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Stevan Jovetic: Staying grounded at Fiorentina

There hasn't been any great panic from the Fiorentina tifosi over the interest of Manchester United and Real Madrid for their man of the moment, Stevan Jovetic. While Jovetic's brace against Liverpool has seen transfer speculation intensify, Viola fans are calm - with the local press days earlier being full of photos of the striker's new luxury pad he had just purchased.

The 19 year-old is putting down roots in Florence and fans are confident he isn't about to leave just days after shelling out for a new house.

"It was the best match of my career, I still cannot understand what I did," Jovetic says.

At 17, Jovetic was scoring goals for Partizan Belgrade in the UEFA Cup, less than two years later he was wearing the captain's armband for the Serb club and soon after made the move to Fiorentina in an €8 million deal.

Jovetic signed a five-year deal in May 2008, shunning Juventus: "I had already given my word to (Fiorentina sports director) Pantaleo Corvino."

And also rejecting Real Madrid, explaining: "Fiorentina was the right move for me. At Madrid, I knew that I would be spending most of my time on the bench."

His new home is big enough to house his parents and sister, who all moved with him to Florence when he first joined Fiorentina, and has him now closer to the club's stadium.

"He's just a normal, quiet guy," says a close friend.

Indeed, the only indulgences for Jovetic is his Porsche Cayenne and trademark long hair - which has seen black wigs sellout amongst Fiorentina fans in 2009.

Most nights are spent at home with his family. The Montenegrin has seen good friend Zdravko Kuzmanovic leave Fiorentina in the summer for Stuttgart and he is also close to teammate Vlada Avramov.

It's this career dedication that has prevented the likes of United and Real from turning Jovetic's head.

"Fiorentina is the best choice for me," says the striker. "The people I take advice from tell me this is the right club. I came here to learn and develop."

Jovetic is close to Dejan Savicevic, now president of the Montenegro Football Federation. The Fiorentina forward grew up idolising the AC Milan legend and is known to hang onto his advice.

In the aftermath of the Liverpool performance, Savicevic was quick to urge Jovetic not to skip out on Fiorentina too soon.

"I called him and we spoke yesterday just as we did after his goal against Samp. I told him to continue playing as he is and to stay humble and serene because this is Stevan and his great game against Liverpool is only a confirmation of his qualities," said Savicevic.

"The ideal thing would be if Stevan grows with Fiorentina and stays with them for another two or three years, then we'll see if any irrefutable offers arrive in the style of those for Kaka and Ibra (Zlatan Ibrahimovic)."

Along with his outstanding ability, it's the down-to-earth nature of Jovetic that has United manager Sir Alex Ferguson interested.

Ferguson has been following Jovetic since his days at Partizan Belgrade, where chief Serbia scout Budimir Vujacic has compiled a detailed - and glowing - dossier on the striker.

For home-body Jovetic, the new East European enclave being influenced at United by Vujacic could have them in the driver's seat when Fiorentina do decide to sell.

But for now, Jovetic is happy where he is: "Here I am well, I've never thought about leaving.

"I know playing for Fiorentina will continue being good for me."

Chris Beattie
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Chris Beattie

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