Having been the subject of an international tug-of-war, compared to Fernando Hierro and lauded as one of the German Bundesliga’s finest defenders, Neven Subotic has experienced a lot in his short career.
Born to Serbian parents in Banja Luka, Bosnia-Herzegovina in 1988, he nevertheless spent the majority of his youth in Germany and the USA, whom he represented at U-17 and U-20 level. With the chance to turn out for four countries at senior international level, Subotic chose the birth nation of his parents and went on to appear in five of Serbia’s South Africa 2010 preliminaries, including the 5-0 win over Romania that sealed their qualification.
Subotic made his professional debut for Mainz on the last day of the 2006/07 season, in a 5-2 defeat by Bayern Munich that confirmed his side’s relegation from the Bundesliga. After impressing in the German second flight, however, Borussia Dortmund returned the imposing centre-back to the elite for the 2008/09 campaign.
Subotic has since made a grand impression in the Schwarzgelben colours with his strength, fierce tackling and aerial ability, and penned a new five-year contract with the club in June 2009.
The Borussia player made his Serbia bow in a South Africa 2010 qualifier against Romania in March 2009, helping his side emerge 3-2 winners away from home and earning a post-match comparison to Spanish legend Hierro from his coach, Radomir Antic.