World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Darko Pančev

Article Id: WHEBN0002636169
Reproduction Date:

Title: Darko Pančev  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: History of Red Star Belgrade, History of Red Star Belgrade (1990–91), 1990–91 European Cup, 1991–92 European Cup, Davor Šuker
Collection: 1. Fc Lokomotive Leipzig Players, 1965 Births, 1990 Fifa World Cup Players, Bundesliga Players, Dual Internationalists (Football), Expatriate Footballers in Germany, Expatriate Footballers in Italy, Expatriate Footballers in Switzerland, Fc Sion Players, Fk Vardar Players, Fortuna Düsseldorf Players, Inter Milan Players, Living People, MacEdonia International Footballers, MacEdonian Expatriate Footballers, MacEdonian Footballers, Red Star Belgrade Footballers, Serie a Players, Sportspeople from Skopje, Uefa Golden Players, Yugoslav First League Players, Yugoslav Footballers, Yugoslavia International Footballers
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Darko Pančev

Darko Pančev
Personal information
Date of birth (1965-09-07) 7 September 1965
Place of birth Skopje, SFR Yugoslavia
Height 1.75 m (5 ft 9 in)
Playing position Forward
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1983–1988 Vardar 151 (84)
1988–1992 Red Star Belgrade 91 (84)
1992–1995 Internazionale 19 (3)
1994 VfB Leipzig (loan) 10 (2)
1995–1996 Fortuna Düsseldorf 14 (2)
1996–1997 Sion 5 (0)
Total 290 (175)
National team
1984–1991 Yugoslavia 27 (17)
1993–1995 Macedonia 6 (1)

* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.

† Appearances (goals)

Darko Pančev nicknamed Kobra (Macedonian: Дарко Панчев, Macedonian pronunciation: , born 7 September 1965) is a retired Macedonian footballer and winner of the Golden Boot award in 1991.


  • Club career 1
    • Vardar Skopje 1.1
    • Red Star Belgrade 1.2
    • Internazionale 1.3
    • Loan to Leipzig 1.4
    • Return to Inter 1.5
    • Career ending 1.6
  • International career 2
  • Career statistics 3
    • Club 3.1
  • Post-playing 4
  • Personal 5
  • Honours 6
    • Club 6.1
    • Individual 6.2
  • References 7
  • External links 8

Club career

Pančev was the highest scorer in top-division European football in the 1990–91 season with 34 goals, and should have won the European Golden Boot award. However, UEFA decided to make the competition unofficial for the season because of suspect scoring sprees in Cyprus. Pančev did not get the prize at the time, but received it fifteen years later on 3 August 2006 in Skopje. The Golden Boot was presented at a special gala by Michel Platini, Dragan Stojković and Dragan Džajić.

Vardar Skopje

His playing career started in 1982 at Vardar Skopje where he quickly developed into one of the most feared strikers in the Yugoslav League, becoming league top scorer in the 1983–84 season. The skill and seeming ease of his goal scoring exploits in Skopje made him a target for bigger clubs.

Red Star Belgrade

During summer 1988, Pančev was snapped up by Red Star Belgrade, which beat cross-town rivals FK Partizan to the twenty-two-year-old's signature. Another talented youngster, 21-year-old Dejan Savićević, also arrived to the club during the same transfer window, but both promptly got sent to serve the mandatory Yugoslav People's Army (JNA) stint that kept them off the pitch for the entire league season.

Pančev debuted for his new club in 1989 and played three full seasons for crveno-beli, scoring an incredible 84 goals from 91 league appearances, and winning the European Cup and the Intercontinental Cup in 1991.

Due to his phenomenal strike rate, during the early 1990s, he was widely recognized as one of the best strikers in the world. Displaying great goalscoring instincts and predatory skills, he got nicknamed Kobra by the Serbian sports media. Red Star fans remember him as the player who scored the winning penalty in the 1991 European Cup Final, bringing Red Star the most prestigious trophy in European football for the first time in its 50-year existence.

On 4 March 1992, Pančev scored two beautiful goals for Red Star to defeat Panathinaikos 2–0 at the Olympic Stadium in Athens in a European Cup match. The spotlight was on him because upon completing the forms to gain entry in Greece, he wrote his nationality as Macedonian. This made great havoc among the Greeks, he was detained several hours before being allowed to cross the border. In an interview after the duel he would say, "There is a saying that luck follows the brave. I was happy to score two goals before 80,000 spectators in Athens and Red Star to win 2–0. After that, the earth could open up and I did not mind."[1][2][3]


During the middle of 1992, soon to be twenty-seven-year-old Pančev was signed by Internazionale in a high profile transfer with the ITL14 billion (£7 million) fee paid to Red Star.[4] Arriving at a club that had finished the previous league season in a disappointing eighth place (which precipitated a major squad overhaul with the famous German triumvirate of Lothar Matthäus, Jürgen Klinsmann, and Andreas Brehme leaving San Siro and head coach Luis Suárez getting fired), Pančev was naturally looked to for goals as suggested by his glowing reputation from the Federal League and Red Star's European campaigns. Upon signing, club president Ernesto Pellegrini even compared him to Paolo Rossi, giving an indication of the level of expectation thrust upon the Macedonian.[5]

Joining a squad that, in addition to new head coach Osvaldo Bagnoli, also featured plenty of new faces, the conventional wisdom was that such circumstances would work in Pančev's favour in terms of fitting in. His competitors for places upfront were all new arrivals as well: Uruguayan Rubén Sosa who came from Lazio, the Italian 1990 World Cup hero Salvatore Schillaci who came from Juventus, and, depending on formation, even Russian attacking midfielder Igor Shalimov who came from Foggia.

However, in contrast to club president Pellegrini, head coach Bagnoli wasn't as taken with Pančev's playing style and already during pre-season reproached the player for lack of movement. Once the season started, Pančev's performances were nowhere near expectations. From the get go, it was apparent the Macedonian was experiencing major problems adapting to stringent Italian league defences and his goal output suddenly became nonexistent. It didn't take long for his relationship with Bagnoli to take a turn for the worse, as the two started butting heads, often publicly. Pančev apparently even resorted to faking an illness in order to avoid sitting on the bench.[5] The Italian press got down on the striker too, derisively modifying his Red Star moniker Il Cobra to Il Ramarro (green lizard).[6] He'd wait until after the winter break to net his first league goal, which came at home versus Udinese in January 1993. Parallel to Pančev's struggles, Inter posted a decent league season behind Sosa's goalscoring exploits, and with no distraction of European football finished league runners-up to cross-town rival AC Milan. Overall, during his debut season, Pančev appeared in just twelve league matches for the nerazzurri, scoring one league goal in addition to four goals in five Coppa Italia appearances.

Pančev remained part of the Inter squad for the 1993-94 season, although he was completely out of the first-team picture as his relationship with Bagnoli deteriorated to a point of no repair. Furthermore, the arrival of £12 million signing Dennis Bergkamp from Ajax relegated the Macedonian even further down the pecking order. He did not get any league appearances during the first half of the season nor did he get any action in the UEFA Cup. In January 1994, during the winter break, he got loaned out to German team VfB Leipzig.

Loan to Leipzig

Arriving to a club fighting for its life near the bottom of the table, Pančev scored two goals in ten matches for Leipzig during Bundesliga spring half-season. The team still got relegated.

Return to Inter

Pančev returned to San Siro following a six-month loan hoping to make the most of his second chance. Playing under new head coach Ottavio Bianchi, the 29-year-old looked on track to do just that early into the season, scoring in a 3–1 home win versus Fiorentina and two weeks later in a 1–2 home loss to Bari. However, subsequent loss of form and injuries meant that he made the total of only seven league appearances during the campaign. In the UEFA Cup, he got a surprise starting appearance in late September in the return leg of the second round tie versus Aston Villa and even had a glorious opportunity to score following Nicola Berti's thundering shot that bounced favourably off the crossbar, but ended up blasting the rebound high over the bar.[7] UEFA Cup title-holders Inter ended up getting eliminated on penalties that night. It was Pančev's first and only European match while at Inter. Throughout the season, the entire club was going through major turmoil behind the scenes and eventually the owner and club president Pellegrini sold the team to oil magnate Massimo Moratti in March 1995. At the end of the season, during the summer 1995 transfer window, Pančev got offloaded to Fortuna Düsseldorf.

Due to his less than stellar displays in Serie A, Pančev has often been referred to as bidone by Inter fans, a derisive term in Italian meaning "trashcan", used colloquially for high-profile flops in the league.

Career ending

He ended his playing career to Swiss team Sion in 1997.

After retiring from playing, Pančev often talked at length about his failed stint at Inter. In 2002 he addressed the criticism he often received in Italy about his lack of movement off the ball:

He also complained about supposed less-than-friendly attitudes in the nerazzurri dressing room towards certain foreigners, and in this regard singled out Inter's Italian stalwarts Walter Zenga, Giuseppe Bergomi, and Riccardo Ferri as main perpetrators:

International career

Pančev played in the 1990 World Cup for Federal Team and scored two goals in the 4–1 win over the UAE in the first round. It proved to be the only international tournament he played in, due to the ban on Federal Team participating in Euro 1992 because of the war in Bosnia at the time, although by the end of the European qualifying group stages, he was the top marksman on the continent with ten goals for the group qualifying stage.

He played in the Macedonian national team's first ever official match, on October 13, 1993, against Slovenia.[9]

In November 2003, to celebrate UEFA's jubilee, he was selected as the Golden Player of Macedonia by the Football Federation of the Republic of Macedonia as their most outstanding player of the past 50 years.[10]

Career statistics


Club Season Yugoslav League Yugoslav Cup Europe Total
Pld GF Pld GF Pld GF Pld GF
Vardar Skopje 1982–83 4 3 0 0 0 0 4 3
1983–84 31 19 0 0 0 0 31 19
1984–85 31 20 0 0 0 0 31 20
1985–86 26 12 0 0 3 2 29 14
1986–87 29 17 0 0 0 0 29 17
1987–88 30 13 0 0 2 0 32 23
Red Star Belgrade 1989–90 32 25 0 0 3 1 35 26
1990–91 32 34 2 1 9 5 43 40
1991–92 28 25 0 0 9 6 37 31
Total 243 168 0 0 0 0 0 0

Last updated 26 November 2008


After retiring from playing, Pančev worked with the Football Federation of Macedonia. In July 2006, Pančev was named the sporting director of Vardar.

He owns a cafe called Devetka (Number Nine) in Skopje.[11]


Pančev is married to singer Maja Grozdanovska. They have two daughters: Nadica and Marija.



Red Star Belgrade



  1. ^ "Пред точно две децении: Македонецот Дарко Панчев ги покори Атина и Панатинаикос" (in Macedonian). 4 March 2012. Retrieved 27 October 2012. 
  2. ^ "1991/92 European Champions Clubs' Cup Panathinaikos 0:2 Crvena Zvezda". Retrieved 27 October 2012. 
  3. ^ "Darko Pančev MАCEDONIA 2-0 Panathinaikos Greece". Retrieved 27 October 2012. 
  4. ^ """Pancev: "la Coppa dei campioni mi interessa, ma con l'Inter (in Italian). Corriere Della Sera. 23 May 1992. Retrieved 27 October 2012. 
  5. ^ a b "Bidoni calcio: Darko Pancev, da cobra a ramarro dell’Inter" (in German). Ecco dello Sport. 11 May 2010. Retrieved 27 October 2012. 
  6. ^ Vitali, Cristian (2010). Calciobidoni - Non comprate quello straniero (in Italian). Piano B Edizioni. 
  7. ^ "Aston Villa vs Inter Milan - UEFA Cup 1994/95 - Oh, It Must Be!". 29 September 1994. Retrieved 27 October 2012. 
  8. ^ a b "Wounded cobra's venom". The Times. 21 October 2002. 
  9. ^ Match report at
  10. ^ [2]
  11. ^ "Macedonian pride in Pancev". 1 February 2011. Retrieved 27 October 2012. 

External links

  • Darko Pančev at Macedonian Football
  • Darko Pančev – UEFA competition record
  • Darko Pančev at
  • Darko Pančev at (Serbian)
  • Darko Pancev: “Cobra” in patria, “Ramarro” in Italia: Bagnoli insegna (Italian)
Sporting positions
Preceded by
First captain
Macedonia captain
Succeeded by
Toni Micevski
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.