As a footballer, he practiced his trade in Toumba for four seasons linking his name to one of PAOK’s best teams in recent years. After retiring from action, he remained at the club as coach. He started at the helm of the U20s and then took over the senior team.
The common characteristic of his first two coaching spells was success. In 2014, he led PAOK U20s to the league title and in 2017 he signed “Double-Headed Eagle’s” first trophy since 2003.
Ivić was appointed coach of the senior team in March 2016, as successor of Igor Tudor. He finished his first season on a high note, his troops clinching top finish at the play-offs and securing a place in the UEFA Champions League qualifiers. That also led to the extension of his contract.
In his first full season as coach of a professional team, PAOK practiced attractive, attacking football, qualified for the last 32 stage of the UEFA Europa League and won their first game ever on Italian soil. In the domestic front, despite starting the league with a three-point deduction, PAOK had a strong season and finished three points behind Olympiakos.
Ivić’s accomplishments have earned him a deserved Top-10 spot in the Hall of Fame of PAOK coaches.
He is the epitome of old school football. An artist, a No 10 of the old mould, of a more romantic football era. Diego Biseswar initially kept us wondering about his physical condition level, but then convinced everyone of his quality.
His tactical nous and cast-iron technique helped him become a vital cog in PAOK’s attacking play. The Dutchman was among the best players of the 2016-17 Greek Cup.
He featured in 7 of his team’s 10 encounters in the competition, scored twice and provided four assists. His highlight performance was in the second half of the Toumba semi-final against Panathinaikos. He came off the bench to change the outlook of the encounter with his two assists. He was also named MVP of the final against AEK Athens. He featured as left winger and marked his stellar display with a goal.
The Dutch midfielder went on to play 44 games in the season, conjuring 7 goals and providing 10 assists (more than any of his team-mates).
His path has been far from easy. He has faced doubts, menacing injuries and several unlucky moments. He never conceded defeat though. He always had the inner strength for spectacular comebacks. 2016-17 was his season, although it drew to a close with him on the operating table again.
He was among the veterans of PAOK in their 2016-17 squad. A captain on and off the pitch, he enjoyed the best season of his career as the backbone of the “Double-Headed Eagle’s” defensive line.
He featured in six Greek Cup encounters. His most memorable display came in the semi-final against Panathinaikos. In the first half, his string of spectacular saves kept PAOK alive in the tie.
His contribution to the team all these years was rewarded in Volos, when he got his hands on the Greek Cup.
He was one of PAOK’s first signings in the summer of 2016. His CV was impressive. He stood out since his childhood years and celebrated the UEFA European Under-19 Championship in 2009 as one of champions Ukraine’s leading figures. He established himself in professional football at the ranks of FC Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk and went on to feature for them in the 2014-15 UEFA Europa League final.
Since his first days at PAOK, he proved he can provide valuable solutions in midfield. Always disciplined in his defensive duties, smart in his attacking role and quite passionate despite his seemingly calm disposition, he made room for himself in his team’s starting line-ups and contributed significantly to PAOK’s ride towards the final.
Furthermore, he was a man for big occasions. He scored very important goals against AC Fiorentina, Olympiakos and Panathinaikos. He played more matches than any of his team-mates in the Greek Cup, missing just one encounter in the competition. He scored three goals and provided two assists.