Saturday March 30 2013
Ljajic stands up to Rossi and Serbia

Everton are tracking Adem Ljajic, while the Fiorentina striker admits he “expected to leave” after he was punched by Coach Delio Rossi and won’t sing the Serbian anthem.

There are reports that Premier League side Everton are continuing to push for a summer transfer, as they have been impressed by the 21-year-old’s six goals between Serie A and the Coppa Italia this season.

His contract expires in June 2014 and so far there have been no steps forward in terms of a renewal.

Ljajic spoke to La Gazzetta dello Sport magazine SportWeek today and explained why this campaign has been different.

“I arrived in Italy after just two seasons in Serbia, where the football is less tactical. Now I know better how to play here and Vincenzo Montella believes in me, so gave me confidence.

“I have also changed in terms of mentality. Before when I didn’t play, I would often train half-heartedly, but now I always give 100 per cent. I would like to renew my contract with Fiorentina, but we’ll talk about it at the end of the season.”

Ljajic hit the headlines after a bizarre incident last April when he reacted sarcastically to a substitution and then-Fiorentina Coach Rossi attacked him in the dug-out. Rossi was fired the next day, but continues to insist the player insulted him and his family to provoke that reaction.

“I thank my teammates who confirmed I had not offended Delio. That was the saddest situation of my life and I really expected to leave Fiorentina, while the club also considered selling me. I don’t like this reputation I have of being a spoilt brat when I left home at 13 to play in Belgrade.”

However, Ljajic has had problems with his country as well. Serbia Coach Sinisa Mihajlovic has pledged not to recall the 19-year-old unless he sings the national anthem before kick-off.

“I signed a pact with Mihajlovic, but I didn’t really read it. Serbia is made up of Muslims too. I played for 10 years at various international levels and nobody ever asked me to sing the anthem. If these are the conditions of playing for Serbia, then I will not return.”