||This article's lead section may not adequately summarize key points of its contents. (June 2012)|
Kalinić with Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk in 2011
|Date of birth||5 January 1988|
|Place of birth||Solin, SFR Yugoslavia|
|Height||1.87 m (6 ft 2 in)|
|Current club||Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk|
|2005–2006||→ Istra 1961 (loan)||12||(3)|
|2006–2007||→ Šibenik (loan)||8||(3)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 23 November 2013.
† Appearances (Goals).
Born in the town of Solin near Split, Croatia, Yugoslavia, Kalinić started his career as a teenager in the Prva HNL at age 17, playing on loan and debuting against his initial club Hajduk Split on 19 November 2005. In his loan time at Pula, he had a slow but fair start considering his young age. Despite not playing all too regularly in a short single season with them, he still managed to adapt and find goalscoring form, netting 3 goals in 12 league appearances. His first goals in the Prva HNL came in the 2–0 victory against Kamen Ingrad on 23 September 2006 as he netted a brace to give his side the victory. Upon ending his short time at Pula, manager Krunoslav Jurčić was largely impressed with him, stating he could become the next Ibrahimović.
Despite his intentions to stay at Pula, he returned to Hajduk and was immediately sent out on loan to HNK Šibenik where he saw occasional first team action and immediately impressed with all round performances and regular goalscoring ability, netting 3 goals in a mere 8 appearances.
After clearly showing the ability to adapt well to the Croatian league, he returned to Hajduk and saw plenty of first team action immediately. He made his returning debut against Cibalia as a substitute, and secured his first start in the squad during the 2–1 victory against Osijek at the Poljud Stadium. His 17 league goals in his first season with Hajduk was only beaten by league topscorer Zelimir Terkes, who managed 21 goals. However, it was a great achievement for the youngster who had initially set a target of scoring 15 goals, which he ended up exceeding. He finished the 2007–08 season in 5th place with Hajduk in the league, also helping them reach the final of the Croatian Cup in the same season and ended with a total of 26 goals, receiving the coveted Swan d'or Award, from the Croatian Press Association.
He kicked off the next season by scoring the second goal in Hajduk's 4–0 away victory against Birkirkara FC, thus advancing them to the next round of qualification for the UEFA Cup. In Hajduk's derby match over league rivals Dinamo Zagreb, Kalinić scored the first goal with a penalty kick. Hajduk went on to win the game 2–0 and overtake Dinamo in the league table.
Kalinić went for a 1-week trial at English Premier League club Portsmouth in late July 2009. A fee thought to be in the region of £6 million was agreed. However the move fell through due to financial reasons. On 31 July 2009 Kalinić was heavily linked with another Premier League club Blackburn Rovers. Later that same day, the player's agent confirmed that the player had been at Blackburn's ground talking to the club on the 30th and 31st with regard to the deal to take the player to Ewood Park. The player's agent also confirmed that the fee was 7 million Euros should the deal be completed, the contract had been agreed, and that his client was due to sign for the club. The player also made light that the Lancashire-based club expected "big things" from the highly-rated Croat. On 1 August 2009, the move stepped closer when Hajduk Split president Mate Peroš confirmed that Blackburn Rovers had an offer accepted by the club. An offer which was subsequently the best offer from any club. He also confirmed "Very quickly we finished the talks with the club (Rovers)." It is now understood that the move is now waiting for a Work Permit to be issued, and then Nikola will officially become a Blackburn Rovers player.
On 3 August 2009, it was reported by Sky Sports News that Kalinić had signed for Blackburn Rovers from Hajduk Split on a four-year deal. The transfer fee is believed to be in the region of £6 million. On 10 August, Kalinić was successfully awarded a work permit and officially signed for Blackburn. However, his début was delayed as he had to return from Croatia to collect his permit, meaning he was not officially registered in time for Rovers' opening game of the season against Manchester City. On 13 August, Kalinić was officially confirmed as a Blackburn Rovers player and was assigned the number 22 jersey for the 2009–10 season. He made his debut against Sunderland on 22 August. On 27 October Kalinić scored his first goal for Blackburn against Peterborough United in the League Cup. He scored his second goal in the quarter-final of the League Cup against Chelsea, but missed a penalty in the shootout which Blackburn went on to win regardless. He scored his third goal for Rovers in the FA Cup against Aston Villa on 2 January 2010.
He then added his fourth and fifth goals of the season, with the two opening goals against Aston Villa in the second leg of the League Cup semi-final. The first being a header, and the second a close-range shot. He scored his first Premier League goal against Wigan Athletic with a header from a resultant corner taken by Morten Gamst Pedersen in the 76th minute in the 2–1 victory. Kalinić scored his second Premier League goal of the 2009–10 campaign against Bolton Wanderers on 21 February 2010. He was handed the number nine shirt, by manager Sam Allardyce at the beginning of the new Premier League campaign. Despite missing much of pre-season, Kalinić started the 2010–11 season well, as he scored the only goal in Blackburn's opening day victory over Everton at Ewood Park on 14 August. He scored his second league goal in the 1–1 draw against Manchester City. On 28 December 2010 he netted his first brace in Blackburn colours in their 3–1 win over West Bromwich Albion at The Hawthorns, he was later sent off in this game. On 26 February 2011, Kalinić came on as a second-half substitute for teammate Roque Santa Cruz in the game against Aston Villa, at Villa Park, in the league and scored in the 81st minute in a 4–1 defeat. This goal was his sixth of the season in total and his 5th Premier League strike. After Sam Allardyce got sacked as Blackburn Rovers manager, Kalinić fell out of favor with Blackburn's newly appointed manager Steve Kean.
FC Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk
On 11 August 2011, Kalinić signed for FC Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk of the Ukrainian Premier League for an undisclosed fee. He made his debut for the club on 13 August 2011 as a second-half substitute against league champions Shakhtar Donetsk in a 3–1 defeat. He marked his first appearance for the club with a goal but was red carded for elbowing just two minutes after scoring.
Kalinić was a key player in the Croatian national under-21 team during his youth playing years. He also represented his country at under-17 and under-19 youth level. He first made a name for himself at international level at age 17 during the 2005 UEFA European Under-17 Football Championship when he finished the campaign as the top scorer with 11 goals. At under 19 level, he managed another 5 goals during his sides preliminary round of the same tournament. He also scored a hat-trick against Lithuania in Croatia's 3–0 victory, which secured them a spot in the next elite round of the UEFA European Under-19 Championship in 2006.
Initially supposed to be called up by head coach Slaven Bilić for the few remaining qualifying games of UEFA Euro 2008, Kalinić missed the chance due to injury and was instead replaced by Mario Mandžukić. However, his constant impressive abilities earned him a place in Croatia's final squad for Euro 2008. Kalinić made his first appearance for the senior national team on 24 May 2008, coming on as a substitute in the 62nd minute of Croatia's 1–0 friendly win against Moldova. He went on to make his first competitive appearance for his national side at Euro 2008 in Croatia's final group game against Poland, coming on as a substitute for goalscorer Ivan Klasnić in the 1–0 victory.
On 17 November 2010, he scored his first international goal, netting the third goal in Croatia's 3–0 win at home to Malta in the UEFA Euro 2012 qualifiers. On 9 February 2011 Kalinić scored a brace in a 4–2 victory over the Czech Republic in an international friendly game.
- As of 6 February 2013
|Kalinić – goals for Croatia|
|1||16 November 2010||Zagreb, Croatia||Malta||3–0||3–0||UEFA Euro 2012 qualifying|
|2||9 February 2011||Pula, Croatia||Czech Republic||2–0||4–2||Friendly|
|3||9 February 2011||Pula, Croatia||Czech Republic||3–2||4–2||Friendly|
|4||3 June 2011||Split, Croatia||Georgia||2–1||2–1||UEFA Euro 2012 qualifying|
|5||25 May 2012||Pula, Croatia||Estonia||2–0||3–1||Friendly|
|6||10 September 2013||Jeonju, South Korea||South Korea||2–0||2-1||Friendly|
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- Premier League profile