Hello there. It’s me again. Your favourite Crystal Palace fan from America.
It’s been quite some time since I last graced your eyes with my Palace ramblings and words such as fahrenheit, miles, and french fries. But I am back because I must get something off of my chest…
I love Luka Milivojevic.
I’m talking the type of love that is reserved for those special in your life. The type of love that you have for your childhood hero. Luka has gone from a totally unknown to the light of my life in less than three years.
I remember the news of his transfer like it was yesterday.
It was unseasonably warm on this, the last day of January in 2017 (low sixties to be exact, that’s 17C for all of you reading this). That should have been the first clue that this transfer would be unlike any other in my Palace fandom. The second clue that this would be different was the fact that I had never heard of Luka Milivojevic.
Since I started following Palace four years ago, I have prided myself in immersing myself in everything to do with the club. That includes following countless Palace related Twitter accounts, buying a kit each season, and most importantly, keeping up with each transfer windows.
The summer and January transfer window have become bigger than Christmas for me. They are my favourite time of each year. Nothing gets me more excited or lets me down harder than Palace have during these times. Sure, there are a few highlights – signing Mamadou Sakho after his loan spell was nice. As was the first season of Christian Benteke in a Palace kit. Otherwise, the transfer window has not been kind to me as a fan, except for the one that would change my life forever.
The January 2017 transfer window is the most important transfer window in the history of Crystal Palace Football Club.
That may be a bold statement, but give me a chance to explain. This window saw the club bring in it’s current starting left back (PVA), starting left midfielder (Schlupp), starting center-back (Sakho on loan) and above all else, a relatively unknown to the English soccer world, one future captain by the name of Luka Milivojevic. All four players played a pivotal role in keeping Palace in the Premier League for the following season and continue to do so to this day.
Luka was first appointed as captain for the victory against Burnley last season and has not looked back since. He took the armband after Scott Dann’s debilitating knee injury during the goalless draw at home to Manchester City. A fixture that saw Luka miss a penalty in the closing minutes to deny Palace of a monumental win – a sight that Palace fans have learned to be a rarity.
Luka Milivojevic is the most prolific penalty taker in the Premier League
In his two and a half years in the league, Luka has an astounding 19 goals from the spot. To put that in perspective, the Premier League was established in 1992 and Milivojevic is 7th all time in penalties scored. In only 83 Premier League appearances, Luka has surpassed some of the all time greats in English soccer. He ranks above players such as Eden Hazard, Harry Kane and Robin van Persie.
Quite impressive for a player that previously had not scored a penalty in his senior footballing career.
The love I have for our captain does not simply come from the penalty spot. It is shaped every time he steps onto the pitch. Every crunching tackle that Luka slides into. Each time he steps up to a microphone after a crushing defeat or an ecstatic victory with poise and grace.
Most of all, I love Luka Milivojevic because he loves me. He loves Palace and being an Eagle. He bleeds red and blue. And we love him.
HE COMES FROM SERBIA, HE’LL F****** MURDER YA, WOAH LUKA, WOAH LUKA.