Stipe Balajić

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Stipe Balajić
Personal information
Date of birth (1968-09-27) 27 September 1968 (age 45)
Place of birth Sinj, SFR Yugoslavia
Height 1.88 m (6 ft 2 in)
Playing position Defender, midfielder
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
Junak Sinj
1992 Zadar 21 (1)
1992–1994 Hajduk Split 44 (6)
1995 Zadar 13 (3)
1995–1996 Istra 45 (3)
1997 Šibenik 13 (2)
1998–2005 Maribor 175 (29)
Total 311 (44)
Teams managed
2007–2008 Zagora Unešić
2008–2010 Solin
2010–2011 RNK Split (assistant)
2012–2013 Dugopolje
2013–2014 Hajduk Split (U-19 manager)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only. † Appearances (Goals).

Stipe Balajić (born 27 September 1968) is a former Croatian football midfielder, who also played as a defender.

Club career[edit]

Balajić began his career in Junak Sinj. In 1992 he played for Zadar where he played in Croatian first division, Prva HNL. During the next season he signed for Croatian giants HNK Hajduk Split where he played until 1994 when he returned to Zadar where he stayed for couple of months. His next stop in his career was NK Istra where he played for a season and a half until he joined HNK Šibenik in 1997. In total Balajić earned 136 appearances in Croatian first division, scoring 15 goals in the process.[1]

After time spent in Prva HNL he joined his first and only club abroad, the Slovenian side Maribor, where he had his best years. He played in Maribor for 8 seasons up until his retirement in 2005. During his time in Maribor he earned a status of club legend and is considered as one of the best players that ever played for the violets. In 2002 he almost left the club but then returned after two months to help the team that already had financial difficulties at that time. According to his wishes he has played the first part of the season without payment from the club.[2] In his last couple of seasons he was also the team captain.

He had his best moments in Maribor during the 1999–2000 season, when he led the team through qualifications for the elite UEFA Champions League where the team eventually qualified and played in. Balajić scored an important goal in the second leg of the third qualifying round against French giants Olympique Lyonnais, which was won by Maribor 3-0 aggregate. He then played for the team in group stages and scored one of two Maribor goals in the process, against Ukraine side FC Dynamo Kyiv. NK Maribor won four points and finished last in Group A.

Balajić finished his career as a player in 2005 when he has played his last match for Maribor in a friendly against Hajduk Split. He played his last match for the first 19 minutes of the match and was then substituted, with standing ovations from the crowd. In his honour the club has retired the jersey with the number 19, the only number to be retired in history of NK Maribor until now. He has earned a total of 175 appearances for Maribor in Slovenian first league, 1.SNL where he scored 29 goals in the process.[3] Balajić is one of the most capped player in history of NK Maribor, having played a total of 229 official matches where he scored 37 goals.[4]

Coaching career[edit]

After his football career he turned into coaching. He started his coaching career as an assistant coach. His first job as a head coach started in 2007 when he accepted the offer from 3rd HNL team NK Zagora Unešić.[5] After finishing the season on second place he took the job as a head coach of 2nd HNL team NK Solin where he stayed until 2010.[6]

Currently he is an coach in Hajduk Split (U-19).[7]

See also[edit]

References[edit]