'Montenegrin Messi' rises to the top of Europe's wanted lists

Still a teenager, Stevan Jovetic is not unknown to scouts both in Britain and on the continent. After scoring twice on Tuesday night, he can expect his star to rise further still

An opportunity missed, Sir Alex Ferguson might well have reflected when watching Stevan Jovetic tear Liverpool's back four asunder. It is unclear how close Ferguson came to signing Jovetic when the striker, then 17 years old, was helping himself to what would be a tally of 25 goals in 76 appearances for Partizan Belgrade. United did watch the Montenegrin closely but opted instead to sign Zoran Tosic and Adem Ljajic from the Serbian club instead.

Jovetic, still a teenager until November, has long earned mentions in lists of the world's 20 top young talents, after moving from the local Mladost team in the Montenegro city of Podgorica and signing to Partizan as a youth player in 2003. And neither was Ferguson alone in showing interest – there was also talk of interest from Sven Goran Eriksson, while managing Manchester City, and from Arsenal. But Jovetic apparently was not judged to be a player destined for the dizziest heights of the European game. Instead he headed to the second bracket, signing for £7m last year to Fiorentina, a side still rebuilding after their bankruptcy of 2002.

That may now have changed for good. Having scored the goals on Tuesday night that will have Rafa Benitez reassessing his side's defensive merits, Jovetic is said to have already been offered a fresh contract by the Viola, extending his deal there by a year to take him into 2014.

Jovetic is, as well as a finisher, a busy operator on the edges of the box, which is why he acquired the moniker the "Montenegrin Messi" in Florence but he has had to bide his time. Typically of Serie A sides, Fiorentina have backed their older striker, with Jovetic playing understudy to Alberto Gilardino.

The signs have been there this season, during which Jovetic has already scored against Palermo and Serie A pacesetters Sampdoria, and also converted the penalty that sealed the Tuscan derby win over Livorno.

More priceless was the goal in the Viola's eye-catching Champions League qualifying-round defeat of Sporting Lisbon, which secured them a place in Group E.

The fledgling Montenegro national side does not have many standard bearers. Jovetic is the cream of them. Captain of the under-21s at the age of 17 before graduating to make his full international bow he now captains that side.

His two goals in a friendly against Hungary in August 2008 offered more evidence of the fearlessness on display in Tuesday evening, when he rolled his first goal calmly past Pepe Reina.

"Jo-Jo", as he is known, has said he likes Fiorentina's progressive style of play. "They play with a smile on their face," he said of the team in one recent interview. He has also disclosed a penchant for the local jam tart dish, while fans have drawn amusement from his tonsorial similarity with Brian May.

"We knew about him. We were watching some of his games," Benitez said in the aftermath of the 2-0 defeat. But it was impossible to disguise the fact that Liverpool underestimated the threat. This season he has scored three times from four Serie A starts, and also found the net once in his two World Cup qualifiers. He can be sure there will be more attention for the return fixture at Anfield on 9 December – and indeed wherever else he plays.

7m

Value of fee in pounds paid by Fiorentina to bring in Jovetic from Partizan Belgrade.

News
Susan Sarandon described David Bowie as
peopleSusan Sarandon reveals more on her David Bowie romance
Sport
Lewis Hamilton walks back to the pit lane with his Mercedes burning in the background
Formula 1
Arts and Entertainment
The new characters were announced yesterday at San Diego Comic Con
comic-con 2014
Sport
Arsenal supporters gather for a recent ‘fan party’ in New Jersey
football
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
i100
News
Bryan had a bracelet given to him by his late father stolen during the raid
people
News
A rub on the tummy sprang Casey back to life
video
Sport
sportDidier Drogba returns to Chelsea on one-year deal
Arts and Entertainment
The Secret Cinema performance of Back to the Future has been cancelled again
film
Life and Style
Balmain's autumn/winter 2014 campaign, shot by Mario Sorrenti and featuring Binx Walton, Cara Delevingne, Jourdan Dunn, Ysaunny Brito, Issa Lish and Kayla Scott
fashionHow Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Christian Grey cradles Ana in the Fifty Shades of Grey film
filmFifty Shades of Grey trailer provokes moral outrage in US
News
people
News
BBC broadcaster and presenter Evan Davis, who will be taking over from Jeremy Paxman on Newsnight
peopleForget Paxman - what will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Life and Style
fashionCustomer complained about the visibly protruding ribs
News
newsComedy club forced to apologise as maggots eating a dead pigeon fall out of air-conditioning
Arts and Entertainment
Jo Brand says she's mellowed a lot
tvJo Brand says shows encourage people to laugh at the vulnerable
Life and Style
People may feel that they're procrastinating by watching TV in the evening
life
News
Tovey says of homeless charity the Pillion Trust : 'If it weren't for them and the park attendant I wouldn't be here today.'
people
Sport
Rhys Williams
commonwealth games
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Evan Davis: The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing to take over at Newsnight

The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing

What will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Finding the names for America’s shame: What happens to the immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert?

Finding the names for America’s shame

The immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert
Inside a church for Born Again Christians: Speaking to God in a Manchester multiplex

Inside a church for Born Again Christians

As Britain's Anglican church struggles to establish its modern identity, one branch of Christianity is booming
Rihanna, Kim Kardashian and me: How Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Parisian couturier Pierre Balmain made his name dressing the mid-century jet set. Today, Olivier Rousteing – heir to the house Pierre built – is celebrating their 21st-century equivalents. The result? Nothing short of Balmania
Cancer, cardiac arrest, HIV and homelessness - and he's only 39

Incredible survival story of David Tovey

Tovey went from cooking for the Queen to rifling through bins for his supper. His is a startling story of endurance against the odds – and of a social safety net failing at every turn
Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little