Damjanovic wants to improve the goal record as the end approaches

HONG KONG : Record striker Dejan Damjanovic is set to lead Hong Kong’s Kitchee into the knockout rounds of the Asian Champions League next week, keen to put the finishing touches on one of the most significant careers in Asian club football.

The 41-year-old Montenegrin is the top scorer in the history of continental competition, scoring 42 times in nine seasons over the past 13 years for four different clubs.

But as he takes on Thailand’s BG Pathum United on Friday, Damjanovic admits it may be his final appearance in a competition he has become synonymous with.

“I’m very aware of that and probably it is,” Damjanovic told Reuters. “I’m not saying 100 percent that it’s because you never know what may happen in the future, especially for me.

“But my contract runs until May 2023 and the next Asian Champions League starts in September 2023, so it is possible that this will be my last ACL season and I will try to make it unforgettable.”

Damjanovic has produced memorable performances since making his debut in the continental league for FC Seoul in 2009, eventually helping the South Korean side finish second behind Guangzhou Evergrande four years later.

He has twice scored 25 of his goals in the South Korean capital, while scoring for Suwon Bluewings and Beijing Guoan of the Chinese Super League.

A move to Kitchee enabled Damjanovic to break Lee Dong-gook’s record last season and he added two goals to his group stage tally this year as the Hong Kong Premier League champions won the K.- o. round reached.

His thirst for goals continues to drive Damjanovic and he remains as determined as ever to score and further embellish his status as the Asian Champions League’s top scorer before finally hanging up his boots.

“That’s why I play football and that’s why I’m here,” he says of his ongoing quest for goals.

“I know I’m not getting any younger but thank god my body is doing really well.

“Everything is perfect and I’m still motivated if it’s possible to increase this goal record. I’m willing to do that.

“The most important thing is that Kitchee qualifies to take another step. But if there are some chances, of course I will try to score and make it a little bit more difficult to break the record in the coming seasons. “