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Published on Apr 16, 2012
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Josip Iličić (born 29 January 1988 in Prijedor) is a Slovenian football midfielder, who currently plays for Italian Serie A club Palermo and the Slovenia national team.
Iličić started his career playing in the youth teams of NK Triglav and later NK Britof from Kranj. At the age of 19, he moved to SC Bonifika, where he played for a season in Slovenian second division, 2.SNL. It was there when his talent was spoted by NK Interblock where he stayed for two seasons playing in Slovenian top league, 1.SNL. At the end of 2009-10 season NK Interblock was relegated into 2.SNL after two qualifications matches against NK Triglav. Despite being one of the best players of his club and one of the top prospects of Slovenian football Iličić finished the season as a reserve.
A couple of months later he moved to NK Maribor where he has made a big impact from the start as he scored twice in the UEFA Europa League match against Scottish Premier League club Hibernian in July 2010. He then scored again, in the return leg of the UEFA Europa League playoff round against Sicilian Palermo, which ended in a 3--2 win for the Slovenian side. On the very next day, it was confirmed that Palermo had acquired Iličić and teammate Armin Bačinović from Maribor for a permanent move. The transfer fee paid by Palermo was undisclosed, but it is believed to be around €2.3 million.
He then picked up where he left off as he nearly scored a late equaliser at his debut for his new team in Serie A. In the next round, he was already a starter and scored his first goal for Palermo at home against reigning champions Inter. Only four days later, on 23 September 2010, he scored his second goal of the season, this time against another Italian giant Juventus. His terrific performances against top Italian teams continued when he scored a goal against Fiorentina on 3 October 2010, and against Roma on 28 November 2010.
On 20 June 2011 he signed a new 5-year contract. He changed his shirt number to 27 on 16 August 2011.