From tough beginnings in Slovenia to close friends in the NBA, Atleti’s star shot-stopper is a undoubtedly a fascinating character.
1. He wasn’t an immediate hit after joining Atleti
He may now be one of the very best goalkeepers in the world and a four-time winner of the Zamora Trophy for LaLiga’s top goalkeeper, but Jan wasn’t a starter from the very beginning at Atlético de Madrid. He started out as a backup to the more experienced Miguel Angel Moya after his €16 million 2014 transfer – a LaLiga record for a goalkeeper at the time – from Benfica. Initially he only played cup matches but cemented his first-team slot after coming on as a substitute for the injured Moya in a Champions League tie against Bayer Leverkusen in March 2015. He’s never looked back.
2. As a youth player he cycled a marathon a day to get to training
Jan started out his career at Olimpija Ljubljana, attracting the attention of Europe’s biggest clubs. It wasn’t an easy experience for him, though, as he lived quite some distance away from the club’s training ground. He had to cycle to training each day, with the journey there and back equating to the length of a marathon, more or less (26.2 miles, or 42 kilometres).
3. His sister is a professional basketball player
Oblak comes from a sporting family, with his older sister Teja Oblak currently a point guard for the Slovenian national team and ZVVZ USK Praha in the Czech Republic. Teja previously played in Hungary, Slovakia, Poland and her native Slovenia. Oblak’s father, Matjaž, also played football as a goalkeeper at an amateur level.
4. NBA sensation Luka Dončić is a close friend
Along with Oblak, NBA phenom Luka Dončić is one of the other leading stars of Slovenian sport. The Dallas Mavericks star and the LaLiga goalkeeper have developed a strong friendship over the years, in particular when they both lived in Madrid (Dončić starred for Real Madrid’s basketball side between 2015 and 2018) and would often meet up to spend time together.
5. He has his own song at the Wanda Metropolitano
Atleti fans are among the most creative in LaLiga and have created their own song for Jan, adapting the lyrics to the Gypsy Kings hit Djobi, Djoba. “Obli, Oblak, every day I love you more” rings out around the Wanda Metropolitano every matchday.