A Guide To Football In Serbia

Welcome to our comprehensive guide on football in Serbia, the nation’s most cherished sport with a rich and fascinating heritage. In this article, we’ll explore Serbia’s storied football history, their renowned clubs and players, and even offer tips for fans visiting the country eager to experience the beautiful game firsthand.

Whether you’re curious about up-and-coming talent or seeking to understand how Serbia stacks up against global competition like the World Cup 2022, you’ll find everything you need right here.

Key Takeaways

  • Football in Serbia has a rich history dating back to the early 20th century, with clubs like Partizan and Crvena Zvezda dominating domestic competitions and making their mark on European tournaments.
  • The Serbian SuperLiga is the top – tier football league in Serbia with notable teams like Partizan, Red Star, Vojvodina, Radnički Niš and FK Napredak that have passionate fan bases creating an electric atmosphere at their respective stadiums on match days.
  • The national football team of Serbia has a long and successful history including reaching the quarter-finals of both the 1936 and 1962 World Cups as Yugoslavia, qualifying for Euro 2000’s Quarter-final as an independent nation, making it to the Round of 16 in their last two World Cup appearances (2010 & 2018), winning FIFA U-20 World Cup in 2015, and producing talented players like Nemanja Vidic and Dejan Stanković.
  • Attending a football match in Belgrade or any other city in Serbia offers an unforgettable experience due to its passionate fans’ lively atmosphere combined with intense rivalries adding excitement to already entertaining matches.

A Brief History Of Football In Serbia

Football in Serbia dates back to the early 1900s, with teams made up of primarily university students playing matches against each other.

Early Origins And Development

Football in Serbia traces its roots back to the late 19th century, when the first organised matches were played between local teams and foreign clubs residing in the country.

The sport’s popularity gained momentum during the early 20th century, with the establishment of numerous football clubs throughout Serbia.

As gambling became increasingly prevalent within sports culture globally, including football, it didn’t take long for enthusiasts in Serbia to participate actively. Betting shops started popping up throughout cities as passionate fans sought to try their luck at predicting match results.

Despite being a relatively new addition to Serbian society compared to other European countries where gambling formed a significant part of sporting traditions, betting quickly found its place among Serbian football fans.

Establishment Of The Serbian Football Association

The Serbian Football Association (FSS) was established in 1919, following the First World War. At that time, Serbia was part of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, which later became Yugoslavia.

The FSS played a crucial role in shaping football in Serbia by organizing leagues and national competitions for different age groups.

Thanks to its efforts, many successful players have emerged from Serbia over the past century. The FSS has also played an instrumental role in developing clubs like Partizan Belgrade and Crvena Zvezda (Red Star), who have dominated domestic football since they were founded.

International Successes

Serbia has a rich history of international successes on the football field. They have participated in 12 European Championships and two World Cups since they declared independence from Yugoslavia in 2006.

The national team won the FIFA U-20 World Cup in 2015, defeating Brazil in the final. In addition, Serbia was part of the Yugoslav team that finished as runners-up to Uruguay at the first-ever FIFA World Cup in 1930.

The Serbian SuperLiga

The Serbian SuperLiga is the top-tier football league in Serbia, featuring 16 teams and operating on a promotion-relegation system.

Overview Of The League Structure

The Serbian SuperLiga is the top professional football league in Serbia, consisting of 16 teams that compete against each other over a season that runs from August to May.

Each team plays 30 games, with three points awarded for a win and one point for a draw.

Serbian SuperLiga has some famous rivalries between several clubs including Partizan Belgrade vs Crvena Zvezda (Red Star) Belgrade. The second-placed team earns direct qualification to UEFA Champions League qualifications rounds while third-placed move to Europa Conference League qualifications phases along with the winner of Serbia’s national cup competition.

Key Teams And Stadiums

Serbia has several key football teams and stadiums that attract fans from all over the world. The following are some of the most notable:

Partizan: This club is one of the oldest and most successful in Serbia, having won numerous league titles and cups. Their home stadium, Stadion Partizana, is located in Belgrade and has a capacity of 32,710 seats.

Crvena Zvezda (Red Star): Like Partizan, Red Star is based in Belgrade and boasts a passionate fan base. Their home stadium, Stadion Crvena Zvezda, can hold up to 55,538 spectators.

Vojvodina: This club is based in Novi Sad and has a long history of success. They play their home matches at Stadion Karađorđe, which holds 21,458 fans.

Radnički Niš: Located in southern Serbia, this team has enjoyed a resurgence in recent years with new ownership and investment. Their home ground is Čair Stadium, which can accommodate up to 18,151 spectators.

FK Napredak: This Kruševac-based club competes in the Serbian SuperLiga and plays its home matches at Mladost Stadium. The stadium holds up to 11,000 fans at full capacity.

These teams have loyal fan bases that create an electric atmosphere at their respective stadiums on match days. Whether you’re cheering for a local side or just enjoying the spectacle of Serbian football culture, attending a match in Serbia is an unforgettable experience for any football fan or gambler interested in capitalizing on betting opportunities available around these clubs’ games.

Notable Players And Managers

Serbia has produced numerous talented football players and world-renowned managers over the years. Here are some notable ones to keep an eye on:

Nemanja Vidic – Former Manchester United captain and one of the best defenders in Premier League history.

Dejan Stankovic – A former Inter Milan midfielder who was instrumental in their Champions League win in 2010.

Mladen Krstajic – The current manager of the Serbian national team who played for Serbia at the 2006 World Cup.

Luka Jovic – A young striker who currently plays for Real Madrid and is considered one of the most promising talents in European football.

Marko Grujic – A midfielder who has played for Liverpool, Porto, and Hertha Berlin, known for his physicality and ability to dictate play from midfield.

Slavisa Jokanovic – A former player turned highly successful manager, leading both Watford and Fulham to promotion from the Championship to the Premier League.

Branislav Ivanovic – A versatile defender who has enjoyed a long career playing for Chelsea and Zenit St Petersburg, as well as being an important figure for Serbia’s national team.

Sinisa Mihajlovic – Another former player turned manager, known for his passionate approach to coaching and his tactical acumen.

Aleksandar Kolarov – An attacking full-back known for his powerful free-kicks, Kolarov has had a successful career playing for teams such as Roma, Manchester City, and Lazio.

Dragan Stojkovic – Popularly known as Piksi (Japanese: Jinkichi Kato) is a former professional footballer from Yugoslavia/Serbia is often regarded as one of the greatest Serbian footballers of all time due to his creativity with the ball during his prime years at Red star Belgrade where he won the European Cup.

The National Football Team Of Serbia

The national football team of Serbia has a rich history, having competed in numerous international tournaments and achieving success along the way.

History And Achievements

The national football team of Serbia has a long and successful history in international tournaments. Previously known as Yugoslavia, the team won the 1987 FIFA World Youth Championship and reached the quarter-finals of both the 1930 and 1962 World Cups as Yugoslavia.

As an independent nation, Serbia qualified for their first major tournament at Euro 2000, reaching the Quarter-finals. They also made it to the Round of 16 in their last two World Cup appearances in 2010 and 2018.

Additionally, notable Serbian players have achieved success individually including Dejan Stanković who won five Italian Serie A titles with Inter Milan.

Experiencing Football In Serbia

Attending a football match in Belgrade or any other city in Serbia is an unforgettable experience, with the passionate fans, lively atmosphere, and intense rivalries adding to the excitement.

Attending Matches In Belgrade And Beyond

Attending football matches in Serbia can be a thrilling experience for gambling enthusiasts. Here are some tips on attending matches in Belgrade and beyond:

  1. Buy tickets in advance: Especially for big matches, it’s best to purchase tickets ahead of time to ensure you get a good seat and avoid long queues at the ticket booth.
  2. Arrive early: Arrive at least an hour before kick-off to soak up the atmosphere and find your seat before the stadium fills up.
  3. Dress appropriately: Wear comfortable clothing and shoes, as well as colours that match the team you are supporting.
  4. Be prepared for security measures: Stadiums in Serbia have strict security measures, so be ready for bag checks and metal detectors.
  5. Use public transportation: The traffic around stadiums can be chaotic, so taking public transportation is recommended.
  6. Sample local food and drink: Try traditional Serbian cuisine like cevapi or pljeskavica, paired with a cold beer or rakija (fruit brandy).
  7. Join in the chants: Football fans in Serbia are passionate about their teams, so join in the chants and cheers to fully immerse yourself in the experience.
  8. Respect rivalries: Partizan vs Red Star (Crvena Zvezda) is one of Europe’s most intense rivalries, so be respectful when attending these matches.
  9. Don’t miss out on other cities’ stadiums: Belgrade may have the most famous stadiums, but many other cities boast impressive football arenas worth visiting such as Novi Sad or Kragujevac.

Local Food And Drink Recommendations

Serbia is famous for its delicious traditional food and drink, and attending a football match is the perfect opportunity to try some of these local treats. Here are some of our top recommendations:

  1. Ćevapi – These grilled minced meat sausages are a popular street food in Serbia, often served with onions, ajvar (a pepper-based condiment), and pita bread.
  2. Pljeskavica – Another Serbian favourite, pljeskavica is a type of burger made with minced beef or pork, often stuffed with cheese or topped with kajmak (a creamy dairy product).
  3. Rakija – A traditional Serbian fruit brandy often served as an aperitif before meals or alongside coffee.
  4. Beer – Serbia has a thriving craft beer scene, with many breweries offering unique and delicious brews to enjoy during the match.
  5. Kafana-style dining – Kafanas are traditional Serbian restaurants that serve hearty meals accompanied by live music and lively atmosphere.
  6. Ajvar – A roasted red pepper spread that goes well with almost anything, from bread to meat dishes.
  7. Pekara bakeries – Pekaras are small bakeries where you can find fresh pastries like burek (flaky pastry stuffed with meat or cheese) or kiflice (crescent-shaped rolls).

Whether you’re looking for a quick snack or a full meal before the match, there’s something for everyone in Serbia’s vibrant food scene. So don’t be afraid to explore the local cuisine while cheering on your favourite football team!

Tips For Football Fans Visiting Serbia

When visiting Serbia for football, it’s important to keep a few things in mind to fully immerse yourself in the experience. Whether you’re attending a match in Belgrade or exploring football culture beyond the city, here are some tips for football fans:

  1. Get familiar with local customs and traditions – Serbian football fans take their passion seriously, so be respectful of their culture when attending matches.
  2. Arrive early – Stadiums can get crowded before kick-off, so make sure to arrive at least an hour before the game starts to avoid long lines and ensure a good seat.
  3. Dress accordingly – Wear comfortable clothing and shoes suitable for standing or sitting for extended periods of time in various weather conditions.
  4. Try local food and drinks – Be sure to indulge in traditional Serbian cuisine such as cevapi and rakija while cheering on your favourite team.
  5. Learn basic Serbian phrases – Knowing a few simple phrases like “Hvala” (thank you) or “Dobar dan” (good day) can go a long way when interacting with locals.
  6. Respect stadium regulations – Follow the rules set by the stadium such as no smoking or bringing outside food/drink into the venue.
  7. Explore beyond Belgrade – Serbia has many other beautiful cities with great football teams such as Novi Sad, Nis, and Subotica. Take advantage of your trip and explore beyond the capital!


In conclusion, Serbia is a country with a deep passion for football. From the early origins of the game to its current success on the global stage, Serbian football has a rich and fascinating history.

The SuperLiga and national team provide plenty of excitement for fans both locally and internationally, while attending matches offers an unforgettable experience in Belgrade and beyond.

With talented players, passionate fans, iconic stadiums like Stadion Partizana and Stadion Crvena Zvezda, as well as delicious local food and drink recommendations, Serbia truly has it all for football enthusiasts.


What is the football culture like in Serbia?

Football holds a special place in Serbian culture, as it brings together fans from all walks of life to support their teams. The passion for the sport runs deep and is reflected in the intense rivalries between clubs, especially those based in Belgrade.

How many professional football clubs are there in Serbia?

Serbia has 16 professional football clubs that compete in its top league, known as the Serbian SuperLiga. Some of the most successful teams include Red Star Belgrade, Partizan Belgrade and Vojvodina Novi Sad.

What are some must-visit stadiums for football fans visiting Serbia?

Red Star’s Rajko Mitic Stadium – also known as Marakana – is considered one of Europe’s most iconic stadiums with a capacity of over 50,000 spectators. FK Partizan’s stadium – Partizan Stadium – also located in Belgrade, is another historical venue worth checking out.

Who are some popular Serbian football players?

Serbia has produced several world-renowned players including Nemanja Vidic (former Manchester United centre back), Dejan Stankovic (former Inter Milan midfielder) and Luka Jovic (Real Madrid striker). Additionally Aleksandar Kolarov played for Manchester City & Roma while Dusan Tadic featured prominently at FC Twente & Southampton before signing with Ajax Amsterdam where he led them to domestic titles and European glory.

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