HNK Rijeka

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HNK Rijeka.svg
Full name Hrvatski Nogometni Klub Rijeka
Nickname(s) Riječki bijeli (Rijeka's Whites)
Short name RJK
Founded 29 July 1946; 71 years ago (1946-07-29), as Sportsko Društvo Kvarner / Società Sportiva Quarnero
Ground Stadion Rujevica
Ground Capacity 8,279[1]
Owner Damir Mišković, via Teanna Limited (70%)
City of Rijeka (30%)
Chairman Damir Mišković
Manager Matjaž Kek
League Prva HNL
2017–18 1. HNL, 2nd
Website Club website
Current season

Hrvatski Nogometni Klub Rijeka (English: Croatian Football Club Rijeka), commonly referred to as HNK Rijeka or simply Rijeka, is a Croatian football club from the city of Rijeka.

HNK Rijeka compete in Croatia's top division, HT Prva liga, of which they have been members since its foundation in 1992. During the reconstruction of Stadion Kantrida, their traditional home ground, Rijeka play their home matches at Stadion Rujevica. Rijeka's traditional home colours are all white.

The club was founded on 29 July 1946 as Sportsko Društvo Kvarner (Croatian) / Società Sportiva Quarnero (Italian).[2] The club's official name was changed to Nogometni Klub Rijeka on 2 July 1954.[3] In the summer of 1995, the club management added the adjective hrvatski (English: Croatian) to the official name. Rijeka are the third-most successful Croatian football club, having won one Croatian First Football League title, two Yugoslav Cups, four Croatian Football Cups, one Croatian Football Super Cup and the 1977–78 Balkans Cup.



The club was founded as SD Kvarner / SS Quarnero on 29 July 1946, after Rijeka (known by its Italian name Fiume until 1945) was ceded from Italy to Yugoslavia following the end of World War II. The club was named after the Bay of Kvarner and the broader Kvarner region, in which Rijeka is the administrative centre. The club's roots can be traced back to 1926, the founding of U.S. Fiumana, which competed at various levels of the Italian Football Championship, including a season in the top tier competition (Divisione Nazionale) in 1928. The two clubs used the same grounds (Stadion Kantrida) and eight U.S. Fiumana players later played for Kvarner.[4]


During the early period in Yugoslavia, Kvarner had moderate success in various Yugoslav and local club championships. They were relegated at the end of their inaugural season in the Yugoslav First League in 1946–47. Kvarner changed its name to NK Rijeka on 2 July 1954 and returned to the First League in 1958.[3] Rijeka remained in the top tier for 11 consecutive seasons until 1969, when they were once again relegated to the Yugoslav Second League.[3] Despite finishing on top in four (out of five) seasons in the second tier, due to three failed qualifying attempts, the club only gained promotion back to the top tier in 1974. With varying success, Rijeka remained in top tier until the breakup of Yugoslavia in 1991.[3] The club's greatest success during this period involved back-to-back Yugoslav Cup titles in 1978 and 1979. Rijeka were also a Cup runner-up in 1987, when they lost the final after a penalty shoot-out.[5] Rijeka never finished higher than the fourth place in the Yugoslav First League. In 1984, the club came closest to their first championship title, finishing only two points behind Red Star Belgrade. Rijeka were also the best placed Croatian club in the Yugoslav First League in 1965, 1984 and 1987.[6]

Rijeka in the 1. HNL[edit]

Following the breakup of Yugoslavia, in 1992 Rijeka joined the Croatian First Football League in its inaugural season. Rijeka remain one of only four founding member clubs to never have been relegated. In terms of greatest successes in this period, the club won its first-ever league title in 2017, ending Dinamo Zagreb's run of 11 successive titles.[7] Rijeka has also won four Croatian Cups, including back-to-back titles in 2005 and 2006, in 2014 and, most recently, in 2017, which helped them secure the historic Double.[8] In the final round of the 1998–99 season, a refereeing error denied Rijeka their first championship title. With one match to play, Rijeka were one point ahead of Croatia Zagreb, needing a home win against Osijek to secure the title. With the match tied at 1–1, in the 89th minute, Rijeka forward Admir Hasančić converted a cross by Barnabás Sztipánovics. However, moments later, assistant referee Krečak raised his flag and referee Šupraha disallowed Rijeka's winning goal for an alleged offside.[9] Following an investigation, 3D analysis revealed Hasančić was not, in fact, in an offside position, and that Rijeka were wrongfully denied their first championship title.[10][11] An investigation by Nacional revealed Franjo Tuđman, the president of the Republic of Croatia and an ardent Croatia Zagreb supporter, earlier in 1999 ordered the country's intelligence agencies to spy on football referees, officials and journalists, with the aim of ensuring the Zagreb club wins the league title.[12]


Rijeka participated in UEFA competitions on 18 occasions, including six consecutive appearances since 2013–14. The greatest success was the quarter-final of the 1979–80 European Cup Winners' Cup, where they lost to Italian giants Juventus 2–0 on aggregate.[13] The most memorable result in Europe was the home win (3–1) against eventual winners Real Madrid in the 1984–85 UEFA Cup.[14] Controversially, in the return leg at Santiago Bernabéu Stadium, which Rijeka lost 3–0, three of their players were sent off. Madrid scored their first goal from a doubtful penalty in the 67th minute with Rijeka already down to ten men. Over the next ten minutes, two additional Rijeka players were sent off, most notably Damir Desnica. While Desnica received the first yellow card because he did not stop play after Schoeters blew his whistle, the second yellow was issued because he allegedly insulted the referee. However, unbeknownst to the referee, Desnica had been a deaf-mute since birth.[6] With Rijeka reduced to eight players, Madrid scored two additional goals, progressed to the next round and eventually won the trophy.

In 2013, after winning 4–3 on aggregate against VfB Stuttgart, Rijeka qualified for the 2013–14 UEFA Europa League group stage.[15][16] Rijeka also participated in the 2014–15 UEFA Europa League group stage, where they defeated Feyenoord and Standard Liège and drew with title-holders and eventual winners Sevilla.[17][18][19] In 2017, Rijeka reached the 2017–18 UEFA Champions League play-off, where they lost 3–1 on aggregate to Greek champions Olympiacos, and automatically qualified for the 2017–18 UEFA Europa League group stage. In the group stage they recorded a famous home win (2–0) against AC Milan but once again failed to progress to the knockout stages.[20]

Private ownership[edit]

In February 2012, Gabriele Volpi – an Italian businessman and the founder of Orlean Invest, as well as the owner of football club Spezia and water polo club Pro Recco – injected much needed capital into the club. With the privatization process complete by September 2013, Volpi, through Dutch-based Stichting Social Sport Foundation, became the owner of 70% of the club, with the City of Rijeka in control of the remaining 30%.[21][22] On 29 December 2017 it was announced that Chairman Damir Mišković, through London-based Teanna Limited, acquired the majority stake in the club from Stichting Social Sport Foundation.[23][24]

Record transfer[edit]

In January 2015, Rijeka sold their star striker Andrej Kramarić to Leicester City for a club-record £9.7 million transfer fee.[25]


Until July 2015, Rijeka were based at Stadion Kantrida, their traditional home ground for over 60 years. With Kantrida awaiting demolition and reconstruction, since August 2015, Rijeka have been based at the newly-built Stadion Rujevica, an all-seater with the capacity of 8,279. Stadion Rujevica is part of Rijeka's new training centre and serves as the club's temporary home ground. Following the demolition of old Kantrida, a new, state of the art, 14,600 all-seater stadium will be built at the same location. In addition to the stadium, the investors are planning to build a commercial complex that will include a shopping mall and a hotel.[26]


During most home matches, the majority of the seats are occupied by season ticket holders. For the 2017–18 season the club has more than 5,500 season ticket holders and over 8,300 members.

Rijeka's ultras group are called Armada Rijeka, or simply Armada. The group has been active since 1987.


Rijeka's greatest rivalry is with Hajduk Split. Since 1946, the Adriatic derby is contested between the two most popular Croatian football clubs from the Adriatic coast, Rijeka and Hajduk. Other rivalries exist with Dinamo Zagreb and, at the regional level, with Istra Pula. The origins of the Rijeka–Pula rivalry date back to the clashes between Fiumana and Grion Pola since the late 1920s.

Kit manufacturers and shirt sponsors[edit]

Period Kit manufacturer Shirt partner
1998–1999 Adidas INA
1999–2002 Kronos
2002–2003 Torpedo
2003–2004 Lero
2004–2005 Legea
2005–2006 INA
2006–2008 Kappa Croatia Osiguranje
2008–2012 Jako
2012–2014 Lotto  –
2014–2016 Jako
2017–2018 Sava Osiguranje
2018– Joma


First-team squad[edit]

As of 17 June 2018[27]

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
1 Nigeria GK David Samuel Nwolokor
4 Croatia DF Roberto Punčec
6 Portugal DF João Escoval
7 Bosnia and Herzegovina MF Zoran Kvržić
8 Republic of Macedonia DF Leonard Zuta
9 Brazil FW Héber
10 Bulgaria FW Valeri Bojinov
11 Slovenia FW Matic Črnic
12 Croatia GK Simon Sluga
13 Croatia DF Dario Župarić
14 Ghana MF Boadu Maxwell Acosty
15 Bosnia and Herzegovina MF Srđan Grahovac (on loan from Astana)
16 Croatia MF Adrian Liber
17 Croatia FW Antonio Čolak (on loan from 1899 Hoffenheim)
No. Position Player
20 Austria FW Alexander Gorgon
21 Croatia FW Jakov Puljić
22 Croatia FW Filip Dangubić
23 Croatia FW Josip Mitrović
24 Croatia MF Domagoj Pavičić
25 Croatia GK Ivor Pandur
28 Croatia MF Filip Bradarić (captain)
29 Montenegro DF Momčilo Raspopović
31 Croatia MF Luka Capan
32 Croatia GK Andrej Prskalo (vice-captain)
Bosnia and Herzegovina MF Stjepan Lončar
Croatia DF Petar Mamić
Austria DF Mario Pavelić
Republic of Macedonia DF Darko Velkovski

Out on loan[edit]

As of 19 June 2018

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
Croatia DF Daniel Štefulj (at Slovenia Krško)
Bosnia and Herzegovina MF Jasmin Čeliković (at Croatia Inter Zaprešić)
Republic of Macedonia FW Milan Ristovski (at Slovenia Krško)
Croatia FW Tomislav Turčin (at Bosnia and Herzegovina Široki Brijeg)
Croatia FW Matej Vuk (at Croatia Inter Zaprešić)

Other players under contract[edit]

As of 17 June 2018

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
Nigeria GK Ayotunde Ikuepamitan
Croatia GK Ivan Nevistić
Nigeria DF Bamidele Samuel Ayodeji
Australia DF Jason Davidson
Nigeria DF Muhammed Kabiru
No. Position Player
Croatia MF Dario Čanađija
Nigeria MF Gerald Diyoke
Croatia MF Tomislav Gomelt
Croatia MF Bernardo Matić
Croatia MF Matej Šantek

Youth system[edit]

Club officials and technical staff[edit]

Position Staff
Chairman Croatia Damir Mišković
Vice-chairman Croatia Dean Šćulac
Croatia Zlatan Hreljac
Managing director Croatia Vlado Čohar
Administrative director Croatia Marina Vela
Director of finance Croatia Marina Cesarac Dorčić
Director of communications Croatia Alen Fućak
Director of football Croatia Srećko Juričić
Director of football (assistant) Croatia Ivan Mance
Academy director Croatia Edo Flego
Club secretary Croatia Milica Alavanja
Press secretary Croatia Sandra Nešić
Power of attorney Croatia Vlatko Vrkić
Manager Slovenia Matjaž Kek
Assistant manager Croatia Danko Matrljan
Croatia Vjekoslav Miletić
Team manager Croatia Alen Rivetti
Performance analyst Croatia Rade Ljepojević
Chief scout Croatia Ranko Buketa
Fitness coach Croatia Aris Naglić
Goalkeeping coach Croatia Gojko Mrčela
Team doctor Croatia Nataša Bakarčić
Croatia Boban Dangubić
Physiotherapist Croatia Igor Pavačić
Croatia Alen Ilić
Croatia Enio Krajač
Rehabilitation coach Croatia Luka Brkljača
Kit manager Croatia Kosovo Rustem Gashi

Last updated: 6 February 2018
Source:Club officials

Notable players[edit]

To appear in this section a player must have satisfied all of the following three criteria:

Source: Appearances and Goals. Last updated 8 May 2018.

All-time Best 11[edit]

According to a 2005–07 survey of former players (older than 40 years of age) and respected journalists, Marinko Lazzarich found that the best all-time team of Rijeka is as follows:

1. Jantoljak, 2. Milevoj, 3. Hrstić, 4. Radaković, 5. Radin, 6. Juričić, 7. Lukarić, 8. Gračan, 9. Osojnak, 10. Naumović, 11. Desnica.[28]

Rijeka's daily, Novi list, in 2011 declared the following 11 players as Rijeka's best all time team:

1. Jantoljak, 2. Šarić, 3. Radin, 4. Juričić, 5. Hrstić, 6. Loik, 7. Radaković, 8. Mladenović, 9. Naumović, 10. Skoblar, 11. Desnica.[29]


Source: Presidents and managers

Winning managers[edit]

Name Nationality Honours Total
Matjaž Kek
2013–14 Croatian Cup, 2014 Croatian Super Cup, 2016–17 Croatian First League, 2016–17 Croatian Cup
Dragutin Spasojević
1977–78 Yugoslav Cup, 1977–78 Balkans Cup
Marijan Brnčić
1978–79 Yugoslav Cup
Elvis Scoria
2004–05 Croatian Cup
Dragan Skočić
2005–06 Croatian Cup


Source: Presidents and managers

Seasons, statistics and records[edit]


Rijeka has won one Croatian First Football League title, two Yugoslav Cups and four Croatian Cups. In European competitions, the club has reached the quarter-final of the Cup Winners' Cup in 1979–80, UEFA Cup Round of 32 in 1984–85, and group stages of the UEFA Europa League in 2013–14, 2014–15 and 2017–18. The club has also won the 1977–78 Balkans Cup.[30]




Unofficial competitions

Source: Soccerway, Last updated 31 May 2017.


UEFA club coefficient ranking[edit]

(As of 3 May 2018), Source: Bert Kassies website

Rank Team Points
86 England Southampton F.C. 15.921
86 England Swansea City A.F.C. 15.921
86 England Wigan Athletic F.C. 15.921
86 England West Ham United F.C. 15.921
86 England Hull City F.C. 15.921
91 Croatia HNK Rijeka 15.500
92 Italy Atalanta B.C. 15.249
92 Italy U.C. Sampdoria 15.249
92 Italy U.S. Sassuolo Calcio 15.249
92 Italy Torino F.C. 15.249
92 Italy Udinese Calcio 15.249

European record[edit]

By competition[edit]

Competition Pld W D L GF GA Last season played
UEFA Champions League 8 2 2 4 10 11 2017–18
UEFA Cup / UEFA Europa League 54 21 14 19 82 69 2018–19
UEFA Cup Winners' Cup 10 3 3 4 8 9 1979–80
UEFA Intertoto Cup 4 1 1 2 3 5 2008
Total 76 27 20 29 103 94

Source:, Last updated on 7 December 2017.
Pld = Matches played; W = Matches won; D = Matches drawn; L = Matches lost; GF = Goals for; GA = Goals against. Defunct competitions indicated in italics.

By ground[edit]

Ground Pld W D L GF GA GD
Home 38 20 10 8 63 37 +26
Away 38 7 10 21 40 57 −17
Total 76 27 20 29 103 94 +9

Source:, Last updated on 7 December 2017.
Pld = Matches played; W = Matches won; D = Matches drawn; L = Matches lost; GF = Goals for; GA = Goals against.

By season[edit]

Non-UEFA competitions are listed in italics.

Last updated on 7 December 2017.
Note: List includes matches played in competitions not endorsed by UEFA.
Matches played at neutral ground in Ascoli and Pisa, Italy.

Player records[edit]


  1. ^ "Stadion HNK Rijeka". Soccerway. Retrieved 11 August 2017. 
  2. ^ Lazzarich, Marinko (2014). "Stoljetno iščitavanje povijesti pod stijenama riječkoga sportskog hrama". Problemi sjevernog Jadrana (in Croatian). Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts (13): 47–76. Retrieved 6 August 2016. 
  3. ^ a b c d HNK Rijeka. "Povijest" (in Croatian). HNK Rijeka official website. Archived from the original on 15 February 2015. Retrieved 22 February 2015. 
  4. ^ "Split slavi, Zagreb izmišlja, Opatija ne zna, a Rijeka se srami" (in Croatian). RijekaDanas. 26 April 2011. Retrieved 2 March 2012. 
  5. ^ Puric, Bojan; Schöggl, Hans; Stokkermans, Karel (8 May 2014). "Yugoslavia/Serbia and Montenegro – Cup Finals". Rec.Sport.Soccer Statistics Foundation. Retrieved 8 May 2014. 
  6. ^ a b Vivoda, Vlado (16 July 2014). "HNK Rijeka: The Rise of the Phoenix". Retrieved 20 November 2015. 
  7. ^ "Rijeka win Croatian league to end Dinamo dominance". Eurosport. 21 May 2017. Retrieved 22 May 2017. 
  8. ^ Stokkermans, Karel (26 September 2014). "Croatia – Cup Finals". Rec.Sport.Soccer Statistics Foundation. Retrieved 26 September 2014. 
  9. ^ "Rijeka-Osijek 1:1" (in Croatian). 26 May 1999. Retrieved 30 January 2016. 
  10. ^ Vidalina, Marko (1 June 2009). "Dokaz! Rijeci 1999. naslov prvaka definitivno ukraden" (in Croatian). 24 sata. Retrieved 30 January 2016. 
  11. ^ Bajruši, Robert (13 August 2002). "Dokumenti koji otkrivaju kako je Dinamo 1999. ukrao prvenstvo" (in Croatian). Nacional. Retrieved 30 January 2016. 
  12. ^ Bajruši, Robert (13 August 2002). "Dokumenti koji otkrivaju kako je Dinamo 1999. ukrao prvenstvo" (in Croatian). Nacional. Retrieved 30 January 2016. 
  13. ^ Stokkermans, Karel (9 January 2008). "Cup Winners' Cup 1979–80". Rec.Sport.Soccer Statistics Foundation. Retrieved 9 January 2008. 
  14. ^ "24.10.1984: Rijeka – Real Madrid 3:1" (in Croatian). Armada Rijeka. Retrieved 24 October 2012. 
  15. ^ Volarić, Ivan. "Velika noć na Kantridi: Benko, Kvržić i Vargić za povijest" (in Croatian). Novi list. Retrieved 22 August 2013. 
  16. ^ Volarić, Ivan; Rivetti, Orlando. "Stuttgart – Rijeka 2:2, bijeli u Europskoj ligi" (in Croatian). Novi list. Retrieved 29 August 2013. 
  17. ^ Volarić, Ivan. "Hat trick za povijesnu pobjedu u Europskoj ligi: Kramarić – Feyenoord 3:1" (in Croatian). Novi list. Retrieved 23 October 2014. 
  18. ^ Volarić, Ivan. "Blago nama, Moises i Krama: Bijeli u pola sata pomeli Standard" (in Croatian). Novi list. Retrieved 27 November 2014. 
  19. ^ Volarić, Ivan. "Peh u sudačkoj nadoknadi: Sevilla u posljednjim sekundama iščupala bod na Kantridi" (in Croatian). Novi list. Retrieved 2 October 2014. 
  20. ^ Volarić, Ivan (7 December 2017). "POBJEDA ZA POVIJEST Rijeka skinula još jedan veliki skalp, na Rujevici pao veliki AC Milan (2:0)" (in Croatian). Novi list. Retrieved 8 December 2017. 
  21. ^ "Rijeka postala sportsko dioničko društvo: Volpi dao 54 milijuna kuna za 70 posto vlasništva" (in Croatian). 30 September 2013. Retrieved 12 October 2013. 
  22. ^ "Ownership". Retrieved 20 November 2015. 
  23. ^ "HNK Rijeka od petka u vlasništvu Teanna limited" (in Croatian). 29 December 2017. Retrieved 30 December 2017. 
  24. ^ Rogulj, Daniela (29 December 2017). "Damir Mišković and Teanna Limited New Owner of NK Rijeka". Total Croatia News. Retrieved 30 December 2017. 
  25. ^ "Andrej Kramaric set to complete £9.7m move to Leicester from Rijeka". ESPN. 8 January 2015. Retrieved 26 April 2015. 
  26. ^ Official Project Website
  27. ^ "1. momčad" (in Croatian). HNK Rijeka. Retrieved 13 February 2018. 
  28. ^ Lazzarich, Marinko (2008) (in Croatian). Kantrida bijelih snova. Rijeka: Adamić. ISBN 978-953-219-393-0, p. 467.
  29. ^ Cvijanović, Marko (29 August 2011). "Asevi s Kantride: Idealna momčad Rijeke". Novi List (in Croatian). Retrieved 2 March 2012. 
  30. ^ Stokkermans, Karel; Ionescu, Romeo (29 July 2010). "Balkan Cup". Rec.Sport.Soccer Statistics Foundation. Retrieved 29 July 2010. 
  31. ^ a b "Rijeka profile". Retrieved 23 August 2017. 

External links[edit]