|Date of birth||21 January 1970|
|Place of birth||Makarska, SFR Yugoslavia|
|Height||1.87 m (6 ft 2 in)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only|
Alen Bokšić (pronounced [bǒkʃitɕ]; born 21 January 1970) is a former Croatian professional footballer. A forward who spent most of his career in France and Italy, he was renowned for his technique and power, and is regarded as one of the greatest players in the history of the Croatia national football team.
With Marseille Bokšić won the 1992–93 UEFA Champions League, and was voted fourth in the 1993 European Footballer of the Year poll. That same year he was named Croatian Footballer of the Year. He also won two Serie A titles in 1997 and 2000 with Juventus and Lazio respectively, and is regarded as one of the best foreign players in the history of Serie A since 1980.
Although selected for Yugoslavia squad at the 1990 FIFA World Cup in Italy, the 20-year-old Bokšić did not play in the tournament, with coach Ivica Osim preferring more experienced forwards in the lineup. Following Croatia's independence from Yugoslavia Bokšić became an integral part of Croatia's national team in the 1990s under coach Miroslav Blažević. He played for Croatia at the 1996 European Championship but was not included in the squad for the 1998 FIFA World Cup in France due to an injury he suffered only weeks before the tournament. Bokšić finally made his World Cup debut at the age of 32 at the 2002 FIFA World Cup in Japan, appearing in all three of the team's group stage matches, before retiring only a year later in 2003.
Bokšić was born in Makarska and started his club career at Zmaj, from Makarska. As a young player he moved to Hajduk Split and was introduced into the first team (1987–91). With Hajduk, he won the Yugoslav Cup in 1987 and 1991. In 174 games for Hajduk, he scored 60 goals. Bokšić scored in the 1991 Yugoslavian Cup final against Red Star Belgrade for what proved to be the winning goal. It was the last ever goal scored in the Yugoslavian Cup as the country dissolved just few months after that.
Bokšić moved to AS Cannes in France (1991–92), but was plagued by injuries and played only one game for the entire season.
In the summer of 1992, he was signed by French giants Olympique Marseille. In his only full season with Olympique Marseille (1992–93), he was the Ligue 1 top goalscorer, leading the charts with 23 goals. That season he won the French league, but Marseille were later stripped of the title. His biggest success with the club came in May 1993, when Olympique Marseille defeated A.C. Milan to win the 1993 UEFA Champions League Final. Bokšić was the club's joint top goalscorer in the competition alongside teammate Rudi Völler, as he scored 6 goals in the 1992–93 UEFA Champions League.
He played another 12 league matches for the club at the beginning of the 1993–94 season, until December 1993, when he was transferred to Lazio. Bokšić left the club in the wake of one of the biggest football club scandals in history. In 1994, due to financial irregularities and a match fixing scandal involving then president Bernard Tapie, they suffered enforced relegation to the second division.
After joining Lazio in Italy in 1993, Bokšić was voted fourth for the 1993 European Footballer of the Year, behind winner Roberto Baggio, Dennis Bergkamp, and Eric Cantona. In his first half-season with Lazio, Bokšić appeared in 21 Serie A matches, scoring 4 goals as Lazio ended 4th.
In the 1994–95 season Lazio were managed by Zdeněk Zeman, and Bokšić played an important part in the club's best Serie A position since 1974, finishing 2nd. Bokšić was a part of a praised attacking trident formed by Bokšić, Giuseppe Signori and Pierluigi Casiraghi. He scored a total of 9 goals in the 1994–95 Serie A season.
In the summer of 1996 Bokšić signed for Juventus, then managed by Marcello Lippi. During his one season with the club he managed to win three trophies, as Juventus won the 1996–97 Serie A, the 1996 Intercontinental Cup and the 1996 UEFA Super Cup. The club also reached the final of the 1996–97 UEFA Champions League but lost the match 3–1 against Borussia Dortmund. Bokšić played as a forward until the 88th minute of the match, alongside Christian Vieri, and provided the assist for Alessandro Del Piero's goal. Bokšić was the club's top goalscorer in the competition with 4 goals. He also netted 3 goals in 22 league appearances on their way to the Serie A title.
Return to Lazio
Bokšić returned to Lazio in 1997, now under new manager Sven-Göran Eriksson. In his first season back at the club, he scored 10 goals in Serie A, with Lazio finishing 7th in the league; this was a disappointing result for Lazio, but they managed to reach the final of the 1998 UEFA Cup and also won the Coppa Italia that year.
The 1999–2000 Season was Bokšić's most successful season with Lazio, as the club won the UEFA Super Cup, the 1999–2000 Serie A title and another Coppa Italia; Bokšić scored 4 goals en route to the scudetto. After six years of playing in Serie A, he decided to leave Italy at the end of the season.
Following his spell at Lazio, Bokšić surprised the footballing world by joining English Premier League club Middlesbrough for a transfer fee of £2.5 million. On his debut for Middlesbrough, Boksic scored twice and claimed an assist in a 3-1 win over Coventry City. At the time of his signing, some reports claimed that he had become the highest-paid player in English football, earning a reputed £63,000 per week. However, there are no documented sources for this claim, which was vehemently denied by manager Bryan Robson: "The wages quoted are a total nonsense. I got to hear about this long before anyone else and that's why we acted quickly and decisively. Talk of £63,000 a week is utter rubbish."
Despite his injury problems, he went on to score 12 goals in his first season at Middlesbrough and was subsequently named their Player of the Year. He was less affected by injuries in the 2001–02 season, but could only muster eight goals in a Boro side short of goals and creativity throughout the entire side. Whilst a Middlesbrough player, he went to the 2002 World Cup finals with Croatia, but failed to score in his country's three group games.
On 1 February 2003, Boksic announced his decision to retire from football, after a succession of injuries had restricted his appearances at the Riverside Stadium. Bokšić came to a mutual agreement with Middlesbrough to bring the curtain down on his illustrious career. His last match for Middlesbrough was on 11 January 2003, in a 2–2 draw with Southampton, while His final goal for the club had come in a memorable 3–1 win over Manchester United on Boxing Day 2002.
Twenty-year-old Bokšić was a member of the Yugoslavia national squad during 1990 World Cup, but coach Ivica Osim did not give him a single minute of action, preferring the more experienced Zlatko Vujović and Darko Pančev for places upfront.
For the Croatia national team, Bokšić was capped 40 times, scoring 10 goals. He played for his country at Euro 96. He missed Croatia's surprising third-place run in the 1998 FIFA World Cup due to injury. This was a devastating blow for the Croatian team as they could not pair him together with Davor Šuker to form arguably the most potent striking force in the tournament. He finally made his World Cup playing debut in the 2002 World Cup at the age of 32.
Style of play
Bokšić was a dynamic, well-rounded, physically strong, and prolific forward, who was renowned for his technique, skill, creativity, movement, power, stamina, and pace on the ball, which enabled him to open up defences and create space for his teammates with his attacking runs; despite his ability and consistent goalscoring rate throughout his career, he drew criticism at times in the Italian media for his occasional lack of accuracy in front of goal during his time in Serie A. He was also injury prone.
|Yugoslavia||League||Yugoslav Cup||League Cup||Europe||Total|
|Hajduk Split||1987–88||First League||13||2||0||0||–||–||0[a]||0||13||2|
|France||League||Coupe de France||Coupe de la Ligue||Europe||Total|
|Olympique Marseille||1992–93||Division 1||37||23||1||0||–||–||8[b]||6||46||29|
|England||League||FA Cup||League Cup||Europe||Total|
- All appearances in the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup.
- All appearances in the UEFA Champions League.
- Includes Supercoppa Italiana and Intercontinental Cup matches.
- Includes UEFA Cup, UEFA Champions League, UEFA Cup Winners' Cup, and UEFA Super Cup matches.
- All appearances in the UEFA Cup.
- All appearances in the 1996 Intercontinental Cup.
- All appearances in the Supercoppa Italiana.
|Croatia national team|
|1||3 September 1995||Maksimir, Zagreb||Estonia||Euro 1996 Qualifying|
|2||8 October 1996||Renato Dall'Ara, Bologna||Bosnia and Herzegovina||World Cup 1998 Qualifying|
|4||11 October 1997||Bežigrad, Ljubljana||Slovenia||World Cup 1998 Qualifying|
|5||15 November 1997||Olympic, Kyiv||Ukraine||World Cup 1998 Qualifying|
|6||22 April 1998||Gradski vrt, Osijek||Poland||Friendly|
|7||9 October 1999||Maksimir, Zagreb||Yugoslavia||Euro 2000 Qualifying|
|8||26 April 2000||Ernst Happel, Vienna||Austria||Friendly|
|9||11 October 2000||Maksimir, Zagreb||Scotland||World Cup 2002 Qualifying|
|10||6 October 2001||Maksimir, Zagreb||Belgium||World Cup 2002 Qualifying|
- Hajduk Split
- French Ligue 1 Top Scorer: 1992–93
- French Ligue 1 Foreign Player of the Year: 1993
- Onze d'Argent: 1993
- 1993 Ballon d'Or: 4th place
- Croatian Footballer of the Year: 1993
- Middlesbrough Supporters' club player of the year: 2000–01
- Order of Danica Hrvatska with face of Franjo Bučar: 1995
- Order of the Croatian Trefoil: 1998
Bokšić married Ajda in 1990. The couple had three children (daughter Stella and sons Toni and Alen) before divorcing in 2000.
In 2004 from a relationship with girlfriend Jadranka Bokšić had another daughter Laura.
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- "Man Utd falter at Boro". BBC. 26 December 2002. Retrieved 28 December 2010.
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- CLAUDIO GIACCHINO (19 October 2010). "INTER È IN ARRIVO LA SUPERSFIDA". La Stampa (in Italian). p. 31. Retrieved 15 March 2017.
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- Chris Flanagan (11 January 2018). "Serie A in the '90s: when Baggio, Batistuta and Italian football ruled the world". FourFourTwo. Retrieved 13 January 2018.
- "METAMORFOSI BOKSIC ' QUI MI ALLENO AL GOL'" (in Italian). La Repubblica. 13 September 1996. Retrieved 14 January 2018.
- "BOKSIC, VELENO PER ZEMAN" (in Italian). La Repubblica. 11 June 1996. Retrieved 14 January 2017.
- Corrado Sannucci (9 April 1999). "Gol, l' aspettavo da un anno" (in Italian). La Repubblica. Retrieved 14 January 2018.
- Claudio Giacchino (19 October 1996). "Pagliuca: l'incubo è Boksic" (in Italian). La Stampa. p. 31.
- Fabio Vergnano (3 September 1996). "Boksic: non ho l'incubo-gol" (in Italian). La Stampa. p. 28.
- Marco Ansaldo (21 April 1997). "Juve, è Boksic l'arma in più" (in Italian). La Stampa. p. 26.
- Cancian, Dan (13 March 2019). "Alen Bokšić: the brilliant prototype built to play in another decade". thesefootballtimes.co. Retrieved 30 January 2020.
- Alen Bokšić at National-Football-Teams.com
- "Alen Bokšić » Club matches". worldfootball.net. Retrieved 7 January 2018.
- "France - Footballer of the Year". Archived from the original on 5 September 2015. Retrieved 16 October 2015.
- "ODLUKU KOJOM SE ODLIKUJU REDOM DANICE HRVATSKE S LIKOM FRANJE BUČARA" (in Croatian). hrvatska.poslovniforum.hr.
- "PREDSJEDNIK TUDJMAN ODLIKOVAO HRVATSKU NOGOMETNU REPREZENTACIJU" (in Croatian). hrt.hr. Archived from the original on 8 November 2016.
- Boksic u zagrljaju s djevojkom prosetao zagrebackom spicom; index.hr, 17 November 2010
- Nogometni leksikon (2004, in Croatian)