Zlatko Zahovič

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Zlatko Zahovič
Zlatko Zahovic.jpg
Zahovič lining up for Olympiacos in 1999
Personal information
Full name Zlatko Zahović
Date of birth (1971-02-01) 1 February 1971 (age 43)
Place of birth Maribor, SFR Yugoslavia
Height 1.80 m (5 ft 11 in)
Playing position Attacking midfielder
Youth career
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1989–1993 Partizan 37 (6)
1990–1991 Proleter Zrenjanin (loan) 25 (0)
1993–1996 Vitória Guimarães 79 (13)
1996–1999 Porto 84 (27)
1999–2000 Olympiacos 14 (7)
2000–2001 Valencia 20 (3)
2001–2005 Benfica 80 (14)
Total 339 (70)
National team
1992–2004 Slovenia 80 (35)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
† Appearances (Goals).

Zlatko Zahovič (born 1 February 1971 in Maribor) is a retired Slovenian footballer who played as an attacking midfielder.

After making a name for himself in Europe in Portugal, most notably with Porto and Benfica (amassing top division totals of 246 games and 54 goals over the course of one full decade), he went on to have unassuming spells in Spain and Greece. He was known for dribbling and goal-scoring ability alike.[1]

The all-time record holder in caps (80) and goals (35) for the Slovenian national team, Zahovič was an essential member of the team as they qualified for their first international tournaments: Euro 2000 and the 2002 FIFA World Cup.

Club career[edit]


Zahovič was born in Maribor, Slovenia, Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. In 1989, the 18-year-old NK Kovinar Maribor player was noticed by FK Partizan's Milko Ǵurovski, at the time doing his mandatory military service in town, and recommended the youngster to the national giants.

With the Belgrade side, he was retatively used over the course of three seasons – he also played one year on loan for FK Proleter Zrenjanin – contributing with 15 games and three goals as Partizan won the 1992–93 national championship.


In the 1993 summer, aged 22, Zahovič moved to Portugal and signed for Vitória de Guimarães, joining fellow first divisioner F.C. Porto after three solid seasons and two UEFA Cup qualifications. With Porto he was equally important, winning three consecutive leagues whilst rarely missing a match; in the his last year, he scored a career-best 14 goals.

Zahovič netted seven goals for Porto during the 1998–99 UEFA Champions League, thus finishing third in the competition's scoring charts, behind FC Dynamo Kyiv's Andriy Shevchenko and Dwight Yorke of Manchester United, who both scored eight. The northerners, however, did not make it past the group stage.

Olympiacos / Valencia[edit]

Zahovič then experienced two turbulent years, first with Olympiacos F.C. of Greece then Spain's Valencia CF.[2] With the latter he reached the final of the 2000–01 Champions League, lost after a penalty shootout against FC Bayern Munich, with the midfielder having his attempt saved by Oliver Kahn; additionally, he clashed with the coaches in both clubs, returning from holidays late when Dušan Bajević was in charge at Olympiakos, then arguing with his successor Alberto Bigon over tactics[3] and complaining to Che boss Héctor Cúper he was not being given enough opportunities.

In the 2001 summer Zahovič returned to Portugal and joined S.L. Benfica, as Carlos Marchena moved to Valencia.[4] He was an important first-team member in his first three seasons, but lost his importance when manager Giovanni Trapattoni arrived at the Reds, a situation which was aggravated in January 2005 with the purchase of Nuno Assis; Benfica won the league precisely in that campaign after a drought of 11 years, with the player appearing in ten contests (17 and four goals in all official competitions, as Benfica also reached the round-of-32 in the UEFA Cup), and retiring from football in June 2005 at the age of 34.

In the summer of 2007, Zahovič returned to his homeland, becoming director of football at NK Maribor.

International career[edit]

Zahovič's first match for Slovenia was on 7 November 1992, a friendly match with Cyprus. The national team qualified for UEFA Euro 2000 in Belgium and the Netherlands, with the player scoring nine goals in 15 matches; In the finals he continued to excel, netting three of the side's four goals in an eventual group stage exit.

Slovenia also managed to qualify for the 2002 FIFA World Cup in South Korea and Japan, another first. However, after being replaced by manager Srečko Katanec in the 63rd minute of the first group match against Spain (1–3 loss), Zahovič insulted the coach, who immediately sent him home following the match;[5] Katanec resigned immediately after the World Cup, after three defeats in the group stage.

Zahovič played his last game for the national team on 28 April 2004 against Switzerland. Altogether he appeared in 80 matches and scored 35 goals (both records),[6] thus making him the most successful Slovenian footballer since the country's independence in 1991, and the inception of its football association into FIFA the following year.





Club performance League Cup League Cup Continental Total
Season Club League Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Yugoslavia League Yugoslav Cup League Cup Europe Total
1989–90 Partizan First League 9 1
1990–91 Proleter Zrenjanin First League 25 0
1991–92 Partizan First League 13 2
Serbia League Serbian Cup League Cup Europe Total
1992–93 Partizan First League 15 3
Portugal League Taça de Portugal Taça da Liga Europe Total
1993–94 Vitória Guimarães Primeira Liga 24 1
1994–95 22 4
1995–96 27 8
1996–97 Porto Primeira Liga 26 7
1997–98 29 6
1998–99 29 14
Greece League Greek Cup League Cup Europe Total
1999–2000 Olympiacos Alpha Ethniki 14 7
Spain League Copa del Rey Copa de la Liga Europe Total
2000–01 Valencia La Liga 20 3 1 2 - - 10 1 31 6
Portugal League Taça de Portugal Taça da Liga Europe Total
2001–02 Benfica Primeira Liga 21 6
2002–03 28 6
2003–04 21 2
2004–05 10 0
Country Yugoslavia 47 3
Serbia 15 3
Portugal 237 54
Greece 14 7
Spain 20 3
Total 333 70

National team[edit]

Slovenia national team
Year Apps Goals
1992 1 0
1993 1 0
1994 5 1
1995 6 3
1996 6 1
1997 3 1
1998 9 6
1999 11 8
2000 10 6
2001 8 4
2002 8 2
2003 9 2
2004 3 1
Total 80 35

Personal life[edit]

Zahovič's son, Luka (born 1995), is also a footballer. He is playing as a striker and represented Slovenia at the youth levels.[7][8]

See also[edit]


External links[edit]