Matija Sarkic: Millwall goalkeeper and former Aston Villa player dies at the age of 26

In a tragic turn of events, Montenegro goalkeeper Matija Sarkic, who also played for English club Millwall, has died aged 26.

Matija Sarkic dead age 26 goalkeeper Millwall club
© Alex Gottschalk/DeFodi Images via Getty_Images
Matija Sarkic dead age 26 goalkeeper Millwall club

After recent concerns about former Liverpool and Scotland defender Alan Hansen and his health - which seems to be recovering, more tragic news has hit the football universe. Fans were left devastated on Saturday, June 15, 2024, when it was confirmed that the Millwall and Montenegro goalkeeper Matija Sarkic had died at the age of 26.

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His club, Millwall, announced his death followed by a statement from Montenegro Football Association. Sarkic has played for many British clubs in his career including Aston Villa, Wolves, Birmingham City and Stoke City.

2024 started with the death of Franz Beckenbauer, a German football legend.

Matija Sarkic tragically dies at the age of 26

Sarkic’s most recent game was played earlier this month on June 5. It was a friendly for Montenegro against Belgium. As per The Mirror, he was named the man of the match after making an impressive nine saves. In a tragic turn of events, his football club revealed on the weekend that Sarkic fell ill at his apartment in the town of Budva in the Balkan country. By the time his friends could call an ambulance, he died at around 6.30 am local time.

According to Sky News, Millwall said in a statement that the club was ‘completely devastated’ to announce his death. Sarkic made 33 appearances for the Lions (Aston Villa) since he joined from Wolverhampton Wanderers in August last year. The statement read:

A Montenegro international, Matija proudly represented his country on numerous occasions.
Everyone at the club sends their love and condolences to Matija's family and friends at this immensely sad time.

The club added that they would make no further comments on his death and requested the privacy of Šarkić’s family be respected. His cause of death remains unknown.

Meanwhile, Montenegro paid tribute to the footballer in a statement and labelled him as ‘a beloved member of the Brave Falcons’. Speaking of his career in the London club Millwall, the association shared that he ‘left his mark’ which could've become bigger if it were not for his premature death.

Matija Sarkic - a look into his football career

The Grimsby-born made his international debut against Belarus in 2019. Sarkic began his career in Anderlecht's academy before joining Aston Villa in 2015. He had loan spells at Wigan Athletic, Stratford, Havant, Waterlooville and Livingston. He made his professional debut at Wigan Athletic, as per Millwall’s website. He eventually moved on to Wolverhampton Wanderers in 2020. Like at Aston Villa, Sarkic didn’t make a first-team appearance at the Wolves.

During his time on loan, Sarkic gained experience across several divisions like the Scottish Premier League and League One and the Emirates FA Cup. He then made some loan spells with Shrewsbury Town, Birmingham City and Stoke City. At his Birmingham City loan spell in 2021, Sarkic began to cement his place as a number one. He played 23 times at St Andrew's as The Blues competed in the Sky Bet Championship. Millwall signed him permanently last summer for an undisclosed fee and handed him a long-term contract.

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Sources Used

Mirror: Millwall goalkeeper dies aged 26 as tributes pour in for Matija Sarkic

Sky News: Millwall and Montenegro goalkeeper Matija Sarkic dies aged 26

Millwall FC website: Matija Sarkic: 1997-2024

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