Matija Sarkic: Millwall manager narrates final moments with goalkeeper before tragic passing

Matija Sarkic: Millwall manager narrates final moments with goalkeeper before tragic passing

Festus Chuma 14:42 - 18.06.2024

Neil Harris has shared emotional tribute recalling last joyful moments with goalkeeper Matija Sarkic before his unexpected passing.

On Saturday, English football was struck by tragedy with the sudden death of Millwall's goalkeeper Matija Sarkic at the age of 26.

Millwall manager Neil Harris shared a poignant account of his last encounter with Sarkic just days before his untimely demise.

Harris recounted the final moments he spent with Sarkic, describing an ordinary Thursday that became memorable only in retrospect.

"I was with him last Thursday at the training ground, and he had a huge smile on his face and was so excited about going to see his family in Montenegro—he was radiant," Harris said in an interview with club website.

The Montenegro international, who joined the Championship club from Wolves in August 2023, made a lasting impression in his brief time at Millwall, appearing in 33 matches last season.

Harris emphasized Sarkic's vibrant personality and professional demeanor.

"Every day he came in with a smile on his face and just wanted to be better. He was very driven and had high aspirations for himself," he noted.

Tragically, Sarkic's life was cut short when he reportedly collapsed at his apartment in Budva.

The news was confirmed by the Montenegro Football Association (FSCG), which expressed deep sorrow over the loss of a "beloved member" of the national team.

Sarkic's last appearance for Montenegro was in a friendly defeat against Belgium on June 5 where he continued to showcase his skills as a promising goalkeeper.

In his tribute, Harris highlighted the profound impact Sarkic had on those around him, reflected in the collective mourning and fond memories shared by his colleagues and fans alike.

"It's no surprise when you read people talking so fondly of him. They talk about his radiant smile, his nature, and his goodwill," Harris said.

Beyond the pitch, Sarkic's personal life was marked by close family ties and a strong sense of kinship.

"First thoughts have to go with his parents and his brothers—he was a wonderful son and wonderful brother that was a really caring, good man," Harris added.

"What makes it very emotional for me is that I have a 22-year-old son myself and Mati was obviously only a few years older."

Before joining Millwall, Sarkic's football journey included stints at several clubs across England and Scotland.

He started his youth career at Belgian powerhouse Anderlecht before moving to Aston Villa. His career saw various loan spells at clubs like Wigan, Stratford Town, Havant & Waterlooville, and Livingston, followed by a permanent move to Wolves in 2020.

Sarkic also played on loan at Shrewsbury Town, Birmingham City, and Stoke City accumulating valuable experience along the way.

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