Edin Dzeko has never played in Spain, but the Bosnian striker is no stranger to La Liga opposition. In the course of his club career, he has encountered four teams from that league in European competitions.
Take a stroll down memory lane with us as we look back at the Spanish opposition Dzeko has faced.
Villarreal – sinking the Yellow Submarine
In four career appearances against El Madrigal outfit Villarreal, Dzeko has never lost (three wins and a draw). He first encountered the Yellow Submarine when playing in the Europa League for Bundesliga club Wolfsburg in the 2009-10 campaign.
When Wolfsburg hosted Villarreal in Germany, Dzeko grabbed the first of his four career goals against the Spanish side. He would later turn out against them again for Manchester City in the Champions League.
That meeting was in the 2011 group stage of Europe’s elite club competition. Dzeko is a player who has got even better with age and experience, though, and proved as much when hitting a 2016 hat-trick in El Madrigal for AS Roma in a 4-0 Europa League romp.
A fabulous personal record of four in four against the Yellow Submarine means Dzeko is something of a nemesis for Villarreal. The links between Dzeko and that club don’t stop there either as his old Man City manager Manuel Pellegrini made his name coaching the Spaniards after moving to Europe from South America.
Real Madrid – Los Blancos hard to beat during era of European dominance
Real Madrid are real heavyweights of European football. Proof, as if it were needed, comes in the form of this stat: Dzeko has never been on the winning side against Los Blancos in five career appearances but scored once.
The best he’s managed is a 2012 Champions League group stage draw at home when at Manchester City. Dzeko has lost on all three of his visits to the Bernabeu. That isn’t all that surprising, though.
No club side in Europe has been more successful in the Champions League this decade. Real Madrid have lifted the trophy four times since 2013-14, including a hat-trick of triumphs between 2015-16 and 2017-18.
Dzeko has been playing for Man City and Roma in an era when Los Blancos are the dominant force in European football. If only Real Madrid, who are 9/4 chances in bet365’s La Liga betting on the title race, could exert themselves over El Clasico rivals Barcelona in a similar vein.
Barcelona – learning how to play against Catalan giants
Dzeko tried and failed in three attempts with Man City to score against Barcelona, who have won the Champions League three times since 2008-09. He suffered defeat each time, yet clearly he learned how to play against the possession-based football of successive Nou Camp teams.
With Roma, Dzeko has a much healthier three in four against Barca. He also boasts that rarest of things – a man of the match performance. Dzeko scored and set up another in a 3-0 quarter-final second leg win that took the Giallorossi through the tie to the 2018 semis on away goals.
Atletico Madrid – twice drawn a blank
Roma were drawn in the same Champions League group as Atletico Madrid in 2017, but failed to beat them in two games with Dzeko failing to hit the target in either match. Given the long-serving coach Diego Simeone and the way he drilled his defenders who relished the physical battle, it’s not all that surprising.
Diego Godin – now an opponent of Dzeko’s in Serie A as he marshals the Inter Milan rearguard – is one of the best central defenders of his generation. He simply loved man-marking Dzeko and keeping him quiet.