Montenegrin Goalkeeper Matija Šarkić Passes Away at 26!

According to reports from Montenegro, Šarkić fell ill this morning at his apartment in Budva.

by Sead Dedovic
Montenegrin Goalkeeper Matija Šarkić Passes Away at 26!
© Richard Pelham/Getty Images Sport

Radio-television of Montenegro (RTCG) announced devastating news this morning as the goalkeeper of the Montenegro national football team, Matija Šarkić (26), has passed away.

According to reports from Montenegro, Šarkić fell ill this morning at his apartment in Budva. Friends immediately called emergency services. Unfortunately, the doctors were unable to save him, and it was already too late.

Šarkić passed away at 06:30 this morning, shocking Montenegrin public opinion just days after impressing with his saves in the match against Belgium, where they were defeated 2-0.

Looking at his performances in recent matches, it seemed that Montenegro has players for many years and a goalkeeper who will form the backbone of this team.

The Montenegrin public had huge expectations from this goalkeeper, whom they considered the foundation of the team in the following years.

Police are on the scene, investigating all circumstances, but it is most likely a natural death.

Matija Šarkić's career: Adventures in English clubs

Šarkić was a member of Millwall and had previously played for many English teams such as Wolves, Stoke, Birmingham, Aston Villa, and Shrewsbury.

Matija Šarkić was born in Grimsby, England, as his father is a Montenegrin diplomat who served as Montenegro's ambassador to the European Union. However, this young goalkeeper began building his career as a boy in Belgium, specifically at Anderlecht. Noticing his talent, Aston Villa signed this outstanding goalkeeper in 2015, and he joined their youth team. Šarkić impressed the team's management while playing for the youth squad. 

Matija Šarkić
Matija Šarkić© Richard Pelham/Getty Images Sport

Two years later, he joined Wigan Athletic on loan for a year. He didn't get much playing time with the English team, after which he moved to the lower league side Stratford Town. It seemed like his career was on a downward trajectory as he played for several other lower league teams. However, in 2020, the Montenegrin goalkeeper impressed at Shrewsbury Town, where he played as a loaned player from Wolverhampton. 

"I'm very happy to be here. I didn't have much time to get to know the guys, but I enjoyed my first game."- he said after the debut for Shrewsbury Town.

Wolves had huge expectations from him, and after signing the contract, they expressed optimism when it comes to the great Montenegrin goalkeeper, placing great expectations on him. They knew they had a goalkeeper who has enormous potential and quality.

- We are very happy to have signed Matija. He is a goalkeeper whose career is promising, he has a lot of potential. We hope that he will have success with Wolverhampton, as well as in the club for which he will play on loan, the announcement reads.

He then played on loan at Birmingham City, where he was excellent and took full advantage of his opportunity. 

The last step before Millwall was Stoke City, and it seemed he would sign for Stoke. However, Šarkić signed for Millwall in August last year and proved to be a great addition for the English second-tier team. 

Millwall's management clearly stated at the time that they expected great things from the Montenegrin goalkeeper, aware that he was someone who could make a difference. It turned out that they made a good move.

"Matija is a player who is well known to our goalkeeping coach Andy Marshall from the successful time they had working together at Birmingham," director of football operations and recruitment Alex Aldridge said.

"Now we are excited to see the best of him in a Millwall shirt."

Matija Šarkić and his debut for Montenegro

The 26-year-old represented Montenegro in youth teams, where scouts first noticed him. Matija made his debut for Montenegro in November 2019 in a friendly match against Belarus. 

"I've changed several teams recently and had to learn a lot of new names. It was also very good to gain international experience. I was on the roster for the first time for the match against England at Wembley, and I made my debut a few days later against Belarus – and I hope this is just the beginning. I've been representing Montenegro since the youth levels; my heart belongs here," he said.

His first competitive appearance came during the 2022 World Cup qualifiers against the Netherlands.

As we have already mentioned, the Montenegrin public and fans believed that Matija would be the goalkeeper who would form the backbone of the team for the next 10 years. For a small European country like Montenegro, having a goalkeeper like Šarkić was a big deal. It seemed that this amazing goalkeeper would make an even greater breakthrough this summer and perhaps even join one of the Premier League teams.