Krstajić in 2007
|Full name||Mladen Krstajić|
|Date of birth||4 March 1974|
|Place of birth||Zenica, SFR Yugoslavia|
|Height||1.91 m (6 ft 3 in)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
Mladen Krstajić (Serbian Cyrillic: Младен Крстајић; born 4 March 1974) is a former Serbian footballer who played as a centre back. He was known for his composure, leadership and defensive ability. He represented Serbia and Montenegro at the 2006 FIFA World Cup.
Mladen Krstajić was born in Zenica, SR Bosnia and Herzegovina, SFR Yugoslavia to Bosnian Serb mother from Bijeljina and Montenegrin father from Žabljak, SR Montenegro. He grew up in Bosnia and Herzegovina and played in the youth squads of NK Čelik Zenica (1984–1992). Because of the Bosnian War he and his family moved to Serbia.
After playing in the youth system of NK Čelik, Krstajić moved to Kikinda in April 1992, following the breakout of the Bosnian war. He started playing with FK Senta for six months. He then moved on the OFK Kikinda, at that time a first league club. At some point of a successful career as a Serbian football player, there comes the time, to decide, whether one wants to play for Partizan or for Zvezda, and Krstajić decided to take the move to Partizan in 1996. According to Krstajić himself, also FK Crvena zvezda was interested in him, but as he comes from a "Partizan" family, he decided to sign a contract with his favourite club. His four and a half years at Partizan was more than successful, winning the national championships three times (1996, 1997, 1999) and also the national cup in 1998.
Werder Bremen and Schalke
The defender with the "winner mentality" (Jupp Heynckes) moved then to SV Werder Bremen, where he became one of the best defenders in the Bundesliga, winning the German Championship and Cup with Werder in 2004. Since 2004 he played for FC Schalke 04, where he was named the new captain on 17 March 2009.
On 5 June 2009, Krstajić signed a two-year contract with his former club FK Partizan. In January 2010, after the departure of Nenad Đorđević, he was named a new Partizan captain. After two very successful seasons, he played his last professional match on 21 May 2011. Immediately after retiring he was appointed as the new director of football of the club. After less than 6 months as director of football, he was sacked due to a media war against club president Dragan Đurić. Aleksandar Stanojević resigned as head coach as a result. The day before he was released, Partizan fans Grobari chanted his name as a sign of support during a basketball match against arch rivals KK Crvena Zvezda.
Krstajić has been a part of the Serbia and Montenegro national team "Famous Four" defence, which conceded just one goal during the qualifying for the 2006 FIFA World Cup. The other members of the famous four are Ivica Dragutinović, Goran Gavrančić and Nemanja Vidić. He was capped 59 times for Serbia, and was undoubtedly the leading figure of the "Famous Four" due to his experience and age.
In October 2017, Krstajić succeeded Slavoljub Muslin as coach of the Serbia national team, initially as a caretaker. In December, it was announced he would take on the role permanently and at least until the end of the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
|Serbia and Montenegro|
- Serbian SuperLiga: 1995–96, 1996–97, 1998–99, 2009–10, 2010–11
- Serbian Cup: 1997–98, 2010–11
- Werder Bremen
- Schalke 04
- "Player Profile". www.paktribune.com. Retrieved 1 July 2012.
- "Mladen Krstajić ponovo u Partizanu" (in Serbian). b92.net. 5 June 2009. Retrieved 5 June 2009.
- "Krstajić kapiten, Ilić zamenik (VIDEO)" (in Serbian). mondo.rs. 22 January 2010. Retrieved 3 June 2011.
- "Partizan – Cukaricki 4:0 (0:0)". partizan.rs. 21 May 2011. Retrieved 3 June 2011.[permanent dead link]
- "Krstajic new FK Partizan Sporting Director, Stanojevic extended his contract". partizan.rs. 1 June 2011. Retrieved 3 June 2011.[permanent dead link]
- "Football: Serbia appoint Mladen Krstajic as World Cup coach". The Straits Times. 30 December 2017. Retrieved 2 January 2018.
- "WM-Experiment Krstajic: Serbiens Wagnis nach der Posse". kicker Online (in German). 29 December 2017. Retrieved 2 January 2018.
- "M. Krstajić". Soccerway. Retrieved 22 August 2014.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Mladen Krstajić.|
- Mladen Krstajić at fussballdaten.de (in German)
- Mladen Krstajić at reprezentacija.rs (in Serbian)
- Mladen Krstajić – FIFA competition record
- Mladen Krstajić – UEFA competition record
|Schalke 04 captain