Regular first-team football at club level may have eluded Vladimir Stojkovic since 2006, but that has not preventing him becoming an automatic between the Serbia sticks. Indeed, the 1.95m goalkeeper played in all but two of their South Africa 2010 preliminaries – he missed their opener through injury and final outing, when he was rested with qualification already secured – keeping four clean sheets in the process.
Stojkovic was born in Loznica, western Serbia in 1983, into a sporting family: his father was a professional goalkeeper, while his mother played handball. He swiftly developed a love for football and joined Crvena Zvezda as a 17-year-old in 2000.
Stojkovic struggled for first-team action initially, but following loan spells with Leotar and Zemun, he was promoted into the Belgrade giants’ starting XI for the 2005/06 campaign. One season is all he needed to attract the attention of a handful of clubs from France and Germany, and it was Nantes who the battle for his signature.
When Les Canaris tempted Fabian Barthez out of retirement during the winter break, Stojkovic became surplus to requirements at La Beaujoire and duly joined Vitesse on loan. He failed to command a consistent starting berth in the Netherlands, however, and made a permanent transfer to Portuguese heavyweights Sporting in July 2007.
Stojkovic found himself in a familiar position in Lisbon: warming the bench. He therefore spent the latter half of the 2008/09 campaign on loan to Getafe, and joined Wigan Athletic on a similar deal in January 2010.
Stojkovic was a non-playing member of Serbia and Montenegro’s squad at Germany 2006, and represented his country at the Men’s Olympic Football Tournament Beijing 2008.