Josip Ilicic is a 32-year-old football star who was born in Bosnia and Herzegovina on 29 January 1988. When he was just one year old, his mother, Ana took him and his brother, Igor, away from his country of birth to Slovenia after the death of his father.
Though Ilicic was born in Bosnia and Herzegovina and has Croatian ancestry, he failed to play for the national team of either country. He chose to settle for Slovenia where he was raised. He represented the country from the under-20 level to the national team level.
More so, Ilicic started his professional football career at Slovenian club Bonifika (2007-2008) and later moved to other Slovenian clubs, Interblock (2008-2010) and Maribor (2010). In 2010, his breakthrough came to move to a bigger league. Italian Serie A club, Palermo took him away from Slovenia to kick off his professional football career in Italy.
The football star spent three years at Palermo scoring over 20 goals before he switched to another Italian club Fiorentina. While at Fiorentina, Josip Ilicic made a name for himself as he was instrumental in pushing the club to Coppa Italia final in 2013–2014 season as he did in the 2010-2011 season while at Palermo.
After about four years at Fiorentina, the Slovenia international decided to switch to another Italian club, Atalanta in 2017. Though he was said to be struggling emotionally, Josip Ilicic has been enjoying the best of his career at Atalanta.
How good his Ilicic?
The Atalanta star announced his name in Italian Serie A even louder in the 2018-2019 football season. He led Atalanta to finish third on the league table which qualifies the 112-year-old football club for their first UEFA Champions League campaign.
In that historic season, Josip Ilicic scored 13 goals and made 9 assists in 36 appearances for Atalanta. His performance earned him a place in Serie A team of the year 2018-2019 season and also earned him Slovenian Footballer of the Year 2019.
The 2019-2020 football season was even the best of his football career. Just like how he did in the previous season, he was instrumental in ensuring that the club finished third on the league table.
As he was explosive in the domestic league so he was in European most prestigious club football competition, the UEFA Champions League. Despite the fact that the 2019-2020 season was the first time Atalanta played in the Champions League, Josip Ilicic ensured that the club gave the best account of themselves and qualified them for the quarter-final stage of the competition.
In all competitions, Ilicic scored 21 goals and made 9 assists to become the highest goalscorer of his club and set his personal career-best.
His unavoidable absence in Atalanta was heavily felt on Wednesday when the club faced Paris Saint Germain in the UEFA Champions League quarter-final. Thought his team led PSG for 88 minutes before the lost the game 2-1 and crashed out of the tournament, the presence of Ilicic would have probably made the difference.
Watch some Josip Ilicic’s highlights below:
The Salary of Josip Ilicic, his family and contract with Atalanta
Josip Ilicic has been with Atalanta since 2017. Due to the status of the club, he is not earning as much as expected when compared with how important he has been for the club.
According to available data, Ilicic earns about €53,500-per-week as Atalanta talisman. The contract of the Slovenia international with Atalanta will expire on 30 June 2022.
On the other hand, Ilicic is married to a Slovenian lady Tina Polovina who used to be a gymnast but now works at the Slovenian Ministry of Education. They have two daughters together, Sofia born in 2013, and Victoria born in 2018.