Macedonia and Sicily have never been so close like this year.
The reasons of this proximity are not connected to political decisions, twinning among cities or cultural exchanges, they exclusively have a protagonist: Ilija Nestorovski.
In fact, this young Macedonian football player, born in Prilep in 1990, is one of the revelations of the Italian Serie A.
Grew up in the youth sector of Pobeda, the club of his hometown, he was aggregated in the first team in 2006, when he was 16 years old. After 4 years and 39 goals he moved to the Czech Republic, where he spent two years but he did not leave his mark. After some experience on loan (even in Metalurg Skopje), in 2013 he moved to Inter Zapresic, a Croatian team where he got the best results of his career: he was top scorer for three consecutive seasons, scoring 69 goals in 90 matches.
After this exploit, he arrived in Palermo in the summer of 2016.
At the beginning Sicilian supporters was skeptical. In recent years, they have been accustomed to young Argentinean prodigies such as Cavani, Pastore and Dybala. Who is Nestorovski? Macedonians know how to play football? Except Goran Pandev, the Macedonian football players have had no success in the Italian Serie A. One of them, Darko Pančev, is still remembered as “the lizard”.
But Nestorovski completely floored all supporters and journalists. After a short settling-in period, he started to score regularly. Despite the bad season of the team, he has already scored 7 goals in 14 matches, plus two goals with the national team, one of which against Italy.
Suddenly “Nestowhat?” became “Nestogol!”. Now, supporters of Palermo love him, journalists praise him and the big teams court him.
For sure the love story between Nestorovski and Palermo will not last for a long time, probably at the end of this season Ilija will move to Naples and in the future he will play for a big European team, but he will be forever in the hearts of the supporters of Palermo and at the same time he will remember forever the city where he became a top-player. In each of his goals there will be a bit of Palermo.
That’s sure: after Ilija Nestorovski, Sicily and Macedonia will be forever closer each other.
By Igor Giammanco