- Sep 3, 2010
Full name: Mirko Vučinić
Date of birth: 1 October 1983 (age 27)
Place of birth: Nikšić, SFR Yugoslavia
Height: 1.86 m (6 ft 1 in)
Playing position: Forward/SS
Mirko Vučinić, born 1 October 1983 in Nikšić, Montenegro, SFR Yugoslavia) is a Montenegrin footballer playing for Serie A club Juventus. He is usually deployed as a striker or forward primarily on the left side, and is known for his speed, dribbling and abilities to score impressive goals.
Originally from Nikšić, Montenegro, Vučinić found himself playing for the local team there during his early teen years. He quickly caught the attention of Pantaleo Corvino, the sporting director of the Italian football club, U.S. Lecce and was transferred to Lecce in the summer of 2000. Between 2000 and 2006, years, Mirko played for Lecce as they moved between Serie A and B. His most impressive season was 2004/2005 where the 21 year old netted 19 goals in 28 games while Lecce was in Serie A. During the summer of 2006, Mirko was loaned to A.S. Roma, where he would eventually stay till present day. Mirko's presence at Roma does not go unnoticed. He has contributed with numerous goals, helping the team with crucial wins in Serie A and Champions League.
On the international stage, Vučinić played for the Serbia-Montenegro U21 team, with a notable performance against the U21 Croatian team in 2005, where he scored a 3 goals. Due to injury, he was unable to represent Serbia and Montenegro at the World Cup in 2006. Following the split of Serbia and Montenegro in spring of 2006, Mirko chose to represent Montenegro. He has participated in Montenegro's World Cup 2010 qualifying stage, contributing with 2 goals. As well, Mirko has so far scored 2 goals for Montenegro in their qualifying stages of Euro Cup 2012.
Having marked himself out at a young age, 17-year-old Vučinić was quickly snatched by U.S. Lecce during summer 2000. The man who initiated the transfer was the club's sporting director at the time Pantaleo Corvino who has since developed a reputation for having a good eye when it comes to football talent coming out of Eastern Europe.
In his fourth season for the club, 21 year-old Vučinić hit a blistering goalscoring form with 19 goals in 28 Serie A games, including a hat-trick versus Lazio on May 1, 2005. Following that successful season, his progress came to a halt with only nine goals recorded in 31 games as his career stalled due to injury.
On 30 August 2006, he signed a one year loan contract with A.S. Roma worth €3.25M with an option of buying 50% rights from Lecce once the season finishes for an additional €3.75M.
During his first season in Rome, he did not feature much as he had operations on his left knee twice. Also, the presence of the European Golden Boot winner Francesco Totti as the lone forward of Roma's tactical formation under head coach Luciano Spalletti did not give Vučinić much playing time. Despite this, he succeeded in scoring three goals: his first goal for Roma in the 1–0 victory against Siena on 28 January 2007, his first goal in the UEFA Champions League during the quarter-finals match 2–1 victory against Manchester United on 4 April 2007. He also scored another Serie A away goal against Catania in a game that saw roma beat the Sicilians 2–0.
At the beginning of the 2007–08 season, Roma paid Lecce the pre-agreed price of €3.75M, to sign Vučinić 50% of rights. He decided to wear the jersey #9, owned by Vincenzo Montella in the last eight seasons, and also stated that he would like to do the same that Montella did at Roma.
As veteran Francesco Totti was usually deployed as a lone striker, Vučinić began to play as left winger in Luciano Spalletti's 4-2-3-1. He scored his first goal of the season in the 2–1 victory against Sporting CP, in the Champions League group stage, allowing Roma to get the vital goal to earn them three points.
In the following game away to Milan at the San Siro, with veteran striker Totti injured, Vučinić started as a striker and scored a header, from a cross by his teammate Cicinho. It was the only goal of the game as Roma picked up a win over its rival. This proved decisive again, as in the game against city rivals Lazio, Roma won by 3–2 with Vučinić leaving his mark with a left-foot equalizer and an assist to Simone Perrotta's goal. Another decisive goal of Vučinić was a header against Real Madrid C.F. at the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium, securing a 2–1 win for his side as well as qualification to the successive round.
In June 2008 Roma finally bought Vučinić outright by paying Lecce €12m.
On 4 November 2008, he scored two goals in Roma's UEFA Champions League group stage match against Chelsea, emerging 3–1 winners. Roma made it to the first knockout stage where they lost to Arsenal on penalties with Vučinić missing the target in the shootout with a weak shot down the middle that was easily saved by Manuel Almunia.
On 1 June 2009, Roma announced Vučinić had signed a new 4-year contract, with his gross annual salary progressively increasing from €4 in 2009–10 season to 4.7M in 2012–13 season. The 2009–10 Serie A campaign started off poorly for Roma, forcing head coach Luciano Spalletti to resign after two opening losses. Arrival of new head coach Claudio Ranieri initially failed to change matters with the team continuing to slide down the standings as Vučinić got soundly booed by Roma fans in early November 2009 against Bologna when he finally scored his first goal of the season. However, after winning that match, Roma went on a 24-match unbeaten run in the league, mounting a credible title challenge by the end of the season, in large part thanks to Vučinić's improved form and steady goalscoring efforts that included a hat-trick versus Udinese and a brace in the win against heated crosstown rivals Lazio.
The 2010-11 season began well for Vučinić, scoring the injury-time winner against defending league champions Inter. However, as the season progressed he experienced loss of form and his goals output dipped dramatically.
The team was also going through turmoil as it was way off pace for the title after challenging for Scudetto the previous few seasons. Head coach Ranieri got the sack and was replaced with Vincenzo Montella. Vučinić's form didn't improve much as his loss of confidence became very evident in April when he missed open net sitters in two consecutive home matches - first in Serie A versus Palermo with the score tied at 1-1 (Roma eventually lost 2-3) and then three days later in Coppa Italia semifinal first leg versus Inter (Roma lost 0-1)
On the 30th of July 2011, it was confirmed that Juventus F.C signed Vučinić for €15 million from A.S. Roma, with a 4 year deal worth €3.5 million per year.
Vučinić was one of the two Montenegro-born players who had been chosen to play for Serbia and Montenegro at 2006 FIFA World Cup (the other one was Dragoslav Jevrić); he had been capped already three times for the Serbia and Montenegro team, but on 23 May 2006 he got injured and could not participate in the competition.
After Montenegro became an independent country, and a new national team was established, Vučinić chose to play for it and, when on 24 March 2007, Montenegro national team played its first international match against Hungary, Vučinić scored the first goal, a penalty, of Montenegro's history, of whom currently he is also the captain. During the 2010 World Cup Qualifiers, Mirko's most famous goals came when he netted a free kick in the 60th minute against Bulgaria and also scored a remarkable goal against Italy. However, Montenegro failed to qualify and finished in 5th place. During the 2012 Euro Cup Qualifiers, Mirko has produced 2 key goals that have contributed to 2 victories for Montenegro.