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Dragoslav Šekularac obituary

Brilliant Serbian footballer who played for Red Star Belgrade and won 41 caps representing the former Yugoslavia

The sumptuous playmaking skills of the Serbian footballer Dragoslav Šekularac were so eye-catching during the early 1960s that Pelé once asked him whether he had actually been born in Brazil. Indeed “the Brazilian” was one of Šekularac’s nicknames, and he was also called “the romantic” and “the artist” – sobriquets that reflected other-worldly talents in midfield that were showcased beautifully for Red Star Belgrade and the Yugoslavia national team.

That Šekularac, who has died aged 81, never became a millionaire superstar like Pelé was partly down to the fact that the former Yugoslavia’s stringent rules would not allow him to leave the country for bigger and better things. But there were also times in his career – and he went on playing until he was almost 40 – when he was criticised variously for not making the best of his gifts, for a lack of team play, and for a woefully disrespectful attitude to officials.

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