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Millwall Goalkeeper Matija Sarkic Passes Away At 26

 June 16, 2024

Millwall goalkeeper, Matija Sarkic, has died suddenly at the age of 26, causing profound distress throughout the soccer community.

The sudden passing of Sarkic has left his teammates, clubs, and the Montenegro Football Association in deep grief, as the BBC reports.

Sarkic, who was born in Grimsby, joined Millwall from Wolverhampton Wanderers in August 2023. The young goalkeeper made a significant impact with his new team, making 33 appearances during the last season and earning high praise from fans and teammates alike.

Early Career of Matija Sarkic

Sarkic’s football journey began with the youth academy of Belgian side Anderlecht, before moving to Aston Villa. During his time at Aston Villa, Sarkic experienced a series of loan spells, playing for clubs such as Wigan, Stratford Town, Havant & Waterlooville, Livingston, Shrewsbury Town, Birmingham City, and Stoke City.

In 2015, Sarkic made his full international debut for Montenegro, showcasing his goalkeeping skills on an international level. His dedication and performance did not go unnoticed, and he went on to establish himself as a reliable goalkeeper.

Matija’s move to Millwall in 2023 marked a new chapter in his career. He began with a clean sheet on his debut, quickly winning the hearts of the Millwall fans.

Last Performance and Tragic End

Unfortunately, Sarkic was sidelined by an injury a month into his first season with Millwall. However, he returned to action in December under the guidance of new manager Joe Edwards, and then Neil Harris. His presence was felt strongly in the latter part of the season, as he conceded only seven goals in the last ten games and saved a crucial penalty against Swansea City in his final game.

Sarkic’s last international appearance for Montenegro was in a friendly against Belgium on June 5, where Montenegro faced a 2-0 defeat. Despite the loss, Sarkic's performance was commendable.

The football community was struck with shock and sadness when news broke that Matija Sarkic collapsed suddenly in his apartment in Budva on Saturday morning and subsequently passed away. The unexpected nature of his death at such a young age has left many in disbelief.

Emotional Reactions and Tributes

The Montenegro Football Association expressed their grief by stating, “His untimely death has caused great pain to the Sarkic family.” Millwall, the club where Sarkic most recently played, released a heartfelt message: “Everyone at the club sends their love and condolences to Matija's family and friends at this immensely sad time.”

Aston Villa, where Sarkic spent five formative years of his career, also paid tribute by mentioning, “Matija joined our academy in 2015 and spent five years with the club, during which time he made his full international debut for Montenegro, before departing in the summer of 2020. The thoughts and condolences of all at the club are with his family and friends at this incredibly sad time.”

BBC pundit and former professional footballer Micah Richards shared his personal reflections: “He was a young lad coming through at Aston Villa, trained with the first team and when I got the news I was absolutely devastated. Just 26 years of age, gone way too soon. I have been a little bit down all day, thinking about it. I just want to send my condolences to his family.”

Sarkic's Legacy and the Community's Grief

Former Millwall captain Paul Robinson also posted a touching message: “What a lovely fella we have lost.” These heartfelt tributes highlight the deep impact Sarkic had on those around him, both on and off the pitch.

Sarkic's sudden death has resonated deeply within the football community. Former clubs, teammates, and fans continue to express their sorrow and pay their respects to a player who, despite his young age, had already made a significant impact in football.

The athlete's journey, from his beginnings at Anderlecht, his various lean spells, to his time solidifying his position at Millwall, reminds us of the dedication and passion that drove his career. His death leaves a void that will be felt across the football world.

In conclusion, the sudden passing of Matija Sarkic has left a significant mark on the football community.

From his early days at Anderlecht and Aston Villa to his impactful presence at Millwall and the Montenegro national team, his contributions and legacy will not be forgotten.

As the football community mourns, the thoughts and condolences are with his family, friends, and all who knew him.