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Miralem Pjanić (Bosnian pronunciation: [mirâːlem pjâːnitɕ]; born 2 April 1990) is a Bosnian professional footballer who plays as a midfielder for Serie A club Juventus and the Bosnia and Herzegovina national team. During his time with Roma he was nicknamed "il Piccolo Principe" ("the Little Prince", in reference, at the time, to his young age and apprenticeship relation with "Re di Roma" ("the King of Rome"), Francesco Totti; Bosnian: "Mali Princ"),[3] the name which also stuck with Bosnia and Herzegovina football fans and media,[4] while in Turin he is affectionately called "Il Pianista" ("the Pianist"; Bosnian: "Pijanist"; in reference to his surname and his creative role on the pitch).[5]

Miralem Pjanić
20150331 2025 AUT BIH 2130 Miralem Pjanić.jpg
Pjanić with Bosnia and Herzegovina in 2015
Personal information
Full name Miralem Pjanić[1]
Date of birth (1990-04-02) 2 April 1990 (age 29)
Place of birth Tuzla, SFR Yugoslavia
Height 1.80 m (5 ft 11 in)[2]
Playing position Midfielder
Club information
Current team
Juventus
Number 5
Youth career
1997–2004 FC Schifflange 95
2004–2007 Metz
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
2007–2008 Metz 32 (4)
2008–2011 Lyon 90 (10)
2011–2016 Roma 159 (27)
2016– Juventus 93 (12)
National team
2006 Luxembourg U17 4 (5)
2006–2007 Luxembourg U19 3 (1)
2008– Bosnia and Herzegovina 86 (13)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 24 August 2019
‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 11 June 2019

Pjanić started his professional career at Metz being there for one season. He signed for side Lyon in 2008 before signing for Roma in 2011 after three seasons at Lyon. During his time in Rome, he became one of the best midfielders in Serie A causing Juventus to sign him in 2016. Pjanić has since been considered an integral player for Juventus, winning two Serie A's and Coppa Italia's, and being named in the Serie A Team of the Year for 2015–16, 2016–17 and 2017–18 seasons.[6][7] He was also named in the 2016–17 UEFA Champions League Squad of the Season, for his role in Juventus's run to the final.[8]

A former Luxembourgish youth international, Pjanić made his senior international debut for Bosnia and Herzegovina in 2008, earning over 80 caps and scoring 13 goals since. He represented the nation at their first major tournament, the 2014 FIFA World Cup.

In 2015, he was ranked 55th in The Guardian's list of "The 100 best footballers in the world".[9]

Contents

Early lifeEdit

Pjanić was born on 2 April 1990 in Tuzla, then in the SR Bosnia and Herzegovina, SFR Yugoslavia (present-day Bosnia and Herzegovina); to father Fahrudin and mother Fatima. He developed an interest in football through his father, a former third division footballer in Yugoslavia,[10] and began his football career in Luxembourg following his family's arrival to the country shortly before the outbreak of the Bosnian War.[11] While in Luxembourg, Pjanić often attended training sessions and matches with his father.[12] At the age of seven, his father discovered that he had the talent and an interest in football and allowed his son to join local club FC Schifflange 95 in Schifflange. While at Schifflange, Pjanić drew interest from several Belgian, Dutch and German clubs, but agreed to join Metz in France in 2004. Pjanić was recommended to Metz by its former player, Luxembourg international Guy Hellers.[13]

Club careerEdit

MetzEdit

Pjanić joined Metz at age 14 on a youth contract and spent approximately three years in the club's academy. In the 2005–06 season, he played on the under-16 team that won the Championnat National des 16 ans and, following the season, signed a five-year élite contract with the club.[14] After spending the 2006–07 season with the club's under-18 team, Pjanić was promoted to the club's amateur team in the Championnat de France Amateur for the 2007–08 season. He appeared in the first two matches of the campaign before earning a call up to the senior team by manager Francis De Taddeo. Pjanić made his professional football debut, at the age of 17, on 18 August 2007 in a league match against Paris Saint-Germain. He appeared as a substitute in a 0–0 draw.[15] The following week, he earned his first start in a 2–0 defeat to Rennes.[16]

After a string of respectable appearances, on 30 November 2007, Pjanić signed his first professional contract agreeing to a three-year deal, tying him to Metz until 2010.[17] After becoming professional, he was assigned the number 15 shirt. Pjanić scored his first professional goal for Metz on 15 December 2007 in a 2–1 defeat against Sochaux converting on a penalty in the 88th minute, thus becoming one of the youngest players to score a goal in Ligue 1 history.[18] Among his other positive performances included converting another penalty in a 2–1 loss to Nice and scoring on the final day of the season against Le Mans in a thrilling 4–3 victory.[19][20]

Pjanić's play in the Coupe de France was with distinction as well appearing in and starting all four matches the club contested. He assisted on several goals in the club's 6–1 demolition of Vesoul Haute-Saône.[21] In the ensuing round, Pjanić scored the final goal in Metz's 3–0 triumph over Strasbourg and played the full 90 minutes in the club's 1–0 win over Lorient in the Round of 16 helping the club who were, at the time, struggling in domestic play, reach the quarterfinals of the Coupe de France. Metz were eventually eliminated by the eventual champions Lyon.[22][23] In total, Pjanić made 38 appearances and scored 5 goals with Metz. For his efforts, he was nominated for the Ligue 1 Young Player of the Year award, won by Hatem Ben Arfa.

Though Pjanić was in great form throughout the season, Metz still suffered relegation back to Ligue 2, prompting speculation that the young star would move to any of a host of clubs, with English clubs Arsenal and Chelsea, Spanish clubs Barcelona and Real Madrid, Italian clubs Milan and Inter, and French club Lyon vying for his services.[24][25][26]

LyonEdit

Despite Metz receiving numerous offers for the player's services, on 6 June 2008, Pjanić and Metz both reached an agreement with Olympique Lyonnais for the transfer of the player.[27] Pjanić agreed to a five-year contract, while the transfer fee was priced at €7.5 million plus future incentives.[28]

Labeled as the future replacement for the ageing Juninho, Pjanić was initially given the number 12 shirt, but switched to the number 18 for pre-season and made his club debut in the team's Trophée des Champions defeat to Bordeaux.[29][30] He made his league debut in the opening league match of the season against Toulouse playing the entire match in a 3–0 victory.[31] Pjanić's debut season with Lyon was cut in half after fracturing his fibula in a match against Sochaux in October 2008, as a result of a bad tackle by Stéphane Dalmat.[32] Despite initially being diagnosed as missing a month, he missed two months and made his return on 3 January 2009 in the club's 6–0 thrashing of amateur club US Concarneau in the Coupe de France playing 66 minutes.[33]

For the 2009–10 season, Pjanić switched to the number 8 shirt, formerly worn by his predecessor and Lyon great Juninho. He started the season strong scoring his first career goal for Lyon on a free kick in Lyon's playoff round match against Belgian club Anderlecht in the UEFA Champions League. Lyon won the match 5–1.[34] A couple of days later, he scored his first career league goal for the club, in which his side won 3–0 at Auxerre.[35] Pjanić continued his stellar play in the Champions League scoring the only goal in the club's opening group stage match against Italian club Fiorentina.[36] In the club's second group stage match against Hungarian club Debreceni, he scored again, via free kick, and also assisted on two other goals in the club's 4–0 victory.[37] On 10 March 2010, Pjanić scored the equalizing goal in Lyon's 1–1 draw with Spanish club Real Madrid in the second leg of their first knockout round tie in the UEFA Champions League. The draw sent Lyon through to the quarter-finals due to their 1–0 win in the first leg at the Stade Gerland.[38]

Pjanić began the 2010–11 season as a starter and featured in the team's first three games. However, following the arrival of Yoann Gourcuff, he began appearing as a substitute and, subsequently, appeared as a substitute in the team's next seven league matches. On 29 September 2010, Pjanić scored his first goal of the season in the team's 3–1 win over Israeli club Hapoel Tel Aviv in the UEFA Champions League.[39] As a result of his good form, Claude Puel began experimenting playing both Gourcuff and Pjanić in the midfield, but after playing the two in a 2–0 win over Portuguese club Benfica in the Champions League and a 1–1 draw with Rennes in the league, this tactic was abandoned.[40][41]

RomaEdit

 
Pjanić playing for Roma in 2012

On 31 August 2011, Pjanić agreed a four-year deal with Italian club Roma, for an €11 million transfer fee.[42][43][44] He scored his first goal for Roma against Lecce.[45]

Pjanić started the 2012–13 season mostly on the bench. He got his chance in Derby della Capitale and scored a goal.[46] From that game, he started playing regularly and scored one more goal in 2–0 win over Torino and one in the Coppa Italia against Atalanta. In the 2013–14 season, under new Roma coach Rudi Garcia, he was a starter in the 4–3–3 midfield, playing a key role to the team's Serie A record of ten wins in the first ten season matches.[47]

Pjanić scored 6 goals and provided 6 assists in the 2013–14 Serie A season. On 25 April 2014, he scored the first goal in Roma's 2–0 victory over Milan; the goal was a wonderful individual display from Pjanić, as he dribbled past Sulley Muntari, Riccardo Montolivo, and Adil Rami before putting the ball in the net.[48]

On 11 May 2014, Pjanić signed a new contract which will last until 30 June 2018.[49] In a friendly tournament in Denver in July, he scored from inside his own half, but Roma lost 3–2 to Manchester United.[50] In the 2014–15 season, he became considered as a rising star in Italian football, scoring 5 times and assisting 10 goals.

In the 2015–16 season, Pjanić emerged as one of the world's finest free-kick takers, netting a brilliant goal against Juventus on 30 August and scoring several more, including in the Champions League against Bayer Leverkusen. By the January break, he had scored 7 goals and assisted another 5, being linked with a transfer to Barcelona and Real Madrid in the winter transfer window.[51] Towards the end of the season, rumours spread in the media of Pjanić's possible departure from Roma, as he was linked with Juventus.[52] He finished the season with ten league goals, and 12 in all competitions, while also finishing the league season as the top assist provider in Serie A for the second consecutive season, alongside Juventus' Paul Pogba, with 12 assists.[53]

JuventusEdit

On 13 June 2016, Pjanić joined Juventus on a five-year contract for a fee of €32 million, ending a five-year stint with Roma.[54] He chose the number 5 shirt to start the new season.[55] On 10 September, Pjanić scored on his debut in a 3–1 home win over Sassuolo.[56] After winning Coppa Italia and Serie A in his first season, he missed out on treble, having lost in the Champions League Final to Real Madrid.[57]

Pjanić's second season at Juventus began with a 2–3 loss against Lazio in the 2017 Supercoppa Italiana.[58] He scored his first goal of the season in city derby against Torino on 23 September 2017. Juventus won the game 4–0.[59] On 28 February, Pjanić scored a crucial penalty against Atalanta to send Juventus through to the 2018 Coppa Italia Final.[60] Juventus won that final, with Pjanić contributing by assisting for one of the goals in a convincing triumph over Milan on 9 May 2018.[61] Four days later, Pjanić once again became Serie A champion in a game against his old club Roma, which sealed his second domestic double in two seasons.[62] On the 19 May, the final match of the season, he scored his fifth league goal of the season, netting a trademark free kick, which sealed Juventus's 2–1 home win over Hellas Verona.[63]

At the beginning of his third campaign with the club, Pjanić put pen to paper on a new five-year contract.[64] He scored his first goal of the season in a 2–0 home win over Lazio on 25 August 2018.[65] On 19 September, in his first UEFA Champions League game of the season, Pjanić helped his team to a win by converting two penalties against Valencia in an eventual 2–0 victory.[66] On 6 October, in a game against Udinese, he made his 100th appearance for Juventus.[67]

International careerEdit

LuxembourgEdit

Due to spending his childhood in Luxembourg, Pjanić became eligible for their national team and begun representing the nation's youth sides. He represented Luxembourg in the 2006 European Under-17 Championship, for which Luxembourg qualified automatically as hosts. He scored Luxembourg's only goal of the tournament. In that same year, he scored 4 goals in a match against Belgium, which ended in a 5–5 draw.[68] Before making his decision regarding his national team status, Pjanić was eligible to represent Luxembourg and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Bosnia and HerzegovinaEdit

 
Pjanić playing for Bosnia and Herzegovina in 2015

In May 2008, during an interview for Bosnian newspaper, Pjanić stated that he wanted to play for Bosnia and Herzegovina.[69] Eventually, officials in the Football Association of Bosnia and Herzegovina took notice and Pjanić was called-up to the country's under-21 team.[70] However, because Pjanić no longer had a Bosnian passport and needed FIFA approval to switch nationalities, he wasn't allowed to be called-up for the senior team. After an eight-month wait and following the involvement of Željko Komšić, a member of the three-person Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Pjanić received a Bosnian passport in early 2008.

He debuted for Bosnia and Herzegovina on 20 August 2008 in the team's 1–2 loss to Bulgaria.[71] On 3 March 2010, he scored his first senior international goal in Bosnia's 2–1 win over Ghana in Sarajevo.[72]

Pjanić was instrumental in Bosnia and Herzegovina's qualification for 2014 FIFA World Cup, their first major competition, and he was named in 23-men squad for the tournament.[73] He debuted in the team's opening group match, a narrow defeat to Argentina at the Estádio do Maracanã.[74] On 25 June, during the final group match against Iran, Pjanić scored a goal, leading to a 3–1 victory to help Bosnia and Herzegovina to their first ever FIFA World Cup win.[75]

Style of playEdit

Nicknamed "il Piccolo Principe" ("the Little Prince") during his time with Roma,[3] Pjanić was regarded as one of the most promising young midfielders of his generation in his youth,[76] and was included in Don Balón's list of the 100 best young players in the world in 2010;[77] however, he was also thought to lack composure at times in the media.[78] His Juventus manager Massimiliano Allegri touted him as a potentially world class midfielder in 2016,[79] later also adding that, although he was extremely talented, he needed to stay more "calm and focused" in order to fulfil his potential;[80] consequently, the 2016–17 season saw him establish himself as one of the best, most skilful, and most versatile midfielders in Europe.[81][82] Although he is neither particularly quick, nor gifted with athleticism or physical strength,[83][84] Pjanić has been described as an efficient "old-fashioned playmaker with huge technical qualities".[85][86] A talented, creative, dynamic, and tenacious midfielder, Pjanić is usually deployed in a central midfield role, or as a deep-lying playmaker in front of the back-line, although his tactical versatility, defensive awareness, and work-rate enable him to play in several midfield positions, and he has also been deployed in more advanced roles as an attacking midfielder,[85][87][88][89][90][91][92][93][94][95][96][97] and even as a second striker on occasion.[98] Pjanić's main attributes are his range of passing, dribbling skills, and vision, which make him an excellent assist provider, and also enable him to dictate the tempo of his team's play in midfield and orchestrate goalscoring opportunities for his teammates.[85][87][88][95][92][99] Known for his eye for goal from midfield and striking ability from distance,[88][100] Pjanić is also known for having the capacity to get into good scoring positions by making late attacking runs into the penalty area from behind.[92][93][95] A renowned set-piece specialist, he is highly regarded for his accurate, bending free-kicks, as well as his delivery from dead-ball situations; in 2015, he was described as the best free-kick taker in the world by renowned set-piece specialist and former Lyon teammate Juninho.[88][101][102][103] Pjanić's precocious talent, playmaking skills, and ability to score many goals from free kicks saw him labelled as a potential heir to Juninho at Lyon.[104] However, despite his ability and the praise he has garnered from pundits, due to his elegant and creative playing style, Pjanić has also drawn criticism on occasion in the media for being inconsistent.[105]

Personal lifeEdit

Pjanić is a Muslim.[106] He has a son named Edin with his longtime girlfriend, Josepha from Nice.[107]

Along with his native Bosnian, Pjanić is fluent in 5 additional languages: Luxembourgish, French, English, German and Italian.[108][109]

Pjanić is enrolled at the University of Sarajevo, majoring in sport and physical education.[110]

Throughout the 2017–18 season, Pjanić appeared in the Netflix's docu-series First Team: Juventus.[111]

Career statisticsEdit

ClubEdit

As of match played 24 August 2019[112]
Club Season League Cup League Cup Continental Other Total
Division Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Metz 2007–08 Ligue 1 32 4 4 1 2 0 38 5
Lyon 2008–09 Ligue 1 20 0 2 0 0 0 1 0 1[a] 0 24 0
2009–10 Ligue 1 37 6 0 0 2 0 14 5 53 11
2010–11 Ligue 1 30 3 0 0 1 0 8 1 39 4
2011–12 Ligue 1 3 1 0 0 0 0 2 0 5 1
Total 90 10 2 0 3 0 25 6 1 0 121 16
Roma 2011–12 Serie A 30 3 1 0 31 3
2012–13 Serie A 27 3 2 1 29 4
2013–14 Serie A 35 6 3 0 38 6
2014–15 Serie A 34 5 2 0 10 0 46 5
2015–16 Serie A 33 10 1 0 7 2 41 12
Total 159 27 9 1 17 2 185 30
Juventus 2016–17 Serie A 30 5 4 2 12 1 1[b] 0 47 8
2017–18 Serie A 31 5 4 1 8 1 1[c] 0 44 7
2018–19 Serie A 31 2 2 0 10 2 1[d] 0 44 4
2019–20 Serie A 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0
Total 93 12 10 3 30 4 3 0 136 19
Career total 374 53 25 5 5 0 72 12 4 0 480 70

InternationalEdit

As of match played 11 June 2019[113]
National team Year Apps Goals
Bosnia and Herzegovina
2008 4 0
2009 9 0
2010 8 3
2011 9 1
2012 8 2
2013 8 2
2014 10 1
2015 9 0
2016 7 3
2017 3 0
2018 8 0
2019 3 1
Total 86 13

International goalsEdit

Scores and results list Bosnia and Herzegovina's goal tally first.[113]
Goal Date Venue Opponent Score Result Competition
1. 3 March 2010 Asim Ferhatović Hase, Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina   Ghana
2–1
2–1
Friendly
2. 3 September 2010 Stade Josy Barthel, Luxembourg City, Luxembourg   Luxembourg
2–0
3–0
UEFA Euro 2012 qualifying
3. 17 November 2010 Štadión Pasienky, Bratislava, Slovakia   Slovakia
2–1
3–2
Friendly
4. 7 October 2011 Bilino Polje, Zenica, Bosnia and Herzegovina   Luxembourg
4–0
5–0
UEFA Euro 2012 qualifying
5. 11 September 2012 Bilino Polje, Zenica, Bosnia and Herzegovina   Latvia
2–1
4–1
2014 FIFA World Cup qualification
6. 16 October 2012 Bilino Polje, Zenica, Bosnia and Herzegovina   Lithuania
3–0
3–0
2014 FIFA World Cup qualification
7. 6 February 2013 Stožice Stadium, Ljubljana, Slovenia   Slovenia
2–0
3–0
Friendly
8. 7 June 2013 Skonto Stadium, Riga, Latvia   Latvia
4–0
5–0
2014 FIFA World Cup qualification
9. 25 June 2014 Arena Fonte Nova, Salvador, Brazil   Iran
2–0
3–1
2014 FIFA World Cup
10. 25 March 2016 Stade Josy Barthel, Luxembourg City, Luxembourg   Luxembourg
3–0
3–0
Friendly
11. 29 March 2016 Letzigrund, Zürich, Switzerland    Switzerland
2–0
2–0
Friendly
12. 13 November 2016 Georgios Karaiskakis, Piraeus, Greece   Greece
1–0
1–1
2018 FIFA World Cup qualification
13. 26 March 2019 Bilino Polje, Zenica, Bosnia and Herzegovina   Greece
2–0
2–2
UEFA Euro 2020 qualifying

HonoursEdit

ReferencesEdit

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External linksEdit