Ivan Gudelj

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Ivan Gudelj
Personal information
Full name Ivan Gudelj
Date of birth (1960-09-21) 21 September 1960 (age 54)
Place of birth Imotski, FPR Yugoslavia
Playing position defensive midfielder
Club information
Current team
Croatia U-19 (manager)
Youth career
1975–1976 NK Mračaj
1976–1979 Hajduk Split
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1979–1986 Hajduk Split 181 (35)
National team
1980–1986 Yugoslavia 33 (3)
Teams managed
Croatia U-16
NK Uskok
1993 Zadar
NK Dubrovnik
Vorwärts Steyr
2005–2013 Croatia U-17
2005–2006 Hajduk Split
2013-2014 Croatia U-19
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
† Appearances (Goals).

Ivan Gudelj (born 21 September 1960) is a Croatian former football midfielder who represented Yugoslavia.

Player career[edit]

Club career[edit]

Ivan Gudelj started his player career in a club from the neighbouring village of Runovići - NK Mračaj. His coach was the father of future football star Zvonimir Boban. Few years later, Gudelj went to play for Hajduk Split, for which he played in period 1976-1986. He quickly marked himself out as a dependable and elegant defensive midfielder, earning the moniker "Beckenbauer from Zmijavci" in the Yugoslav press.

The rising career of a new European football star ended suddenly. Gudelj was forced to end his career cause of health problems, more specifically, hepatitis B. He played his last game against Red Star Belgrade in Split on 23 September 1986 at the start of the 1986-87 league season. His precontract with Girondins de Bordeaux has never been realised.

National team career[edit]

Youth[edit]

In 1979, 18-year-old Gudelj had a busy summer.

First in June, he played for Yugoslavia at the UEFA European Under-18 Football Championship in Vienna, leading his country to the championship trophy, beating Bulgaria in the final. Gudelj got named the tournament's best player.

Later that summer in August, Gudelj made the Yugoslavia squad that participated at the FIFA World Youth Championship held in Japan. Playing in a tough group featuring Argentina with 18-year-old Diego Maradona, Yugoslavia failed to progress to the next stage.

Full squad[edit]

Gudelj's excellent games for national youth team drew the attention national team head coach Miljan Miljanić who called Gudelj up for the full squad the following year.

Gudelj quickly became Miljanić's favourite who soon made him the Yugoslav national team captain at the age of 21. In the end Gudelj made 33 national team appearances, scoring three goals. He was a participant in the 1982 FIFA World Cup and Euro 1984. Because of his excellent games, French magazine L’Équipe put him on their list of ideal team of 1982 World Cup. He was also named the Yugoslav Footballer of the Year in 1982.

Coaching career[edit]

He began his coaching career in 1990. As a coach, he led Croatian priests' national team and Croatian cadets national team. With the latter, he won the bronze medal in the Eurochamps 2001 in England (generation of Niko Kranjčar).

Later, he led various clubs. He made it with Primorac from Stobreč, bringing it to Croatian top league. He also led Uskok from Klis, Zadar, Dubrovnik, Austrian club Vorwärts from Steyr and Hajduk (in 2005). He is currently the manager of the Croatia U17 National Team and successfully led them to a 4th place finish in the 2005 UEFA European Under-17 Football Championship in Italy.

Personal life[edit]

Born in the town of Imotski, he grew up in the nearby village of Zmijavci. As a child, Ivan Gudelj thought about becoming a priest.

Also, as a child, he was an extra in the TV series Prosjaci i sinovi, made after the novel of Ivan Raos and filmed in Gudelj's home village Zmijavci. He was distinguishing from other kids in the escape scene, because Ivan Gudelj was - the fastest.

Trophies[edit]

  • Yugoslav Cup: 1983/84

References[edit]