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Millwall goalkeeper Matija Sarkic dies aged 26

Matija Sarkic signed for Millwall last summer after leaving Wolves; the 26-year-old also played for Aston Villa, Birmingham City and Stoke City; Sarkic, who was born in Grimsby, represented Montenegro

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Millwall keeper Matija Sarkic has passed away at the age of 26

Millwall goalkeeper Matija Sarkic has died aged 26, the club have announced.

A statement on the club's official website said: "Millwall Football Club is completely devastated to announce that Matija Sarkic has passed away at the age of 26.

"Sarkic, The Lions' number one goalkeeper, made 33 appearances for the club since joining from Wolverhampton Wanderers in August 2023.

Matija Sarkic
Image: Sarkic made 33 appearances for Millwall last season

"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 will make no further comment at this time and asks that the privacy of Matija's family is respected."

The Montenegro Football Association said in a statement that Sarkic had "died suddenly" on Saturday morning.

"A beloved member of the 'Brave Falcons', an eternally smiling guy, played for our 'A' selection in nine games, in which he showed how much he means to this team," the statement added.

 Matija Sarkic
Image: Sarkic produced a man-of-the-match display for Montenegro against Belgium just over a week ago

"Together with his twin brother Oliver, he passed all the junior categories of the Montenegrin national team.

"In the jersey of that iconic London club [Millwall], he left his mark, which was yet to become part of a bigger and more beautiful story.

"Premature death stopped that and caused great pain to the Sarkic family. The Football Association of Montenegro expresses its sincere condolences to the Sarkic family."

Grimsby-born Sarkic began his career in Anderlecht's academy before joining Aston Villa in 2015.

He played 60 games during loan spells at Shrewsbury, Birmingham and Stoke before joining Millwall last August, where he made 33 appearances.

Sarkic made his Montenegro debut against Belarus in 2019 and was on international duty last week for a friendly against Belgium.

His former club Aston Villa also posted on X: "Everyone at Aston Villa is deeply saddened by news of the passing of our former goalkeeper Matija Sarkic.

"Matija joined our Academy in 2015 and spent five years with the club, during which time he made his full international debut for Montenegro, before departing in the summer of 2020.

"The thoughts and condolences of all at the club are with his family and friends at this incredibly sad time."

Birmingham, where Sarkic made 23 appearances on loan during the 2021-22 season, said on X: "Everyone at Birmingham City is shocked and saddened to learn of the news that our former goalkeeper, Matija Sarkic, has passed away at the age of 26.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends and all those that knew him."

The Football Association added: "We are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Millwall goalkeeper Matija Sarkic.

"Our thoughts and condolences are with his family and friends, as well as everybody at the club and the Montenegro national team at this very sad time."

Millwall Supporters' Club posted on X: "What horrendous news to wake up to this morning that our goalkeeper Matija Sarkic has died at the young age of 26. Devastating news for his friends and family and for all of us associated with Millwall. Once a lion, always a lion."

Stoke, the Professional Footballers' Association and the English Football League also offered their condolences to Sarkic's family and friends.

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