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Drogba Who? Foreigner Focus on Zlatan Muslimović

Drogba Who? Wild East Football analyses those who have already made an impact on the
Chinese Super League before this summer’s influx of football mega stars.

The recent attention on Chinese football has started some hot topics; are the stars here for
the beautiful game or here for the money?  Will rich owners approach the game with seriousness or yearn for their boyhood dream of playing alongside Nicolas Anelka? As football fans, none of us want to see the short-lived reign of a gifted player past his prime a la Paul Gascoigne who despite an impressive goals to games ration of 1:2 is not all that memorable for the 4 games played for Gansu Tianma.

So who can impress and make an impact? Or more importantly, who already has? The first wai yuan we focus on is a guy who joined the CSL at the start of 2012 confirming that there is indeed another half Bosnian, half Swedish Zlatan in the footballing world, Zlatan Muslimović of Guizhou Renhe.

Muslimović started out quite the journeyman of the Italian league where he went on loan from
Udinese to seven clubs in as many years the most successful of which at Serie C side Rimini
where he scored 15 in 32 games on the way to promotion, 0.47 goals a game. Finally departing
Italy with a short spell at Atalanta, Muslimović moved to Greek side PAOK racking up 14 goals in
three years and picking up a Greek Super League runners-up medal. Before his move to Guizhou,
Muslimović racks up 55 goals in 203 games, 0.27 goals per game. Despite a less than prolific
career pre-China, Muslimović has an impressive international record with Bosnia Herzegovina
with 11 goals in 37 appearances.

Before his free transfer move to the CSL, Muslimović spent training sessions with Glasgow
Rangers and Sunderland in the UK on the lookout for a new club before finalizing a move to the Guiyang Olympic Centre in early 2012.

Guizhou Renhe are a side who have undergone several transformations in the last few years in
name and location. They have little silverware of note in the past but currently sit third in the CSL and have former China coach Gao Hongbao, one of the best young Chinese coaches, at the helm.

But what of the impact of Muslimović? He currently has 18 games racked up for the side so
looking at the 18 games before his arrival at Guizhou Renhe, there were four wins, five draws
and nine loses. The team scored 20 and conceded 28 during the 18 games with an average of
1.12 goals per game, conceding 1.56 goals per game. Overall the percentage of games won was
23%.

March 10th 2012, enter Muslimović. 18 games gone he has scored an impressive 10 goals already
on the way to eight Guizhou Renhe wins, four loses and 6 draws. The team has 29 goals, 1.62
per game and has conceded 16, 0.89 per game. In the last 18, with Zlatan Muslimović in the side,
Renhe have a 45% win percentage.

Muslimović is also a part of the team’s unique aerial attack, at 1.89 meters, he’s one of the shorter foreigners, the other two are well over 1.90 meters. This has given Guizhou a dominant advantage on free kicks and long balls, they showed it Wednesday night against Guoan, with two goals coming from corner kicks. The big Swede/Bosnian is always very noticeable on the pitch with his premature balding scalp making him ever so easy to spot.

With Wild East Football’s first impact player under the microscope, impact is the key word! Who knows what kind of damage Zlatan Ibrahimović would do?!

Next week we look at Dalian Shide’s Zambian international striker James Chamanga and the kind of impact he has made on the DongBei side, how will he fare against the impressive upturn in form that Zlatan Muslimović has given Guizhou Renhe!

INFO BOX:

Zlatan Muslimović
Guizhou Renhe
Before arrival After arrival Impact
Scored 1.12 GPG Scored 1.62 GPG +0.5 GPG
Conceded 1.56 GPG Conceded 0.89 GPG -0.7 GPG
Win Rate 23% Win Rate 45% + 22%

Pete is from Sheffield, England and came to China in 2008 initially living in Shenyang where he witnessed his first CSL game, Liaoning Whowin v Chengdu Blades. Pete is a fanatic Sheffield Wednesday fan but has picked up football allegiances from various trips, Galatasary in Turkey, Piacenza in Italy and Muangthong United in Thailand. In early 2009 he moved to Beijing and after a brief time started attending Guoan games regularly.

Pete graduated in Journalism in the UK and has written for several educational publications on Chinese education for his day job as well as Chinese football for WEF which he wishes was more developed but avidly follows the Imperial Guards on their quest for CSL supremacy regardless.

2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. thekupus

    15/08/2012 at 20:10

    “The big Swede/Serb”- Muslimovic has nothing to do with Serbia, and is not even an ethnical Serb… please correct this claim

    • Pete Beijing

      16/08/2012 at 13:36

      The typo has been changed, thanks for pointing this out!

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