Luka Bonačić

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Luka Bonačić
Luka Bonačić.jpg
Bonačić in 2017
Personal information
Full name Luka Bonačić
Date of birth (1955-03-21) 21 March 1955 (age 65)
Place of birth Split, FPR Yugoslavia
Playing position(s) Midfielder
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1971–1974 Hajduk Split 45 (8)
1973–1974Šibenik (loan) 15 (2)
1974–1975 Grasshopper Zürich 13 (4)
1976–1978 Maribor 9 (0)
1977–1978Hajduk Split (loan) 0 (0)
1979–1980 VfL Bochum 10 (0)
1980–1981 Málaga 22 (5)
1981–1982 Hajduk Split 7 (0)
1983–1984 Šibenik 10 (1)
1985 Footscray JUST 9 (3)
1986 Melbourne Croatia 0 (0)
Teams managed
1988–1989 Central United
1991–1992 Dubrovnik
1992–1993 Pazinka
1993–1994 Zadar
1994–1995 Neretva
1995–1996 Varteks
1996 Rijeka
1996–1997 Osijek
1997–1998 Hajduk Split
1998–1999 Slaven Belupo
1999–2000 GOŠK Dubrovnik
2000 Varteks
2000–2001 Mura
2001–2002 Hrvatski dragovoljac
2002–2003 Šibenik
2003–2004 Foolad
2004–2005 Esteghlal Ahvaz
2005 Dinamo Tirana
2006 Hajduk Split
2006–2008 Sepahan
2008–2009 Al-Nasr Dubai
2009 Foolad
2009–2010 Mes Kerman
2010–2011 Gostaresh
2011 Sepahan
2012 NK Zagreb
2013 Mes Kerman
2013–2014 Zob Ahan
2014 Mes Kerman
2014–2016 Al-Shahania
2016 Al Ahli
2017 Gostaresh
2017–2018 Al-Arabi
2019–2020 Varaždin
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

Luka Bonačić (pronounced [lûːka bɔ̌natʃitɕ]; born 21 March 1955) is a Croatian football coach and former professional player who was most recently the manager of Varaždin in the Croatian First Football League.

Early life[edit]

He was born in Split, Croatia that was then part of Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. He began his football career at the Split Football Academy. He joined Hajduk Split in 1969 when he was 14.

Playing career[edit]

He signed a pro contract with Hajduk in 1971. He made 45 games for club and scored eight goals. He joined Grasshopper Club Zürich in 1979, but after one year he transferred to VfL Bochum. CD Málaga and Footscray JUST were Bonačić's next clubs. He retired after playing for Melbourne Croatia in 1986. He was called up for the Croatian national team in 1982 but never played.

Coaching career[edit]

Bonačić is known as coach who gives young talented players a chance. In the 1992–93 season, when he was NK Pazinka coach, he launched the career of Dado Prso, the former Rangers and Monaco striker. Also whilst at Slaven Belupo, he started the career of young central defender Ivica Križanac who currently plays for FC Zenit in Russia.

He was selected as Croatian Coach of the Year in 1996 when he reached the final of the Croatian Cup with middle-class Croatian club NK Varteks. In 1996, he won with Varteks against Dinamo Zagreb 4–3.[citation needed]

Thanks to his success with NK Varteks Varazdin, in the 1997–98 season he became head coach of top Croatian club Hajduk Split. Soon after Bonačić's appointment, however, the management board named coach Tomislav Ivić as Bonačić's assistant. Ivić preferred defensive football and young coach Bonačić preferred attacking football. As a result, the team had a conflict of tactics.

After ten match days, Hajduk had won nine and lost only one match which made them leading the Croatian Championship with eight points advantage ahead of second ranking Dinamo Zagreb. The management board of Hajduk Split (controlled by Franjo Tuđman's assistants) decided to fire Bonačić and promoted Ivić to head coach. After two months, Hajduk had lost many points under Ivić and the management sacked him and asked Bonačić to return. Bonačić returned, but due to the points lost under Ivić, he could only manage a respectable second behind Dinamo Zagreb.

Bonačić is known as coach who doesn't like officials of clubs to decide which player will be in the starting eleven. On a few occasions he has left Croatian and foreign clubs when some presidents of clubs have tried to impose him which players "must" play in the first team. In 2006, he was attacked by a group of people whilst returning to his flat in Split.[citation needed] Bonačić claimed that agents of players which were only substitute during his stay at Hajduk because he thought that their quality was not enough good were behind the attack.[1] A few months after this incident he has decided to leave Hajduk and he has told for Croatian press that he will never more return to Hajduk.

In 2006, Bonačić accepted an offer as head-coach of Iranian side Sepahan. He was highly successful with Sepahan winning the Hazfi Cup in 2006 and 2007. Also in 2007, he managed to take Sepahan to the AFC Champions League final but lost to Japanese side Urawa Red Diamonds 3–1 on aggregate. Sepahan became the first Iranian football club to make it to the knockout stage and final since Esteghlal in 1990's.

In January 2008, Bonačić signed an 18-month contract with Al-Nasr in Dubai and was sacked on February 2009.

In December 2010, Bonačić signed a contract with Azadegan League club Gostaresh based in Iran, Tabriz.

He returned to his previous club and was named as new head coach of Sepahan on 22 June 2011.[2][3] After a 3–0 defeat to Mes Kerman in the Pro League and elimination from Champions League, Bonačić was dismissed by club chairman.[4]

In September 2012, Bonačić took over the helm of NK Zagreb[5] and headed this team until October 2012 when he was replaced by Miroslav Blažević.

On 27 December 2012, Bonačić joined Mes Kerman as head coach for the second time but left the team at the end of the season after leading the club at the sixth place.[6] On 1 July 2013, he was named as the head coach of Zob Ahan, signed a one-year contract with the club.[7] On 16 December 2013, it was announced that Luka will leave Zob Ahan in January 2014 and will be succeeded by Mojtaba Taghavi. On 23 January 2014, Luka returns as manager of Mes Kerman with signing a contract until the end of the season. He led Mes Kerman to the Hazfi Cup final for the first time, however, his side lost the match 1–0 to Tractor Sazi. On 6 April, Mes Kerman relegated to the Azadegan League after a 0–0 draw with Saba Qom. He was given a one-year contract by the club to lead them in Azadegan League and promotion back Mes Kerman to the Iran Pro League at the end of the season. However, he was sacked on 11 November 2014 after poor results. On 21 November 2014, he was named as manager of Qatar Stars League side Al-Shahania.

On 9 October 2019, Bonačić was named the new head coach of Varaždin in the Croatian First Football League.[8]


As of 28 September 2017
Team Nat From To Record
G W D L Win %
NK Varteks Croatia June 1995 June 1996 22 11 6 5 050.00
Hajduk Split Croatia January 1997 December 1998 52 31 10 11 059.62
Foolad Iran June 2003 June 2004 26 13 8 5 050.00
Esteghlal Ahvaz Iran June 2004 February 2005 20 8 4 8 040.00
KS Dinamo Tirana Albania February 2005 February 2006 36 17 10 9 047.22
Hajduk Split Croatia February 2006 June 2006 12 4 4 4 033.33
Sepahan Iran June 2006 January 2008 88 52 24 12 059.09
Al Nasr United Arab Emirates July 2008 July 2009 22 6 8 8 027.27
Mes Kerman Iran December 2009 May 2010 34 11 9 14 032.35
Gostaresh Iran June 2010 June 2011 26 14 6 6 053.85
Sepahan Iran June 2011 October 2011 11 5 2 4 045.45
NK Zagreb Croatia September 2012 November 2012 7 3 2 2 042.86
Mes Kerman Iran January 2013 June 2013 16 6 8 2 037.50
Zob Ahan Iran July 2013 January 2014 22 5 7 10 022.73
Mes Kerman Iran January 2014 November 2014 15 2 9 4 013.33
Al-Shahania Qatar November 2014 January 2016 11 5 1 5 045.45
Gostaresh Iran June 2017 September 2017 8 2 1 5 025.00
Total 381 165 110 106 043.31


NK Varteks
Hajduk Split
Mes Kerman


  1. ^ Vidalina, Marko (2 October 2007). "Bonačić: Pretučen sam zbog trgovine u Hajduku!" (in Croatian). Retrieved 29 June 2013.
  2. ^ Luka Bonačić becomes Sepahan head coach
  3. ^ ا چند ساعت پيش علي دايي بخت اول نشستن روي نيمكت سپاهان در فصل آينده بود اما به ناگاه بوناچيچ به عنوان سرمربي اصفهاني ها انتخاب شد (in Persian). 22 June 2011. Retrieved 29 June 2013.
  4. ^ "Archived copy" قنبری: هواداران بیایند (in Persian). Archived from the original on 1 April 2012. Retrieved 29 June 2013.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  5. ^ Rupnik, Borna (3 September 2012). "Luka Bonačić preuzima dužnost Dražena Beseka". (in Croatian). Retrieved 3 September 2012.
  6. ^ "لوکا بوناچیچ" سرمربی مس کرمان شد [Luka Bonačić joins Mes Kerman as head coach] (in Persian). Archived from the original on 16 December 2013. Retrieved 29 June 2013.
  7. ^ بوناچیچ سرمربی ذوب آهن شد/امضای الکترونیکی قرارداد در کرواسی لوکا فردا در اصفهان [Luka Bonačić becomes head coach of Zob Ahan] (in Persian). Retrieved 1 July 2013.
  8. ^ "Luka Bonačić preuzima kormilo Varaždina od Borimira Perkovića". Novi list. 9 October 2019. Retrieved 9 October 2019.

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