Edin Dzeko has had some memorable summers in both his private and professional life.
Some of the memories are bad, like the ones from wartime Sarajevo, playing football under shells or waiting for water in queues on the streets.
As an 18-year-old boy, talented but unwanted by his mother club Zeljeznicar and mocked by fans, he left his hometown of Sarajevo and moved to the Czech Republic in a quest for a chance in the world of football.
Of course, other memories are good, some of them being almost perfect, like the one back in 2008 when Dzeko brought a championship parade to the city of Wolfsburg for the first time in their history.
Or in 2012 when he was one of the key parts of a Manchester City team that ended a 44-year trophy drought.
But none were as good as the summer of 2014.
It did start perfectly, with another day on the open-top bus in Manchester, celebrating the English Premier League title, in which he scored some extremely important goals, if not the most important ones.
It became even better on the international stage, where Dzeko steered his homeland to its major tournament debut.
Bosnia-Herzegovina was, for the first time in their history, playing in the World Cup, and this was largely thanks to its biggest hero and top scorer ever.
Even though he ended the tournament with mixed feelings—his team went home after the group stage, and his perfectly executed goal in the crucial match against Nigeria was disallowed—this was a tournament packed with emotions for the nation and Dzeko himself.
The summer of 2014 is special for Edin because, by appearing in the World Cup for his country, as well as by performances in late stages of Manchester City's title-winning season, he rounded up one part of his career with the success, and he is now ready to move on to the next one.
Dzeko is only 28, but he has already won titles in two different countries with clubs that were not really used to winning. He has also led his country to their World Cup debut.
He entered the big stage through the back door when Felix Magath brought him to a Wolfsburg side that was mid-table at the time and established himself as one of the most effective strikers in Bundesliga history.
Dzeko's brilliant partnership with Brazilian forward Grafite and national teammate Zvjezdan Misimovic did not just make Wolfsburg a title winner in Germany but introduced Dzeko to the big stage.
In 2011, Manchester City was the club to win his signature, with numerous European clubs interested. The Bosnian international instantly started his contribution to the creation of a title-winning squad, but somehow he was never completely accepted at the Etihad.
Under former manager Roberto Mancini's guidance, Dzeko had many ups and downs. His performance curve varied from brilliant to utterly bad. Being an emotional player, whose displays often depend on the feeling of the manager and fans' confidence, Dzeko struggled to cope with team rotation and critics, which often cost him his form.
Situations like the one when Mancini left him on the bench immediately after putting four past Tottenham Hotspur affected Dzeko psychologically and kept pulling him down.
The first part of last season, this time under Manuel Pellegrini, changed little. Dzeko was still struggling to get proper playing time and his form varied. He was often accused of being indifferent, languid and slow-paced.
Even though the Etihad had been his home for more than three years, he felt like he needed to prove himself with every playing minute he got, with a sense of distrust following him at every move.
But when Pellegrini had his back to the wall, losing Stevan Jovetic, then Alvaro Negredo and Sergio Aguero first to injuries and later to poor form, City could only rely on Edin.
He once again stepped up and provided.
Dzeko scored 16 league goals last season, half coming in the decisive part of the campaign, the last 10 matches. Dzeko looked confident, secure and anything but indifferent, showing his attacking versatility as well.
The "Diamond" may not be the most attractive player in the league, but he keeps delivering, and he does so with his right foot (seven goals), his left foot (five goals) and his head (four goals), per Squawka.
In three-and-a-half seasons with Manchester City, Dzeko in a way went from hero to zero and back; being one of the most underestimated players by his own fans, who at the end had a crucial role in their title-winning season.
Once again, he proved himself in the best possible way, by scoring goals, and it's no wonder Manchester City wants to keep him. As Simon Mullock of The Daily Mirror reports, even though his contract expires in 12 months from now, City plans to snub all transfer suitors and offer him a new deal.
In the last four years, Dzeko went through good and bad with both the national team and Manchester City, culminating this year with a trip to the World Cup with his country and a league title with his club. He fulfilled his dreams, and at the same time, he removed a huge burden of distrust from his back.
In the season that comes, if treated as he deserves, Dzeko can play more freely and relaxed, enjoying the game he loves. And playing like that, he can be unstoppable.
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