Branko Ivanković

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Branko Ivanković
Persepolis-Padideh 20190206 03.jpg
Ivanković pictured in February 2019
Personal information
Full name Branko Ivanković
Date of birth (1954-02-28) 28 February 1954 (age 65)
Place of birth Varaždin, FPR Yugoslavia
Height 1.81 m (5 ft 11 in)
Playing position Attacking midfielder
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1979–1990 Varteks 269 (83)
Teams managed
1991–1995 Varteks
1995–1996 Segesta
1996–1998 Rijeka
1998–1999 Croatia (assistant)
1999–2000 Hannover 96
2001–2002 Iran (assistant)
2002–2003 Iran U23
2002–2006 Iran
2006–2008 Dinamo Zagreb
2009–2011 Shandong Luneng
2011–2012 Ettifaq
2012–2013 Al-Wahda
2013 Dinamo Zagreb
2015–2019 Persepolis
2019 Al-Ahli
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

Branko Ivanković (pronounced [brâːŋko ǐʋaːŋkoʋitɕ];[1][2] born 28 February 1954) is a Croatian professional football manager and former player who last managed Al-Ahli Saudi FC. After a 12-year playing career at Varteks Varaždin, Ivanković started his coaching career at the same club in 1991. He led the Iranian national team at the 2006 World Cup.

Playing career[edit]

Ivanković spent his entire 12-season playing career at Varteks Varaždin, appearing in a total of 263 matches[3] and scoring 31 goals. He then continued to work at the club by first being their secretary and then starting his coaching career.

Managing career[edit]

He was the head coach of Varteks Varaždin between 1991 and 1995. He then moved for one season to Segesta Sisak, and went on to coach Rijeka in the 1996–97 season.

Croatian national team[edit]

Ivanković then became the assistant coach to Ćiro Blažević, who led the Croatian national team to a sensational third-place finish at the 1998 FIFA World Cup finals in France.[4]

In the 1999–2000 season, he coached German club Hannover 96, which was playing in the 2. Bundesliga at the time. He briefly returned to the Croatian national team as the assistant to Mirko Jozić during the qualifications for the 2002 FIFA World Cup, before he took over the Iranian national team where he replaced Blažević, who had managed them since 2001.

Iranian national team[edit]

Ivanković was appointed to the head of the Iranian team on 29 January 2002. Under Ivanković, Iran's U23 football team won the 2002 Asian Games in Pusan.[5] He remained the coach of the national team until the end of 2002, when he was replaced by Homayun Shahrokhi.[5]

Branko Ivanković during a Persepolis match

Ivanković had become very popular in Iran and the public media demanded a contract renewal, but the Football Federation was initially reluctant to appoint him as the head coach. Finally after a period of negotiations he was reappointed as the head coach of Iran on 3 October 2003.[5]

Ivankovic led Iran to 2004 AFC Asian Cup third place.[6] They lost only to the hosts, China, via penalties in a very controversial match in which the Chinese somehow avoided multiple red cards.[citation needed]

Ivanković also led Iran to qualify for the 2006 World Cup, the third time in the country's history (they had previously been eliminated in the first round in 1978 and 1998).[6]

Despite him being the most successful coach of the Iranian National Team in terms of winning percentage, Ivanković was not liked by the Iranian government who deliberately tried to replace him with a native coach. The Organization for Physical Education which is a governmental watchdog on sports, tried to replace the coach before the World cup in Germany, however the Iranian Football Federation resisted the pressure and kept Ivanković for the 2006 FIFA World Cup.

World Cup 2006[edit]

Iran, at their opening game at the World Cup, showed a scintillating first half performance against Mexico, but conceded two goals. The second match against Portugal was not successful either, with Iran conceding two late goals to lose 2–0 and being left without any chances of advancing to the second stage of the tournament, as Mexico drew against Angola on the previous evening and left Iran unreachable four points behind. So, the third group match against Angola became insignificant for Iran. Angola put themselves into the lead with the opening goal after one hour of playing. The Iranians managed to equalise fifteen minutes later, eventually scoring their only point at the 2006 World Cup since the match ended in a 1–1 draw. This point was, however, only enough for Iran to occupy the last place in their group.

After the World Cup, MPE removed the Head of the Football federation of Iran, replacing Branko Ivanković with Amir Qalenoei.[7] This in turn resulted a FIFA suspension for Iran's football due to political interference.[8]

Dinamo Zagreb[edit]

On 6 November 2006, Ivanković replaced Josip Kuže as the head coach of Croatian club Dinamo Zagreb. He led the club to the Double in 2007 without losing a single competitive match. On 14 January 2008, Branko resigned as a coach of Dinamo mostly due to his differences with the club's executive vice-president Zdravko Mamić.[9]

Ivanković returned as manager of Dinamo Zagreb on 21 May 2008. He is replacing Zvonimir Soldo, who resigned immediately after Dinamo won the domestic double.[10]

In July 2009, Ivanković was offered the role of Persepolis manager in Iran, but he rejected the offer.[11][12]

Shandong Luneng[edit]

On 17 December 2009, Ivanković was appointed as the new head coach of Chinese giant Shandong Luneng.[4] In his first season, he led the team to the 2010 Chinese Super League winners with a record 63 points. The team secured the qualification for 2011 AFC Champions League. But Shandong were eliminated in the first round with 7 points. Due to poor result in the Champions League, he was dismissed on 10 May 2011 seven days before crucial game with Cerezo Osaka 0–4.


On 22 July 2011, Ivanković signed a one-year contract with Ettifaq to lead club in 2011–12 Saudi Professional League and return club to the AFC Champions League.[13] He was sacked on 29 April 2012 after finishing the 2011–12 season in fourth.[14]

Al Wahda[edit]

In May 2012, UAE Pro-League side Al-Wahda said it signed a two-year contract with Ivanković and that he would take charge at the club in the 2012–13 season but his contract was terminated on 27 April 2013 after a 3–4 loss to Ajman Club.[15] At the time of his dismissal, Al Wahda was ranked at the 7th place.

Return to Dinamo Zagreb[edit]

On 2 September 2013, Ivanković returned to Dinamo Zagreb, the club he led from 2006 to 2008. However, he was sacked on 21 October 2013 after just five games.[16]


Ivanković in training with Persepolis at Derafshifar Stadium, 3 October 2015

On 5 April 2015, Ivanković was confirmed as new manager of Persepolis, signing a 1½-year contract with the club.[17] After good performances with the club, which left the team in first place with six matches remaining, Ivanković extended his contract with Persepolis in April 2016 to the end of the 2017–18 season and in 2017 to the end of the 2019–20 season. After the end of the 2018–19 season, it was reported that he was signed for Ahli Jeddah[18] before returning to Croatia for his annual vacation. Ivanković announced that he will leave Persepolis on 11 June 2019.[19]


On 18 June 2019, he was confirmed signing a two-year contract with Al-Ahli.[20] On 16 September 2019, he was officially sacked after just five games due to poor results.[21][22]


As of 14 September 2019.[23]
Team From To Record
G W D L Win % GF GA +/-
NK Varaždin July 1991 June 1995 116 44 34 38 037.93 153 130 +23
HNK Rijeka 1996 1997 30 13 7 10 043.33 44 32 +23
Hannover 96 July 1999 February 2000 34 12 8 14 035.29 56 56 0
Iran February 2002 September 2002 14 4 8 2 028.57 16 12 +4
Iran U-23 September 2002 October 2002 6 4 2 0 066.67 16 2 +14
Iran October 2003 July 2006 42 28 7 7 066.67 101 40 +61
Dinamo Zagreb November 2006 January 2008 110 78 14 18 070.91 218 117 +101
Shandong Luneng April 2010 July 2011 36 21 10 5 058.33 67 42 +25
Ettifaq July 2011 April 2012 42 18 12 12 042.86 68 52 +16
Al-Wahda July 2012 April 2013 34 18 3 13 052.94 63 49 +14
Dinamo Zagreb September 2013 October 2013 5 2 1 2 040.00 3 7 −4
Persepolis April 2015 June 2019 175 98 49 28 056.00 249 126 +123
Al-Ahli June 2019 September 2019 5 2 1 2 040.00 7 8 –1
Total 643 343 150 150 53.34 1,059 670 +389


Assistant coach[edit]



Iran U23
Dinamo Zagreb
Shandong Luneng
Branko receiving IFF best manager award



  1. ^ "brániti". Hrvatski jezični portal (in Serbo-Croatian). Retrieved 17 March 2018. Brȃnko
  2. ^ "Ìvan". Hrvatski jezični portal (in Serbo-Croatian). Retrieved 17 March 2018. Ìvānković
  3. ^ "Ivanković za Index: Spreman sam, radim taj posao 12 godina". (in Croatian). 16 July 2006. Retrieved 13 September 2011.
  4. ^ a b "Iran's former football coach Branko Ivankovic takes over at Shandong". Daily News and Analysis. Reuters. 17 December 2009. Retrieved 6 September 2011.
  5. ^ a b c "Ivanković ponovno izbornik Irana" (in Croatian). 1 October 2003. Retrieved 13 September 2011.
  6. ^ a b "Iran – Group D". World Cup 2006. Retrieved 13 September 2011.
  7. ^ "Iran replace Ivankovic with league winner". The Times (Malta). Reuters. 18 June 2006. Retrieved 13 September 2011.
  8. ^ "FIFA suspends Iran Football Federation". 23 November 2006. Archived from the original on 26 October 2008. Retrieved 13 September 2011.
  9. ^ "Zdravko Mamić izvrijeđao i otjerao Branka Ivankovića!" (in Croatian).
  10. ^ "Ivankovic returns as Dinamo Zagreb coach". ESPN Soccernet. 21 May 2008. Retrieved 21 May 2008.
  11. ^ "Ook Rijsbergen in beeld bij Persepolis" (in Dutch). Goal.Com. 12 July 2009. Retrieved 17 July 2009.
  12. ^ "Croatia's Branko snubs Persepolis F.C. offer". Tehran Times. 13 July 2009. Retrieved 17 July 2009.
  13. ^ Branko Ivanković becomes head coach of Saudi Al-Itifaq FC
  14. ^ "Branko Ivanković Sacked From Ettifaq FC And May Join Al Wahda". Kabir News. Retrieved 1 May 2012.
  15. ^ "الوحدة يقيل برانكو" (in Arabic). 27 April 2013.
  16. ^ "Dinamo turn to familiar face of Ivanković".
  17. ^ "PressTV-Persepolis picks Branko as new coach".
  18. ^ "الأهلي يتفق مع المدرب الكرواتي برانكو". جريدة الرياض (in Arabic).
  19. ^ "Ivanković: "Iako sam siguran da će Persepolis isplatiti sve što duguje, napuštam Iran ovog ljeta"". Sportnet (in Croatian).
  20. ^ Club, Al-Ahli Saudi (18 June 2019). "Branko Ivankovic is the new manager of the first football team after signing a 2-year contract".
  21. ^ Club, Al-Ahli Saudi (16 September 2019). "Al-Ahli terminates Ivankovic's contract". @ALAHLI_FCEN.
  22. ^ "Službeno: Branko Ivanković dobio otkaz na klupi saudijskog prvoligaša". (in Croatian).
  23. ^ "Branko Ivanković".