Josip Ilicic Makes Heartwarming Return To Football After His Battle With Depression

Slovenian striker Josip Ilicic was considered by many to be one of Europe’s top marksmen just a couple of years ago, but in the time that has since passed, the 34-year-old has been put through the wringer. 

The striker is most notably known for his spell with Italian outfit Atalanta, who he spearheaded towards a quarter-final finish in the 2019/20 edition of the Champions League. 

That season saw him record a career-best tally of 21 goals in all competitions, a feat he achieved in just 34 games. 

You probably remember his blistering display against Valencia, the striker netted 4 goals in the second leg to help his side qualify for the next stage, all while looking a class apart. 

Through his contributions to that campaign, Ilicic gained plenty of deserved recognition. 

However, a tragic downfall followed in the subsequent seasons and eventually ended with ‘Il Professore’  departing Atalanta.

As per reports, it all started after the striker discovered that his wife Tina Polovina had been cheating on him.

COVID-19 and Lockdown soon followed, which sent Ilicic on a downward spiral, as the striker battled depression.

Following that year, he looked like a shadow of himself on the pitch and eventually decided to terminate his contract with Atalanta with mutual consent.  A tearful farewell followed and it seemed as if Illicic’s playing days were all but over. 

We’re pleased to report that the Slovenian is back playing footy, and of course, is back amongst the goals. 

After a long hiatus this year, Ilicic finally took to the pitch for Slovenian outfit Maribor during their most recent fixture against Mura. 

The former Fiorentina forward looked technically sound, and despite lacking sharpness, he managed to stand out from the rest.

The striker went on to win a penalty in the 89th minute and converted it with ease.

His teammates soon gathered around him to celebrate the goal, making for a wholesome moment, and one which fans online absolutely adored.