Marko Pjaca

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Marko Pjaca
Personal information
Date of birth (1995-05-06) 6 May 1995 (age 22)
Place of birth Zagreb, Croatia
Height 1.86 m (6 ft 1 in)
Playing position Winger
Club information
Current team
Juventus
Number 20
Youth career
2004–2009 Dinamo Zagreb
2009–2010 ZET
2010–2012 Lokomotiva
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
2012–2014 Lokomotiva 49 (9)
2014–2016 Dinamo Zagreb 61 (19)
2016– Juventus 14 (0)
National team
2011 Croatia U17 8 (1)
2012 Croatia U18 4 (0)
2012 Croatia U19 1 (0)
2013–2015 Croatia U20 5 (0)
2013– Croatia U21 7 (0)
2014– Croatia 13 (1)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 19 March 2017.
‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 28 March 2017

Marko Pjaca (pronounced [mâːrko pjât͡sa]; born 6 May 1995) is a Croatian professional footballer who plays as a winger for Italian club Juventus and the Croatian national team.

He began his professional club career in Croatia with Lokomotiva in 2012, before moving to Dinamo Zagreb in 2014. After winning consecutive domestic doubles with Dinamo, he joined Juventus in 2016. At international level, Pjaca represented his nation at UEFA Euro 2016.

Early life[edit]

His father Željko was a wrestler and mother Višnja was a judoka. He has two elder sisters: Martina and Iva.[1] In childhood he trained handball, basketball and table tennis.[2]

Club career[edit]

Lokomotiva[edit]

Pjaca started his professional career with Croatian side Lokomotiva Zagreb. He made his debut in the 2011–12 Croatian First Football League on 24 February 2012 in a 3–0 victory over NK Zadar, a match in which he managed an assist.[3] It was his only appearance that season. The following season, Pjaca was much more prominent in the first team at Lokomotiva, especially after the winter break. He ended the 2012–13 Prva HNL season with 2 goals in 17 appearances.[3] Although it was his performances in the 2013–14 Prva HNL season which really caught the eye of bigger clubs, with the winger scoring 7 times in 31 appearances.[3]

Dinamo Zagreb[edit]

In the summer of 2014, Pjaca was signed by reigning champions GNK Dinamo Zagreb, for a fee believed to be in the region of €1m.[4] He made his debut for the new club in the opening match of the new season, when he scored against Slaven Belupo.[5] On 11 December 2014, he scored a hat-trick as Dinamo defeated Celtic 4–3 in the last match of UEFA Europa League group stage.[6] Pjaca finished the season with 14 goals in 47 appearances in all competitions, as Dinamo Zagreb won the league title for the 10th consecutive time.[7] Pjaca also played the full match as Dinamo beat RNK Split in the 2015 Croatian Football Cup Final on penalties. On 20 July 2016, Pjaca himself confirmed that Champions League second-round qualifying tie against FK Vardar would be his last for Dinamo Zagreb. He scored two goals, assisted for the third and got standing ovation from the fans on his farewell game on Stadion Maksimir.

Juventus[edit]

On 21 July 2016 it was announced that Pjaca signed a five-year contract with Juventus for a fee of €23 million.[8] With the transfer, Pjaca became the most expensive ever sale by Dinamo Zagreb and the 1. HNL.[9] He made his Juventus and Serie A debut on 27 August, coming on as a substitute for Paulo Dybala in the second half of a 1–0 away win over Lazio.[10] In October 2016 he suffered a cracked fibula while on international duty with Croatia, and was initially expected to miss around six weeks of the season. After being sidelined through injury for almost three months, in January 2017 he returned to action with two half-hour-long substitute appearances against Atalanta in the Coppa Italia and Fiorentina in the league.[11][12] He scored his first goal for Juventus, occurring in the first 2016–17 UEFA Champions League round of 16 leg against Porto, in which they emerged victorious in a 2–0 away win.[13] Pjaca suffered an anterior cruciate ligament injury on 28 March while on international duty with Croatia, sidelining him for six months.[14]

International career[edit]

Pjaca made his senior international debut for the Croatia national football team on 4 September 2014, replacing Mateo Kovačić for the last 12 minutes of a 2–0 friendly win over Cyprus at the Stadion Aldo Drosina in Pula.[15] On 3 September 2015, he made his competitive debut for the national team in the Euro 2016 qualifying match against Azerbaijan, starting and playing the entire fixture, which ended in a 0–0 draw.[16] On 4 June 2016, he scored his first international goal for Croatia in a 10–0 win over San Marino.[17]

Euro 2016[edit]

Pjaca was included in Croatia's UEFA Euro 2016 squad.[18] He played a major role in Croatia's impressive 2–1 victory against Spain, the reigning European champions, at Bordeaux's Nouveau Stade de Bordeaux. During that match he completed an impressive seven of his eight attempted take-ons, took one shot, created one clear scoring opportunity and won one tackle. Pjaca took a seat on the bench for the clash with Portugal in the next round, only to be brought on late in extra time with just 10 minutes of the additional 30 remaining. Being introduced as a substitute he brought some much-needed attacking impetus to the side, completing three dribbles against a previously impenetrable Portugal defence.[19] Croatia eventually lost to Portugal 1–0 after Portugal's Ricardo Quaresma scored an 117th-minute winner to send Croatia out of the tournament.

Playing style[edit]

Regarded as a talented and promising young prospect, Pjaca is a winger who is capable of playing on either flank, although his preferred position is on the left, where he likes to cut inside from wide positions and either shoot on goal or create chances with his stronger right foot; he has also been deployed as an attacking midfielder or as a second striker on occasion. A dynamic, agile, and technically gifted player, Pjaca is known for his direct and offensive style of play; due to his physique, speed, dribbling skills, and ability to change direction quickly, he often takes on players in one-on-one situations, and is also known for his ability to make intelligent attacking runs behind the oppontents' defensive line.[20]

Career statistics[edit]

Club[edit]

Statistics accurate as of last match played on 19 March 2017.
Club Season League Cup Europe Other1 Total
Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Lokomotiva 2011–12 1 0 1 0
2012–13 17 2 6 2 23 4
2013–14 31 7 2 0 33 7
Total 49 9 6 2 2 0 57 11
Dinamo Zagreb 2014–15 32 11 7 0 8 3 1 0 48 14
2015–16 28 8 2 1 12 3 42 12
2016–17 1 0 0 0 1 2 2 2
Total 61 19 9 1 21 8 1 0 92 28
Juventus 2016–17 14 0 1 0 4 1 0 0 19 1
Total 14 0 1 0 4 1 0 0 19 1
Career total 124 28 16 3 27 9 1 0 168 40
1Includes appearance in 2014 Croatian Football Super Cup

International[edit]

As of 28 March 2017[21]
Croatia national team
Year Apps Goals
2014 1 0
2015 5 0
2016 6 1
2017 1 0
Total 13 1

International goal[edit]

Scores and results list Croatia's goal tally first.
# Date Venue Opponent Score Result Competition
1 4 June 2016 Stadion Rujevica, Rijeka, Croatia  San Marino 1–0 10–0 Friendly

Honours[edit]

Club[edit]

Dinamo Zagreb[7]
Juventus[7]

Individual[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Bevanda, Antonio (13 December 2014). "Pjaca faca: Tata hrvački prvak, a mama Višnja prva u džudu...". 24sata.hr (in Croatian). 24sata. Retrieved 16 November 2016. 
  2. ^ Junaci, Robert (4 August 2015). "Uvede li Dinamo u Ligu prvaka, vrijedit će mnogo više od 12 milijuna koliko nudi Milan!" [If he leads Dinamo to the Champions League, he will be worth much more than 12 million which Milan offers!]. vecernji.hr (in Croatian). Večernji list. Retrieved 16 November 2016. 
  3. ^ a b c "Marko Pjaca's Profile". Retrieved 13 February 2017. 
  4. ^ "Hrvatski mercato: Velik promet, mala zarada". 
  5. ^ "Video: Dinamo rutinskom pobjedom protiv Slaven Belupa otvorio novu sezonu". Sportnet. Retrieved 18 July 2014. 
  6. ^ "Dinamo Zagreb 4-3 Celtic". BBC Sport. 11 December 2014. Retrieved 11 December 2014. 
  7. ^ a b c "M. Pjaca". Soccerway. Retrieved 11 August 2016. 
  8. ^ "Official: Juventus sign Pjaca". Football Italia. 21 July 2016. Retrieved 21 July 2016. 
  9. ^ Korać, Branimir. "Potvrđeno je: Marko Pjaca novi je igrač Juventusa". HRSport (in Croatian). Retrieved 22 July 2016. 
  10. ^ "Lazio-Juventus 0-1, il tabellino: sblocca Khedira" (in Italian). La Gazzetta dello Sport. 27 August 2016. Retrieved 29 August 2016. 
  11. ^ "Pjaca plots successful second half to season". juventus.com. Retrieved 19 January 2017. 
  12. ^ "Pjaca injured on Croatia duty". Football Italia. Retrieved 19 January 2017. 
  13. ^ "Pjaca: 'Waiting for my moment'". Football Italia. 22 February 2017. Retrieved 22 February 2017. 
  14. ^ "Pjaca out for six months". Football Italia. 31 March 2017. Retrieved 31 March 2017. 
  15. ^ "Croatia 2-0 Cyprus". eu-football.info. Retrieved 11 December 2014. 
  16. ^ "Azerbaijan 0 - 0 Croatia". Sky Sports. 3 September 2015. Retrieved 29 August 2016. 
  17. ^ "Croatia 10 - 0 S. Marino". Sky Sports. 4 June 2016. Retrieved 29 August 2016. 
  18. ^ Aleksandar Holiga (6 June 2016). "Croatia Euro 2016 team guide: tactics, key players and expert predictions". The Guardian. Retrieved 29 August 2016. 
  19. ^ Digby, Adam. "Scouting Juventus Transfer Target Marko Pjaca". Bleacher Report. Retrieved 7 September 2016. 
  20. ^ Nemanja Grbic (6 July 2016). "Marko Pjaca: Why Croatia's gem is luring Liverpool into a European tug-of-war". FourFourTwo. Retrieved 11 August 2016. 
  21. ^ Marko Pjaca at National-Football-Teams.com

External links[edit]