Veljko Paunović (Serbian Cyrillic: Вељко Пауновић, pronounced [ʋěːʎko paǔ:noʋitɕ]; born 21 August 1977) is a Serbian football manager and former player who is the current manager of Liga MX club Guadalajara.
|Full name||Veljko Paunović|
|Date of birth||21 August 1977|
|Place of birth||Strumica, SFR Yugoslavia|
|Height||1.84 m (6 ft 0 in)|
|Position(s)||Attacking midfielder, striker|
|1995–1996||→ Marbella (loan)||20||(2)|
|1996–1998||Atlético Madrid B||22||(11)|
|1998–1999||→ Mallorca (loan)||24||(5)|
|2001||→ Oviedo (loan)||22||(4)|
|2001–2002||→ Mallorca (loan)||33||(3)|
|2002–2004||Serbia and Montenegro||2||(1)|
|*Club domestic league appearances and goals|
A versatile attacking unit, he could operate as an attacking midfielder or a striker, and spent most of his professional career in Spain where he represented eight clubs, amassing La Liga totals of 212 matches and 38 goals over 11 seasons and having several spells with Atlético Madrid. Other than in his own country, he also played in Germany, Russia and the United States.
Paunović began working as a manager in 2012, starting with Serbia's youth teams and later being in charge of Chicago Fire and Reading.
Born in Strumica, Socialist Republic of Macedonia, Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, Paunović made his professional debut at 17 with FK Partizan. The following summer he moved to Spain, where he would stay for most of the following decade playing for a host of clubs, starting in the 1995–96 season with modest CA Marbella and reaching the 1998–99 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup final with RCD Mallorca (with whom he scored five league goals in that campaign, to help the Balearic Islands team finish third), as well as having three separate stints with Atlético Madrid.
Paunović had his best year in 2002–03 with CD Tenerife in Segunda División, netting 18 times in 38 appearances although the insular side could only rank eighth. After a return to Atlético and a brief stay in Germany with Hannover 96, he joined Getafe CF for 2005–06's top flight, enjoying his finest season in La Liga by scoring ten goals in 30 league matches to help the Madrid outskirts club to the ninth place. Due to the years spent in the country, he received a Spanish passport in 2006.
Paunović was signed by Russian Premier League's FC Rubin Kazan in March 2007, after falling out of favour with Getafe coach Bernd Schuster. The following year, he agreed a two and a half-year deal with UD Almería in January. His debut was a sour one, playing 20 minutes off the bench against Racing de Santander in a 1–0 away defeat, while also receiving two yellow cards in one minute (with the consequent dismissal). He would score on two occasions towards the season's end, in a 4–2 away loss to former team Getafe and in the last matchday, a 3–1 victory at RCD Espanyol.
On 12 July 2008, Paunović signed a two-year deal with his former club Partizan. On 13 August, he scored in a 2–2 draw with Turkey's Fenerbahçe SK in the third qualifying round of the UEFA Champions League. Before the end of the year, however, he announced his decision to retire from the game.
On 29 June 2009, Paunović went on trial with the New York Red Bulls, but eventually turned down the one-year contract offer. In June 2011, after nearly three years out of football, the 33-year-old signed a deal with another North American club, Philadelphia Union, after a trial stint. He scored his first goal with his new team late in the month, in a 3–2 win over Chivas USA.
Paunović officially announced his retirement for the second time on 19 January 2012.
Paunović made his debut for Serbia and Montenegro in a 2–1 friendly win with Mexico, on 13 February 2002. His only other cap came two years later against Northern Ireland, another exhibition match, and he scored in the 1–1 draw in Belfast.
Paunović earned a UEFA PRO coaching licence and a sporting director degree from the Royal Spanish Football Federation. For nine months, he was a UEFA Champions League analyst for RTVE in Spain.
Paunović began working as a manager with the Serbian national team, being of charge of their under-18, under-19 and under-20 sides. While with the latter, he won the 2015 FIFA World Cup.
On 24 November 2015, Paunović was appointed head coach of Chicago Fire FC in Major League Soccer. He led the team to the playoffs in 2017, which happened for the first time in five years. In the same year, he coached in the All-Star Game against Real Madrid.
Paunović also reached the semi-finals of the U.S. Open Cup in 2016 and 2018. He and the Fire parted ways on 13 November 2019.
Paunović replaced Mark Bowen as manager of Reading on 29 August 2020. On his EFL Championship debut on 12 September, the team won 2–0 at Derby County; he ended September as the division's Manager of the Month for winning all three games. They missed out on a playoff place with two games remaining, after a 2–2 draw against Swansea City at the Madejski Stadium.
In November 2021, during Paunović's second season, the team received a six-point deduction for breaching profitability and sustainability rules across the previous three seasons. The following January, the Royals were knocked out of the FA Cup in the third round by National League North side Kidderminster Harriers.
Following a 3–2 away victory over Preston North End on 19 February 2022, Reading announced that Paunović had left his role by mutual consent.
On 31 October 2022, Paunović was named at Liga MX club C.D. Guadalajara.
Paunović experienced hardships while training for football, such as walking for hours to practice and sometimes going without food. His father, Blagoje, was also a footballer. A defender who inspired him, he too played for Partizan and represented Yugoslavia at UEFA Euro 1968, later embarking in a managerial career.
Paunović is married and has four children. He is fluent in six languages: English, Spanish, Serbian, Macedonian, Russian and German.
|Marbella (loan)||1995–96||Segunda División||20||2||0||0||0||0||20||2|
|Atlético Madrid B||1996–97||Segunda División||7||3||0||0||0||0||7||3|
|Atlético Madrid||1996–97||La Liga||16||1||2||0||1||0||19||1|
|Mallorca (loan)||1998–99||La Liga||24||5||0||0||6||1||30||6|
|Oviedo (loan)||2000–01||La Liga||22||4||0||0||0||0||22||4|
|Mallorca (loan)||2001–02||La Liga||33||3||0||0||8||0||41||3|
|Atlético Madrid||2003–04||La Liga||25||6||2||1||0||0||27||7|
|Rubin Kazan||2007||Russian Premier League||16||1||2||1||0||0||18||2|
|Philadelphia Union||2011||Major League Soccer||17||3||0||0||0||0||17||3|
- Scores and results list Serbia and Montenegro's goal tally first, score column indicates score after each Paunović goal.
|1||28 April 2004||Windsor Park, Belfast, Northern Ireland||Northern Ireland||1–0||1–1||Friendly|
|Serbia U20/U19/U18||1 October 2012||30 June 2015||16||10||3||3||62.50|
|Chicago Fire||24 November 2015||13 November 2019||148||46||39||63||31.08|
|Reading||29 August 2020||19 February 2022||83||29||18||36||34.94|
|Guadalajara||1 November 2022||present||12||6||3||3||50.00|
- EFL Championship Manager of the Month: September 2020
- ^ a b c d e "Veljko PAUNOVIC". El Mundo (in Spanish). Retrieved 9 July 2009.
- ^ Vujcic, Djuradj (29 March 2012). "Inside the MLS: Veljko Paunovic". Red Nation Online. Retrieved 30 March 2012.
- ^ "Paunovic poised for Getafe switch". UEFA. 10 May 2005. Retrieved 29 November 2012.
- ^ Segurola, Santiago (20 May 1999). "El Mallorca pierde con orgullo" [Mallorca lose proudly]. El País (in Spanish). Retrieved 28 January 2016.
- ^ Mazarrasa, Gonzalo (6 August 2009). "Paunovic: "Cumplí varios sueños en el Mallorca, y estaré agradecido eternamente"" [Paunovic: "I fulfilled several dreams with Mallorca, and I'll thank them forever"] (in Spanish). RCDM. Retrieved 29 November 2012.
- ^ "Atlético and Paunovic part company". UEFA. 24 January 2005. Retrieved 29 November 2012.
- ^ "Jesús Perera, Pichichi 2003 en Segunda" [Jesús Perera, 2003 Pichichi in Segunda]. Marca (in Spanish). 29 June 2003. Retrieved 16 March 2021.
- ^ "El Getafe de Schuster es reforça amb el davanter serbi Veljko Paunovic" [Schuster's Getafe bolster with Serbian forward Veljko Paunovic] (in Catalan). Televisió de Catalunya. 18 July 2005. Retrieved 23 August 2018.
- ^ a b "Paunovic ficha por el Almería" [Paunovic signs for Almería]. El Día (in Spanish). 19 January 2008. Retrieved 23 August 2018.
- ^ Gutiérrez, José Gabriel (25 February 2008). "Paunovic: "Es muy indignante que esto suceda en el fútbol español"" [Paunovic: "It's outrageous this can happen in Spanish football"]. Ideal (in Spanish). Archived from the original on 29 February 2012. Retrieved 29 November 2012.
- ^ "Getafe 4–2 Almeria". ESPN Soccernet. 7 May 2008. Retrieved 29 November 2012.
- ^ "Espanyol 1–3 Almeria". ESPN Soccernet. 18 May 2008. Retrieved 29 November 2012.
- ^ Mirón, Guillermo (14 July 2008). "Paunovic ficha por el Partizán" [Paunovic signs for Partizan]. Diario de Almería (in Spanish). Retrieved 14 April 2022.
- ^ "Fenerbahçe fightback foils Partizan". UEFA. 13 August 2008. Retrieved 14 April 2022.
- ^ Loaiza, Alfonso (15 December 2010). "Entrevista Paunovic: "Quiero la mentalidad ganadora de Mourinho, y la lucidez de Guardiola"" [Paunovic interview: "I want Mourinho's winner mindset, and Guardiola's lucidity"] (in Spanish). Goal. Retrieved 14 April 2022.
- ^ Lewis, Michael (22 July 2009). "Red Bulls eyeing Serbian forward Veljko Paunovic". New York Daily News. Retrieved 29 November 2012.
- ^ "Union sign Serbian forward Veljko Paunović". Philadelphia Union. 13 June 2011. Retrieved 29 November 2012.
- ^ "Philadelphia Union 3–2 Chivas USA: Philly extend home unbeaten run with spirited comeback". Goal. 26 June 2011. Retrieved 29 November 2012.
- ^ "Union's Paunović announces decision to retire". Philadelphia Union. 18 January 2012. Retrieved 29 November 2012.
- ^ a b "NI 1–1 Serbia & Montenegro". BBC Sport. 28 April 2004. Retrieved 29 November 2012.
- ^ a b c "Chicago Fire Soccer Club signs head coach Veljko Paunović to multi-year contract extension". Chicago Fire. 3 January 2019. Retrieved 7 May 2019.
- ^ a b Ibrulj, Sasa (20 June 2015). "Veljko Paunovic: The man behind Serbia's under-20 World Cup glory". ESPN. Retrieved 23 August 2018.
- ^ "Chicago Fire Soccer Club hires Veljko Paunovic as head coach". Chicago Fire. 24 November 2015. Retrieved 25 November 2012.
- ^ Corrigan, Dermot (1 August 2017). "Veljko Paunovic already making most of opportunity in MLS". ESPN. Retrieved 19 January 2021.
- ^ Edwards, Andy (9 August 2016). "NE Revs top Chicago Fire, book place in 2016 US Open Cup final". NBC Sports. Retrieved 19 January 2021.
- ^ Rodriguez, Alicia (8 August 2018). "Philadelphia Union 3, Chicago Fire 0 | 2018 US Open Cup Match Recap". Major League Soccer. Retrieved 19 January 2021.
- ^ "Chicago Fire part ways with head coach Veljko Paunovic". Chicago Fire. 13 November 2019. Retrieved 13 November 2019.
- ^ "Veljko Paunovic: Reading appoint Serbian as manager, replacing Mark Bowen". BBC Sport. 29 August 2020. Retrieved 29 August 2020.
- ^ Preston, Andy (12 September 2020). "Derby County 0–2 Reading: Goals from Joao and Ejaria give Paunović's Royals the perfect start". Wokingham Today. Retrieved 19 January 2021.
- ^ a b Joy, Matt (8 October 2020). "Reading FC boss nomimated for Manager of the Month award". The Reading Chronicle. Retrieved 26 October 2021.
- ^ Vincent, Gareth (25 April 2021). "Reading 2–2 Swansea City". BBC Sport. Retrieved 27 May 2021.
- ^ Fisher, Ben (17 November 2021). "Reading agree six-point deduction with EFL for breaching financial rules". The Guardian. Retrieved 2 February 2022.
- ^ Warlow, Robert (19 November 2021). "Veljko Paunovic sends defiant message to Reading FC fans after confirmation of points deduction". Get Reading. Retrieved 1 February 2022.
- ^ Nurick, Benjy (8 January 2022). ""I will turn this around." Reading FC manager insists he is right man for the job". The Reading Chronicle. Retrieved 1 February 2022.
- ^ "Club statement | Royals part company with Veljko Paunovic by mutual consent". Reading F.C. 19 February 2022. Retrieved 19 February 2022.
- ^ "Veljko Paunovic: Chivas' new head coach". C.D. Guadalajara. 31 October 2022. Retrieved 31 October 2022.
- ^ "Son of Serbia". The Coaches' Voice. 24 January 2018. Retrieved 7 May 2019.
- ^ "Paunovićev poker (FOTO)" [Paunović poker (PHOTO)] (in Serbian). Mozzart Sport. 30 July 2013. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 18 June 2015.
- ^ Veljko Paunović at BDFutbol
- ^ "Veljko Paunovic". Worldfootball. Retrieved 25 June 2014.
- ^ "Veljko Paunovic". Footballdatabase. Retrieved 21 March 2015.
- ^ "Veljko Paunović" (in Serbian). Partizanopedia. Retrieved 9 November 2020.
- ^ "Veljko Paunovic | Managers". Soccerbase. Retrieved 3 October 2018.
- ^ "V. Paunovic". Soccerway. Retrieved 15 November 2019.
- Veljko Paunović at BDFutbol
- Veljko Paunović at Major League Soccer
- Veljko Paunović at Reprezentacija.rs (in Serbian)
- Veljko Paunović at National-Football-Teams.com