Sporting Kansas City announced today that the club has signed 29-year-old defensive midfielder and Spanish La Liga veteran Nemanja Radoja to a three-year MLS contract through 2025 with an option for 2026. Radoja will occupy an international spot on Sporting’s 2023 roster, pending receipt of his International Transfer Certificate and P1 visa.
A native of Novi Sad, Serbia, Radoja began his professional career with Serbian club Vojvodina before embarking on an eight-year journey in the Spanish La Liga, one of the best leagues in the world. He logged 181 La Liga appearances from 2014-2022, playing alongside Sporting defender Andreu Fontas at Celta Vigo from 2014-2018 and spending each of the last three seasons with Levante. Radoja has played nearly 300 matches across the top divisions of Serbia and Spain and also boasts experience in the UEFA Europa League with Vojvodina and Celta Vigo.
Radoja developed in Vojvodina’s youth academy and joined the club’s senior team in 2011 prior to brief loan spells at fellow Serbian sides CSK Celarevo and Cement Beocin. He then became an integral contributor for Vojvodina during the 2012-13 campaign as he made 22 league appearances, helping the team to a third-place finish in the Serbian SuperLiga and a run to the 2013 Serbian Cup Final. The midfielder reached greater heights in the following season, starting in 25 league games and eight UEFA Europa League matches in addition to guiding Vojvodina to the 2014 Serbian Cup title with a 2-0 triumph over Jagodina in the final.
Radoja’s standout season in 2013-14 attracted the attention of La Liga outfit Celta Vigo, which acquired the player via transfer in August 2014. He took little time settling in as a key figure for Celta, regularly competing in tandem with Fontas for a team that finished eighth in the 2014-15 La Liga table. Radoja and Celta improved upon their fortunes in 2015-16 as he played 36 matches in all competitions, spearheading a sixth-place league finish, a semifinal appearance in the Copa del Rey and a berth in the 2016-17 edition of the UEFA Europa League.
Celta Vigo’s 2016-17 campaign was highlighted by admirable runs to the semifinals of the Copa del Rey as well as the UEFA Europa League, where they fell to eventual champions Manchester United in a narrow 2-1 aggregate defeat. Radoja started 45 of 50 matches over the course of the season, including 12 appearances in the Europa League, and scored his first La Liga goal in a 1-0 win over Alaves in January 2017.
Radoja played an additional 29 games for Celta over the next two seasons, then moved to La Liga outfit Levante ahead of the 2019-20 campaign. His first year at the club was highlighted by a 3-1 upset win over European powerhouse Barcelona in November 2019 that saw Radoja score Levante’s final goal. In 2020-21, Radoja and Levante enjoyed another major success by reaching the semifinal of the Copa del Rey for the first time in club history before losing to Athletic Bilbao 3-2 on aggregate. Radoja made four starts and six total appearances during the momentous tournament run.
In his final season with Levante, Radoja started 18 of 20 matches in all competitions, including a 90-minute outing in a wild 3-3 draw against eventual La Liga and UEFA Champions League winners Real Madrid in August 2021.
On the international stage, Radoja has two caps for the Serbia Men’s National Team. He earned his senior debut in a friendly match at Ukraine in November 2016 and made one appearance in Serbia’s successful qualifying campaign ahead of the 2018 FIFA World Cup, featuring in a 3-0 win over Moldova in September 2017. As a youth, Radoja represented Serbia at the U-18 through U-21 levels, notably playing every minute for his country in the 2012 UEFA European Under-19 Championship with games against Paul Pogba and France, Harry Kane and England and Croatia.
Transaction: Sporting Kansas City (MLS) signs midfielder Nemanja Radoja to a three-year MLS contract through 2025 with an option for 2026.
Nemanja Radoja (nem-AHN-ya RAHD-oy-ah)
Born: 2/6/1993 (29 years old)
Weight: 172 lbs.
Hometown: Novi Sad, Serbia
Birthplace: Novi Sad, Serbia
Previous Club: Levante (Spain)