The Lithuanian professional footballer was Marius Žaliūkas. He played mostly as a center back, but as a defensive midfielder, he also played.
Throughout his career, Žaliūkas has played for Inkaras Kaunas, FBK Kaunas, FK Šilutė, Hearts, Leeds United, Rangers, and Žalgiris, as well as for Lithuania’s national team. He was born on 10 November 1983 in Kaunas, Lithuania.
The Lithuanian Football Federation confirmed, on 31 October 2020, that Žaliūkas had died at the age of 36.
He was 39 years old.
Before joining city rivals FBK Kaunas, he began his career with Inkaras Kaunas. Before returning to Kaunas to claim a regular first-team spot, he spent a season with FK Šilutė.
In August 2006, Žaliūkas was loaned to Hearts from FBK Kaunas. In a 4-1 win over Inverness Caledonian Thistle, he made his competitive debut for Hearts on 26 August 2006 and scored his first goal for the Tynecastle club in a 2-2 draw against St Mirren in December 2006.
On 1 April2007, he won hero status amongst Hearts fans by scoring a late winner at Easter Road against Edinburgh derby rivals Hibernian.
In December 2013, in successive games, Žaliūkas was the victim of straight red card challenges, first on 21 December Marcus Tudgay was sent off for Barnsley for a challenge on Žaliūkas, and then on 26 December Kirk Broadfoot for Blackpool was sent off for a poor challenge on Žaliūkas.
The impressive form of Žaliūkas was rewarded on 31 December 2013 when he signed an extended and strengthened contract at Leeds until the end of the 2014-15 season.
However, Žaliūkas lost his place in the Leeds United team after a string of individual errors in the 6-0 loss to Sheffield Wednesday. Žaliūkas was left out of Leeds’ two-week pre-season training camp at Santa Cristina in Italy on 30 June 2014. A day later, his deal was terminated by mutual consent.
According to the LithuanianFA, former Rangers defender Marius Zaliukas has died at the age of 36.
Į amžiną poilsį išėjo ilgametis nacionalinės rinktinės gynėjas ir legendinis Lietuvos futbolininkas Marius…
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