eventual second-place finish, enough to qualify for the Champions League. Also, in his first year at Lille, he was part of the team's UEFA Cup campaign, when Lille reached the last sixteen before being eliminated. The following year, he played in the third qualifying round of the Champions League, when Lille reached the group stages. Ačimovič scored Lille's only goal of the campaign against Manchester United in Lille's 1-0 victory in Paris.
After two-and one-half seasons in Lille, he fell out of favour and joined Al-Ittihad for the 2006–07 season. After failing to adapt to life in Saudi Arabia, he agreed on a mutual termination of the contract, subsequently moving back to Europe to join Austria Wien. On 15 September 2010 his football career came to an end following a persistent right knee injury.
Ačimovič returned to Slovenia and has been appointed the Director of football at Olimpija Ljubljana, in January 2011, where he stayed until September 2012 when he resigned his position, due to poor results of the team in the Slovenian PrvaLiga.
He debuted for the Slovenia national team on 22 April 1998 in Murska Sobota against the Czech Republic. He gave many notable performances for the national team, including a spectacular goal scored from the middle of the field against Ukraine in the Euro 2000 play-off. He represented Slovenia at both Euro 2000 and World Cup 2002, scoring in their 1–3 defeat to Paraguay in Seogwipo. His final appearance for the national side came on 28 March 2007 in Celje, during a 1–0 home defeat to the Netherlands in a Euro 2008 qualification match. He announced his retirement from international football that August.
- "Milenko Ačimovič – Euro 2000 profile". UEFA.com. Union of European Football Associations. Archived from the original on 3 August 2001. Retrieved 12 July 2012.
- "Milenko Ačimovič – 1994/95 season" (in Slovenian). Slovenian PrvaLiga. Retrieved 9 November 2017.
- "Milenko Ačimovič – all seasons" (in Slovenian). Slovenian PrvaLiga. Retrieved 9 November 2017.
- "Hoddle hails new signing". BBC. 1 May 2002. Retrieved 17 October 2018.
- "Acimovic joins Lille". BBC. 28 January 2004. Retrieved 17 October 2018.
- "Lille 1-0 Man Utd". BBC. 2 November 2005. Retrieved 17 October 2018.
- "Ačimovič bids Slovenia adieu". UEFA.com. Union of European Football Associations. 20 August 2007. Retrieved 12 July 2012.