Vladimir Durkovic wanted to end the day at “La Matze”. On June 20, 1972, the Yugoslav entered the discotheque in the Swiss city of Sion with two other football professionals.
The trio partied into the night. It was just after 2 a.m. when Durkovic said goodbye to René Quentin, his teammate at FC Sion.
Ilja Pantelic, then goalkeeper of the French club SC Bastia, goes outside. Durkovic ran to the parking lot to get his car. Pantelic is waiting in front of “La Matze”.
At that moment the policeman Bernard Carruzzo came out of the disco. He was partying with his acquaintance, Francis Favre, a lieutenant in the Swiss Army. Carruzzo saw Pantelic and yelled at him: “Get lost! Fuck foreigners!”
Suddenly the policeman draws his pistol
Durkovic had meanwhile pulled up in his car. He got out and heard the policeman swearing at his friend Pantelic.
The two Yugoslavs adapt to Carruzzo’s tone. The lieutenant tried to calm the situation. Suddenly, Carruzzo drew his pistol and pointed it at Pantelic. He stayed calm.
Carruzzo also put the gun away again. More insults followed. Then Durkovic and Carruzzo started a fight. Again the policeman took up the weapon – and this time he took off.
Favre escaped. Durkovic sank to the ground and stammered, “Fight me over something like that. To murder me because of it.”
The perpetrator drives the seriously injured to the hospital
Carruzzo was apparently shocked by the act. Together with Pantelic he heaved Durkovic into his car. Carruzzo raced to the district hospital of Sion.
Meanwhile, Pantelic tried to stabilize the seriously injured man on the front passenger seat from the back seat. At the hospital, doctors found that the bullet had ruptured the main artery in the small intestine.
They removed the bullet. Durkovic lost a lot of blood during the operation. On June 22, he succumbed to the consequences of the injury.
The deceased left behind his wife Vida and their daughter Marija, who was 15 months old at the time. And the football world mourned the loss of an international star who had also played for Borussia Mönchengladbach.
Durkovic decides on football career
Durkovic was born on November 6, 1937 in present-day Kosovo in the city of Djakovica. He had six siblings.
While the eldest brother earned his money as a lawyer and the two sisters worked as French teachers, Vladimir Durkovic decided on a football career.
As an 18-year-old he moved from provincial club Napredak Krusevac to Red Star Belgrade. Durkovic was part of a dominant team. Red Star won five championships and three times the Yugoslav Cup with him. 1959 Durkovic debuted in the national team.
Yugoslavia was a big player in world football back then. With Durkovic in defence, the team won Olympic gold in Rome in 1960. In 1962 he was in the World Cup squad.
In Chile, Yugoslavia met Germany in the quarter-finals. Durkovic and Co. won the game 1-0. In the end, the selection from the Balkans finished the tournament in fourth place.
Negotiations with Gladbach until after midnight
Durkovic matured into an international star in the 1960s. Western European clubs were soon courting the defender.
In the summer of 1966, “Durre”, as the footballer was nicknamed, was negotiating with a Gladbach delegation in the idyllic Tüschenbroicher Mühle restaurant.
Shortly after midnight he put his signature on the contract – and was thus a Bundesliga player.
The local press applauds the transfer. die Rheinische Post spoke of a “defense architect”, die West German newspaper even from a “power cannon”.
Durkovic chose the Niederrheiner as a new club because he appreciated the coach very much. Hennes Weisweiler had good connections in the football world – also in Yugoslavia.
Durkovic “remains a question mark for the time being”
With Durkovic in defense, he wanted to bring Gladbach forward in their second year in the Bundesliga. Playmaker Günter Netzer gave a place in the top five as the goal. The Durkovic signing made him optimistic.
But the new stranger. His first game, a 0-0 draw against Schalke 04, brought Durkovic in table football still a good grade. But when Gladbach lost 2-0 to Hamburger SV shortly afterwards, the specialist magazine wrote: “The Yugoslav Durkovic remains a question mark”.
From then on, the highly acclaimed star had to sit on the bench.
Some of the local newspapers attested to a certain listlessness. Only towards the end of the season, which Gladbach finished in eighth place, does Durkovic return to the starting XI. From then on he was one of the best in Weisweiler’s team.
The Gladbachers are hoping for Durkovic’s breakthrough in the second year of the contract.
Durkovic as title collector in Saint-Étienne
But this did not happen. When Borussia embarked on a three-week trip to South America on June 6, 1967, Durkovic was absent from the meeting point.
Apparently he is already in negotiations with another club at this point. Then Durkovic actually moved to AS Saint-Etienne. The fact that he was fluent in French helped him.
The next four years in France were successful for Durkovic. He was subsequently able to call himself three-time champion and two-time cup winner.
Durkovic’s uncompromising manner resonated. His team-mate at the time, Salif Keita, once said: “When I lost the ball, I didn’t turn around because I was afraid of Durkovic’s fierce look.”
The Yugoslavian wanted to end his career at FC Sion. In his first season with the Swiss team, Durkovic only finished seventh. Nevertheless, he thought about adding a second season.
But then came the evening at “La Matze” – and the fatal shot.
1.4 per thousand alcohol in the perpetrator’s blood
Bernard Carruzzo turned himself in to the police after driving to the hospital. He claimed that two foreigners had threatened him with their fists and that he had acted in self-defense.
According to the police report, Carruzzo had 1.4 per thousand alcohol in his blood. A court later sentenced him to nine years in prison. Ultimately, he only had to serve seven years.
Durkokic’s body was flown to Belgrade on Saturday after his death. A day later actions 5000 people in the Yugoslav capital bid farewell to the deceased.
In Saint-Etienne, a street near the stadium was named “Allée Vladimir Durkovic”. And in Mönchengladbach they pay tribute to their former player with pathetic words.
Club president Helmut Beyer said shortly after Durkovic’s death: “It’s unbelievable. Vladimir was one of the most decent pros I’ve ever had. Rarely have I met such a lovely man as him.”