When the 2015 season ended for Edin Dzeko, it seemed like rock bottom for the Bosnian striker. The player recorded arguably his worst professional season, scoring only eight goals in 31 league appearances for his new club Roma. To make matters worse, Dzeko became the target of mockery for his sensational misses and lack of accuracy throughout the season. For many football pundits, he wasn’t worth the €15M Roma paid for his services. For Dzeko, it was certainly a difficult time, and according to one agent, he almost ended up quitting the club. But he never did.
In the first eight league matches of 2016, Dzeko has already scored seven times, making him Serie A’s top goal-scorer. Dzeko’s latest two goals came away to Napoli where the striker assured Roma would continue to challenge Juventus for the Serie A crown. Dzeko’s prodigious goal scoring was back – and the player seems to have dug deep to adjust to the new style and the expectations resting on his shoulders.
Despite leaving for Juventus, his Bosnian compatriot Miralem Pjanic never doubted the “Bosnian Diamond,” saying “I’ve known this Dzeko for a long time, he is a great striker who can also create chances all by himself. You’ll see how many goals he’ll score for Roma this year. After all, he always did score plenty of goals, so it’s not as if he could just forget how to find the net.” To those familiar with Dzeko’s style – Pjanic’s words should hardly surprise anyone. Dzeko has been a resilient player for all of his career.
Growing up in war-ravaged Sarajevo and slowly climbing the football ladder from his local side Zeljeznicar, to Czech outfit Teplice, to Bundesliga side Wolfsburg, and finally to Manchester City – it was always a matter of proving himself capable. Felix Magath, the man that brought Dzeko to Wolfsburg saw raw talent, but beyond that, a ferocious competitiveness that has driven the Bosnian for all of his life. At City, Dzeko struggled initially, but quickly found his feet and cemented his place as someone who would contribute heavily to the club’s cause over the years.
For his country – Dzeko rose from the youth selections to captain the national senior side, scoring 49 goals in 82 appearances. With his latest two goals against Cyprus in World Cup 2018 qualifiers, he is now only four goals behind his childhood idol Adriy Shevchenko, for the UEFA record 26 goals scored in World Cup qualifiers. On the ex-Yugoslav front, Dzeko tops the list of goals scored in the Top 5 European leagues with 131, ahead of Suker (129) and Milosevic (128).
It remains to be seen whether the rest of the season pans out for the tall center-forward but if his life and career are any indicator, Dzeko will redeem himself to Roma supporters, and in his typical style, to himself.