Bišćan with Dinamo Zagreb in 2008
|Full name||Igor Bišćan|
|Date of birth||4 May 1978|
|Place of birth||Zagreb, SR Croatia, SFR Yugoslavia|
|Height||1.90 m (6 ft 3 in)|
|Playing position||Defender / Midfielder|
|1995–1996||→ Samobor (loan)||12||(1)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
Igor Bišćan (pronounced [i:ɡor biʃ:t͡ɕan]; born 4 May 1978) is a Croatian former professional footballer and manager who currently manages Druga HNL club NK Rudeš. In his playing career, he was a versatile player and could play almost every position in the defence or midfield, but featured mostly as a central midfielder, or as a central defender in his latter years.
Bišćan played for his hometown club Dinamo Zagreb, the English team Liverpool, with whom he won a Champions League winners medal, Greek side Panathinaikos and represented Croatia at the international level, debuting in UEFA Euro 2000 qualifying match against Macedonia on 13 June 1999.
At the start of his career, Bišćan began to amass an impressive level of playing experience, representing Croatia at youth football level and then captaining his club, Dinamo Zagreb, in the UEFA Champions League and the UEFA Cup. He was part of what is considered the most successful era of Dinamo Zagreb in Prva HNL, winning two consecutive league titles, in 1999 and 2000, and participating in two consecutive group stages of Champions League (Group A, 1998–99 and Group D, 1999–2000). During his four seasons in Croatia, Bišćan bagged eleven goals in 84 appearances in domestic leagues, which brought attention of foreign clubs to promising midfielder.
On 8 December 2000, his contract was bought by Liverpool manager Gérard Houllier for £5.5 million, having been sought by Juventus, Barcelona, Ajax and Milan. His debut came in a Premier League match against Ipswich Town, which Liverpool lost 1–0, with Bišćan coming off the bench to replace Christian Ziege in 71st minute. A week later he played full 90 minutes against Manchester United at Old Trafford, with Liverpool breaking 3,240 minutes of United's undefeated run at their home ground by defeating them 1–0. He made an impressive start to his Liverpool career, briefly displacing Dietmar Hamann from the starting eleven as the defensive midfielder. He notched up 21 appearances by the end of the 2000–01 season, of which he started in 15 and came off the bench in another 6 matches. His scored his first goal for Liverpool on 14 January 2001, bagging a goal in 18th minute of the 2000–01 League Cup match against Crystal Palace in a 5–0 victory. Unfortunately for Bišćan, he was cup–tied and therefore ineligible to play for Liverpool in their UEFA Cup winning season.
Although Bišćan was originally signed as a central midfielder, Gérard Houllier felt he was more useful as centre back and often played Bišćan out of his natural position, sometimes even as a winger or full back. Bišćan fell out of favour after his first year at Liverpool, capping only 23 appearances in the next two seasons. During his time he made few starts and spent a total of 37 matches on the bench without being used as a substitute. A major injury crisis of the team in 2003–04 season gave Bišćan a comeback chance, and by the start of the new Premier League season he was returned into the first eleven, featuring regularly as a centre-back in the absences of Stéphane Henchoz and Jamie Carragher. By the end of the season Bišćan featured in 39 matches, of which 30 he played until full-time. He was sent–off in 36th minute of Liverpool's UEFA Cup second leg match against Marseille, which turned things around for Liverpool as they were eliminated from the competition, after which he struggled to regain his place.
In 2004–05 season, he returned to a central midfield role and played a vital part in Liverpool's run to the finals of the Champions League and was notable particularly for his marauding runs from midfield during matches against Bayer Leverkusen, Juventus and Chelsea. He was an unused substitute against Milan in the final, but still got a winner's medal. His last official match for the Reds was on 15 May 2005, in a Premier League clash against Aston Villa. During his last season Bišćan scored two more goals (against Fulham and Bolton) and made a total of 35 appearances. Although Bišćan failed to live up to expectations, he is fondly remembered by Liverpool fans after his impressive final year at the club.
Following his contract termination with the Reds, on 15 June 2005, Bišćan signed for major Greek club, Panathinaikos. During his two years in Athens he made 36 appearances and scored 3 goals. Unfortunately, Bišćan had a huge decline in game, disappointing both the fans and the club owners. On 1 June 2007, Bišćan's contract expired and the club showed no interest in renewing his contract, so he was free-agent once again.
Return to Dinamo Zagreb
The next six months Bišćan spent resting from football and mostly avoiding the huge public interest shown for him. He was constantly approached by Dinamo Zagreb director Zdravko Mamić, who was interested in bringing Bišćan back to his home club. After months of negotiations, Bišćan finally signed contract on 3 December 2007. Although he was criticized for his lacking performances by the fans, Bišćan rose to become the captain of the club after the departure of Luka Modrić to Tottenham Hotspur. Following his return Dinamo played for two consecutive seasons in UEFA Cup group stages, also winning two domestic league titles and two Croatian Cup titles.
On 19 April 2011 it was announced by unconfirmed reports that Bišćan has been scheduled for an operation on a joint that could spell the end of his career. Luckily, Igor Bišćan decided to continue playing football and end his career at Dinamo Zagreb. In April 2012, he terminated his contract with the club.
Bišćan's debut appearance for Croatia came on a UEFA Euro 2000 qualifying match against Macedonia in Skopje on 13 June 1999. He scored his first and only international goal against Mexico on 16 June 1999. He also collected yellow cards on three occasions. Eleven out of fifteen Croatia's matches Bišćan featured in have finished by a draw. His last official match was against Scotland on 1 September 2001. After leaving the national team camp in 2003, Bišćan has been suspended by Croatian Football Federation and has refused to play for the national team ever since, although he has not yet announced his retirement, leaving chance that he might accept invitation to national team in the future. He also represented Croatia at the under–21 level and was capped in the Croatia B team on one occasion.
|Club performance||League||Cup||League Cup||Continental||Total|
|Croatia||League||Croatian Cup||League Cup||Europe||Total|
|England||League||FA Cup||League Cup||Europe||Total|
|Greece||League||Greek Cup||League Cup||Europe||Total|
|2005–06||Panathinaikos||Super League Greece||20||3||6||0||26||3|
|Croatia||League||Croatian Cup||League Cup||Europe||Total|
|2007–08||Dinamo Zagreb||Prva HNL||9||0||5||1||0||0||14||1|
- 1 Featured in the 2001 FA Charity Shield.
|1.||16 June 1999||Seoul World Cup Stadium, Seoul, Korea||Mexico||
- NK Samobor
- Croatian Second League (1): 1995–96 (West)
- Dinamo Zagreb
- Football League Cup (1): 2000–01
- Community Shield (1): 2001
- European Super Cup (1): 2001
- UEFA Champions League (1): 2004–05
- "Biscan is a £5.5m 'double risk'". BBC Sport. 8 December 2000. Retrieved 13 April 2008.
- "After 3,240 minutes, 296 fouls, 28 bookings and 133 goals, United lose at Old Trafford". Guardian Newspapers Limited 2000. 17 December 2000. Retrieved 11 August 2009.
- "Red-hot Liverpool steam through". BBC. 24 January 2001. Retrieved 1 September 2009.
- "Fulham 2–4 Liverpool". BBC. 16 October 2004. Retrieved 15 September 2009.
- "Liverpool 1–0 Bolton". BBC. 2 April 2005. Retrieved 15 September 2009.
- "Bišćan igra očajno, navijači mu zvižde svaki put kad dotakne loptu" (in Croatian). index.hr. 26 October 2006. Retrieved 9 September 2009.
- ZNS Glasnik 13 (2012)
- National team appearances statistics at sportnet.hr
- Career statistics at Nogometni Magazin Archived 16 December 2009 at the Wayback Machine.
- Career statistics at Dinamo Zagreb's official website
- Career statistics at lfchistory.net
- Igor Bišćan at National-Football-Teams.com