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15th Jun 2024

Matija Sarkic was named man of the match in last game he played before his death

Charlie Herbert

The Montenegrin passed away on Saturday morning

Matija Sarkic was named man of the match earlier this month in the last game he played before his sudden death.

On Saturday morning, Millwall confirmed that Sarkic, who played for the club, had passed away at the age of just 26.

Sarkic is reported to have fallen ill at an apartment in the town of Budva after being on international duty. 

The Mirror reports that his friends called an ambulance immediately but he passed away at 6:30am local time.

The Montenegrin keeper had started in goal for his country just a few days ago in a friendly against Belgium on July 5, putting in an impressive performance.

Despite Montenegro losing 2-0, Sarkic was named man of the match thanks to an outstanding display in which he made nine saves.

His former school had posted on X earlier this week that they were “incredibly proud” of Sarkic for his man of the match performance.

In a match report of the game, ESPN said Sarkic kept the Belgian attack “at bay for almost the entire [first] half with a remarkable series of saves.”

Born in Grimsby, Sarkic represented Montenegro through his father, Bojan Šarkić, a Montenegrin diplomat who was the country’s ambassador to the European Union.

Sarkic represented Montenegro at youth level and made nine appearances for the national side.

At club level, he had played for Shrewsbury, Birmingham and Stoke, before joining Millwall for the 2023/24 season.

He played 31 times for the London club last season.

In a statement, Millwall said they were “completely devastated” by the goalkeeper’s passing.

The club 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.

“A 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.”

They added that no further comment would be made at this time and asked for the privacy of Matija’s family to be respected.

Millwall Supporters’ Club posted on X: “What horrendous news to wake up to this morning that our goalkeeper Matija Šarkić 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.”