Presenting an in-depth insight into Djordje Petrovic’s Biography, our article delves into his early years, family life, insights into his upbringing by his parents, Gordana and Zlatan Petrovic, his sister Katarina (only sibling), and Dina Petrovic, his wife and his rich sporting family’s background. The story about Petrovic extends to his personal life, including his marriage to Dina Petrovic, a renowned beauty queen.
The article traces Djordje’s roots, covering aspects such as his family’s origin, rich Serbian hometown, ethnicity, religious beliefs, and educational background. Additionally, it offers a glimpse into his lifestyle, including a detailed analysis of his earnings and financial status, particularly focusing on his income from playing with Chelsea.
At its core, this biography narrates the remarkable journey of Djordje Petrovic, from his humble beginnings in a small Serbian mining town to his rise as a prominent goalkeeper for a major London football club. It celebrates his warm reception in his Serbian hometown and acknowledges his expensive status as a Serbian goalkeeper.
Crucially, the story highlights the significant sacrifices and tough decisions made by his family, particularly during challenging financial times. It emphasizes how Djordje, an athlete linked to Serbian history and nicknamed “Black Djordje,” found success both on the football field and in his personal life. The biography also touches upon his marriage to a former beauty queen, who once held the title of “Miss Earth,” underscoring his accomplishments beyond the sport.
Introduction to Djordje Petrovic’s Biography:
This biography unfolds the captivating journey of Djordje Petrovic. Beginning with his childhood experiences and early aspirations. It delves into his formative years in Kostolac, Serbia, and tracks his initial steps into the world of football. The narrative further highlights Petrovic’s significant achievement in Major League Soccer (MLS), where he set a remarkable record as the fastest goalkeeper to achieve five penalty saves, a record still unbroken.
Petrovic rose to prominence among football fans when he stepped in as Chelsea’s main goalkeeper following an injury to Robert Sánchez. Known for his leadership qualities and exceptional goalkeeping skills, Petrovic earned fame in the MLS for his rapid success in penalty saves. He also demonstrates his ability to handle intense pressure and make crucial saves during games.
Despite his growing fame, many are yet unfamiliar with Petrovic’s life story. Motivated by our passion for football, we have dedicated ourselves to researching and sharing his compelling story. Now, let’s delve into the details of his life.
Djordje Petrovic’s Early Life:
Known affectionately as ‘The Octopus’ for his long limbs and quick reflexes, Djordje Petrovic was born on October 8, 1999, in Požarevac, Serbia, FR Yugoslavia, to Gordana and Zlatan Petrovic. He was one of two children in a family characterized by a strong, supportive marital bond. His parents, Gordana and Zlatan, attribute their fulfilled lives to their dedication and hard work in supporting their son’s career.
Childhood and Early Influences:
Djordje’s early years were spent in Kostolac, Serbia, a short distance from his birthplace of Požarevac. He grew up alongside his sister, Katarina Petrovic. Similar to other footballers like Julio Enciso, Andrey Santos, and Marcos Acuna, Djordje was notably chubby during his early years. His involvement in sports, coupled with regular exercise, helped him manage his weight. Known for his quiet demeanour in his early childhood, Djordje showed a different side through his participation in sports.
Djordje’s father, Zlatan, a former goalkeeper himself, played a pivotal role in shaping his son’s career. Initially playing as a central defender at ages 6 to 7, Djordje later expressed a desire to switch to goalkeeping, a decision his father and first coach, Zlatan, quickly supported. Zlatan’s commitment to his son’s training and development was evident throughout Djordje’s childhood, where he not only coached him but also instilled important family values.
Transition to Goalkeeping:
At the age of ten, Djordje fully embraced the role of a goalkeeper, joining FC Presing in Požarevac. Given Zlatan’s background as a goalkeeper and his dedication to Djordje’s training, the club’s coaches entrusted Zlatan with his son’s goalkeeper training. This section of the biography concludes by emphasizing the close-knit nature of the Petrovic household, led by Zlatan.
The Petrovic Household’s Roots:
Djordje Petrovic’s journey to success was greatly influenced by his family, particularly his father, Zlatan. For eight years, Zlatan coached gymnasts in Kostolac. Instilling in his son a philosophy of hard work and perseverance as keys to success. As a dedicated former goalkeeper, Zlatan was committed to ensuring Djordje’s rigorous training regimen. Which included four daily sessions, was maintained even when Djordje played in Belgrade.
While Zlatan focused on nurturing Djordje’s talents, the family faced financial challenges. The necessity of supporting Djordje’s training and career meant that Zlatan couldn’t compromise on the time invested in his son, leading the family to seek additional income sources. Djordje’s mother, Gordana, similar to the mothers of footballers Lyle Foster and Marcus Rashford, took on two jobs to support the family. This was a significant sacrifice for a middle-class family, where Gordana’s efforts were crucial in maintaining their standard of living.
Zlatan’s dedication included driving Djordje to Belgrade for training and matches. However, as travel costs rose, they resorted to purchasing a monthly bus ticket for Djordje to manage expenses. Gordana’s decision to work two jobs was a direct response to the increasing cost of living. Highlighting the family’s commitment to Djordje’s football career.
Lineage and Heritage of the Petrovic Clan:
Djordje’s parents, Gordana and Zlatan, are both from Serbia, making Djordje a Serbian citizen by birth. Research indicates that the Petrovic family hails from Požarevac, a mining town situated about an hour’s drive (81.2 km) from Serbia’s capital, Belgrade. Požarevac, located in the Braničevo District of eastern Serbia, serves as the district’s administrative centre.
The Petrovic’s Family Ancestry and Roots:
The Petrovic family belongs to the Serbian ethnic group. This is also the case for the families of footballers Dusan Tadic and Luka Jovic. Serbia’s population is predominantly Serbian, but Požarevac, Djordje’s hometown, is also home to several smaller ethnic groups, including Bulgarians, Roma, Vlachs, and others.
Djordje Petrovic Schooling:
Djordje Petrovic, hailing from Serbia, followed the conventional path of education, attending both preschool and primary school at the appropriate ages. His mother, Gordana Petrovic, played a vital role in making sure that Djordje not only completed his high school education but also excelled academically. She was determined that Djordje’s budding football career should not come at the expense of his education.
After completing elementary school, Djordje’s father, Zlatan Petrovic, encouraged him to enhance his goalkeeping skills by attending specialized schools for goalkeepers in Belgrade. Heeding his father’s advice, Djordje enrolled in a goalkeeping school in Belgrade.
This step was pivotal in his development, as it provided specialized training and expertise that aided his growth as a young footballer. Following this specialized training, Djordje then progressed to play for the football club Čukarički. Zlatan acknowledged the positive impact of this decision on Djordje’s football journey, emphasizing the importance of balanced growth in both education and sports.
Djordje Petrovic’s Journey in Football:
Djordje Petrovic’s football career began uniquely. Initially a central defender for FC Presing, he found himself in an unexpected situation. When all three team goalkeepers were unavailable for a match due to school commitments. The team’s coach, Vlajović, in a moment of necessity, turned to Djordje to guard the goalposts. This decision marked the beginning of his journey as a goalkeeper.
Displaying natural talent in this new role, Djordje caught the attention of his father, Zlatan Petrovic, a former goalkeeper himself. Zlatan supported his son’s transition to becoming a full-time goalkeeper.
By the age of 10, while playing for FC Presing in Požarevac, Djordje started focusing solely on goalkeeping. Zlatan volunteered as a goalkeeping coach at the academy, bringing his expertise and dedication to his son’s training. The FC Presing coaches, recognizing Zlatan’s skill, entrusted Djordje’s training to him.
Djordje’s goalkeeping skills not only impressed his family. But also garnered admiration from his coaches at FC Presing, including Vladimir Svilenković and Vladimir Vlajović. They have remained supportive of his career and are not surprised by his success, given his evident potential from an early age.
Embracing New Challenges:
Djordje’s commitment to goalkeeping led him to a significant change in mindset. He embarked on a rigorous path, working diligently and consistently to advance his career. This dedication took him to Belgrade to attend a specialized goalkeeping school. Where he trained under experienced coaches, including Aleksandar Sarić, a retired Yugoslavian goalkeeper.
For Djordje, travelling to Belgrade as a young boy at 11 represented a significant challenge. This journey from his hometown to the big city every day for training exemplified his hard work and responsibility towards achieving his goals.
Djordje Petrovic’s Rise to Prominence:
After completing elementary school, Djordje’s father, Zlatan, recognized the need to further his son’s training in a professional environment. This led to Djordje joining Čukarički, a perfect club for his development. He joined Čukarički in 2014 and experienced a growth spurt, reaching a height of about 190 centimetres before turning 17.
On January 1, 2018, Djordje’s career took a significant turn as he signed as a professional with FK Cukaricki’s senior team. His first year as a senior footballer was smooth, breaking into the Serbian SuperLiga in 2019. A loan to IMT Belgrad provided him with valuable experience. Djordje made 78 league appearances for Čukarički, participating in both the Serbian club league and the UEFA Europa Conference League.
By the end of the 2021/2022 season, Djordje attracted considerable interest from international clubs. In April 2022, he received an offer from the MLS club, New England Revolution. After careful consideration with his family, who were initially focused on European opportunities, Djordje made the bold decision to move continents, embarking on a new chapter in his career in the United States.
Djordje Petrovic’s Ascent in Football:
February 11, 2022, marked a pivotal moment for the New England Revolution with the announcement of goalkeeper Matt Turner’s transfer to Arsenal. This left a significant void in the team, raising questions about their performance in Turner’s absence. Turner, who celebrated as one of the league’s top goalkeepers and the 2021 MLS Goalkeeper of the Year, left big shoes to fill. Djordje Petrovic emerged as the ideal candidate to step into this crucial role.
The search for Turner’s replacement was expected to be lengthy and challenging. However, when Bruce Arena, then head coach of the New England Revolution, viewed footage of Djordje Petrovic, he was instantly impressed. Despite Petrovic being only 22 years old and relatively unknown internationally, Arena saw his potential. While some fans considered his signing a risk, Arena was confident in Petrovic’s abilities.
Petrovic’s Impact in MLS:
Upon joining the MLS in April 2022, Petrovic initially served as Turner’s backup. He quickly demonstrated his capability to not only fill Turner’s position but potentially exceed expectations. In his two seasons with New England, Petrovic made 48 appearances and achieved notable success. His exceptional performance in the 2022 season led him to be a finalist for both the MLS Newcomer and the MLS Goalkeeper of the Year Award. He notably became the fastest player in MLS history to achieve five penalty saves, a feat that secured his place in the 2023 MLS All-Stars.
Transition to Chelsea:
In August 2023, Petrovic’s career took a significant leap as he signed a seven-year contract with Chelsea. This move set an MLS record for the most expensive goalkeeper, surpassing the £12m paid for Gabriel Slonina. Despite initial challenges adapting to London, Petrovic showed resilience and determination.
Djordje was aware of the high expectations at Stamford Bridge and was prepared to compete for the first-choice goalkeeper position. His opportunity arose in December 2023 when Robert Sanchez sustained an injury. Petrovic’s debut as a starter was marked by a clean sweep in a 2-0 win against Sheffield United, managed by Chris Wilder. Shortly after, he showcased his skills in a Carabao Cup quarterfinal against Eddie Howe’s Newcastle, saving a penalty from Matt Ritchie.
Petrovic’s Chelsea stats show he has lots of potential to become a leading figure with the club. That is akin to Edwin van der Sar, and it is evident. He displays leadership qualities and exceptional skill, positioning him to possibly join the ranks of Serbian legends at the club, like Branislav Ivanovic and Nemanja Matić. Petrovic’s journey from a promising young goalkeeper to a rising star at one of the world’s most renowned clubs is a testament to his hard work and talent. His story continues to unfold, shaping a legacy in the world of football.
Djordje Petrovic’s Personal Life:
Behind the success of Serbian goalkeeper Djordje Petrovic stands his wife, Đina Petrović, a woman of glamour and accomplishment.
Đina Petrović’s Career:
Đina Petrović, Djordje’s wife, is celebrated as a former Miss Earth and a beauty queen. In 2019, she proudly won the title of Miss Photogenicity of Srem, a moment she describes as unforgettable and eternally cherished in her heart.
Furthering her career, Đina is the founder of a fashion company named Fashion Djins, identifiable on Instagram as @fashion_djins/. Her business focuses on selling women’s clothing, marking her presence in the fashion industry.
In a significant personal development, Djordje announced that he was expecting to become a father soon after signing his deal with Chelsea. This meant that Đina was already pregnant while they resided in the Greater Boston area of the US. The news was shared with fans the day after Christmas 2023, around 6:12 p.m.
Djordje Petrovic’s Personality:
Djordje Petrovic’s approach to goalkeeping distinguishes him. He falls under the category of goalkeepers who focus on mastering their techniques and constantly seek improvement. Originating from Požarevac, he has always been driven to excel, backed by a solid support system. His father, Zlatan, has been a significant influence, encouraging him to continuously strive for betterment and not to settle for the status quo.
As a learner and collaborator, Djordje emphasizes the importance of learning from his peers at Chelsea, where goalkeepers share knowledge and experiences to foster collective progress. His interaction with former Brighton goalkeeper Sanchez, seeking advice before his Chelsea debut, reflects this attitude. They share a strong bond, discussing football strategies and personal insights.
Historical Significance of Djordje’s Name:
Djordje’s name carries historical weight in Serbia, linking him to the renowned figure Karađorđe (“Black Djordje”), a leader in the 19th-century Serbian revolt for independence from the Ottoman Empire. This connection to a pivotal historical figure is not lost on Djordje, who sees it as both an honour and a responsibility. He aims to mirror the influence and importance of Karađorđe in his career, aspiring to make a significant impact as a Serbian goalkeeper.
Djordje Petrovic’s Lifestyle and Adaptation:
Djordje Petrovic, a family-oriented individual, initially found his career-driven move abroad in April 2022 challenging. Accustomed to life in Serbia, relocating to a new country presented him with significant cultural, linguistic, and lifestyle adjustments. He shared his initial struggles, noting the difficulty of being away from his family for an extended period and adapting to a new environment. Petrovic’s first month abroad was spent in a hotel while searching for an apartment, a task he undertook independently.
Upon finding an apartment, Petrovic faced the task of furnishing it himself, a responsibility he was unaccustomed to. He purchased the necessary items and was later reimbursed by the MLS League, a process that involved him personally handling the finances and paperwork.
Adjusting to American Culture:
Over time, Petrovic grew to appreciate and adapt to American culture. His experience in the MLS, a league known for attracting renowned footballers like Andrea Pirlo, David Villa, and David Beckham, was enriching. Petrovic expressed pride in having played in the USA, citing it as a valuable phase for his personal and professional growth.
During his stay in the United States, Petrovic gained insights into the relationship between the US and Mexico, challenging the common misconceptions about their rivalry. He enjoyed his time with the New England Revolution, particularly in Boston, which he fondly describes as a student city rich in educational institutions. Drawing parallels between Boston and Belgrade, he noted the smaller population of Boston but also prepared for the harsh winters he had been warned about, contrasting with his experiences back home.
Djordje Petrovic’s Supportive Family Background:
Djordje Petrovic, hailing from the modest mining town of Požarevac, has ascended to the pinnacle of his football career. This remarkable journey isn’t just a result of playing for top teams; it’s significantly attributed to the robust support from his family. Djordje, recognized as the most expensive goalkeeper from Serbia, thrives on this familial foundation. Let’s delve into the dynamics of his family life.
Father – Zlatan Petrovic:
Zlatan, a former goalkeeper, played a pivotal role in Djordje’s transition from a defender to a goalkeeper. His approach was not to impose his past role on his son but to seize an opportunity when it arose. The moment when Djordje spontaneously stepped in as a goalkeeper for his team marked a turning point, a destiny that Zlatan was quick to recognize and nurture. Zlatan’s philosophy of intense, persistent effort as a pathway to success led him to become a respected figure in his son’s football development, eventually taking up a role as a goalkeeping coach.
This nurturing not only fostered Djordje’s skills but also built a strong sense of confidence and independence in him. This was evident when Djordje, still in his teens, moved to Belgrade to pursue rigorous goalkeeping training, a testament to the trust and self-assurance instilled by Zlatan.
Mother – Gordana Petrovic:
Gordana Petrovic is seen as a pillar of strength in Djordje’s life. She played a crucial role in making Djordje balance his burgeoning football career with his education. Despite the demanding nature of his training in Belgrade, Gordana was adamant that Djordje complete his high school education, emphasizing the importance of academics alongside sports.
Her commitment to Djordje’s well-being extended beyond education. During a period when Zlatan was committed to driving Djordje to training, Gordana took on two jobs to support the family financially. This sacrifice was crucial, especially when they decided to switch to more cost-effective bus travel for Djordje’s commutes. Gordana’s dedication greatly alleviated the family’s financial pressures and allowed Zlatan to focus on supporting Djordje’s training.
Sister – Katarina Petrovic:
Katarina, Djordje’s sister, has been a source of joy and pride in his journey. She, along with her parents, was overjoyed when Djordje secured a landmark transfer to Chelsea, a move that set a Serbian transfer record. Earlier in his career, Katarina and the family faced the tough decision of accepting Djordje’s move to the New England Revolution. In retrospect, this decision proved to be a fruitful one, marking a significant milestone in Djordje’s career trajectory.
Discovering Djordje Petrovic – Lesser-Known Facts:
In this final section of Djordje Petrovic’s biography, we delve into some intriguing aspects of his life and career that you might not be familiar with. Let’s explore these lesser-known details.
Chelsea Goalkeeper Inspirations:
Although he knew of Chelsea’s former goalkeepers like Thibaut Courtois and Peter Cech, Djordje Petrovic did not idolize any of them. The idea of becoming a Chelsea goalkeeper seemed far-fetched to him even a decade ago, despite his evident talent and ability to handle the pressures of goalkeeping.
Serbian Legacy at Chelsea:
A lesser-known fact among many Chelsea supporters is that Djordje Petrovic is not the first Serbian to play for the prestigious London club. Before him, Petar Borota, a legendary figure among long-time Chelsea fans, played for the team from 1979 to 1982. Other notable Serbian players who donned the Chelsea jersey include Slaviša Jokanović and Mateja Kežman. However, the most successful Serbian player at Chelsea to date is Branislav Ivanović, with three Premier League titles and a UEFA Champions League win to his name, followed by Nemanja Matić with two Premier League titles.
Petrovic in FIFA:
In the world of virtual football, Petrovic is recognized as a goalkeeper with promising prospects. At the age of 23, he has a FIFA potential rating of 81 and an overall rating of 74, with his standout attributes being reactions, strength, and reflexes. His style and skills are reminiscent of once-upon-a-time young talents like Jan Oblak and Kasper Schmeichel.
Petrovic’s annual salary at Chelsea is a substantial £1,302,000. When converted to Serbian dinar, this amounts to approximately 177,242,023 dinars per year. Comparatively, Petrovic’s earnings are higher than some footballers like Ian Maatsen, Andrey Santos, and Deivid Washington yet lower than others like Axel Disasi, Lesley Ugochukwu, and Romeo Lavia.
Economic Context in Serbia:
In Serbia, the average annual income is around 1,680,000 Serbian dinars. To put Petrovic’s earnings into perspective, it would take an average Serbian over 105 years to match his annual Chelsea salary of 177,242,023 dinars.
Djordje Petrovic’s Faith:
Considering the predominant Eastern Orthodoxy in Serbia, it is likely that Djordje Petrovic follows the Serbian Orthodox Christian faith. This church holds notable historical and cultural importance in Serbia, with many of its churches and monasteries recognized as UNESCO World Heritage sites.
A Summary of Djordje Petrovic’s Story – A Glimpse into His Life and Career:
Djordje Petrovic, born to Gordana and Zlatan Petrovic, grew up in Požarevac, a Serbian mining town, with his sister Katarina. He is happily married to Đina Petrović, a fashion model and former Miss Earth titleholder.
Petrovic’s football journey began at just seven years old with his local team, Rudar Kostolac. He later moved to Presing Požarevac, where a defining moment in his career occurred during a six-player tournament. With all team goalkeepers absent, young Djordje stepped up to the challenge, marking his first experience as a goalkeeper. This decision was supported by his father, Zlatan, who also became his first goalkeeping coach.
Juggling school and football was not easy for Djordje, but his mother, Gordana, ensured he completed his high school education despite the demanding nature of his early football career. Zlatan dedicated himself to driving Djordje to Belgrade for training, while Gordana worked two jobs to support the family’s financial needs.
Finding success abroad:
On April 6, 2022, Petrović’s career took a significant turn when he signed with the MLS club, New England Revolution. His impressive performances there led to a record-breaking transfer to Chelsea for 14,000,000 euros in 2023. Joining Mauricio Pochettino’s team on August 26, 2023, Petrovic signed a seven-year contract. He made a notable debut for Chelsea following an injury to the first-choice goalkeeper, Robert Sanchez, particularly shining in an EFL Cup match against Newcastle with a crucial penalty save.
Despite Sanchez’s limited number of games and not fully securing the first-choice spot, Petrovic is seen as a strong contender for this position. As reported by The Guardian Football, he might just be the goalkeeper Chelsea needed all along. Chelsea fans are optimistic about the future of the club, with Petrovic and Gabriel Slonina as promising talents. It is fair to say Blues fans have found a new love, as they did to Alfie Gilchrist and Cole Palmer.
Thank You Note:
We appreciate you reading SoccerBio’s biography of Djordje Petrovic. Our commitment to delivering authentic Serbian football stories is unwavering, and we strive for accuracy and fairness. Petrović’s story is part of our broader collection of European football narratives.
If you notice any discrepancies or have thoughts on Petrovic’s journey towards challenging top goalkeepers like Gianluigi Donnarumma and Andre Onana, please share in the comments. Besides Petrovic’s story, we also offer engaging biographies of other Serbian players like Dusan Vlahovic and Nikola Milenkovic. For Chelsea enthusiasts, our narratives on Tino Livramento and Noni Madueke are also worth exploring.