Mladen Rudonja

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Mladen Rudonja
Personal information
Date of birth (1971-07-26) 26 July 1971 (age 45)
Place of birth Koper, SFR Yugoslavia
Height 1.75 m (5 ft 9 in)
Playing position Winger
Youth career
1978–1991 Bonifika
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1991–1992 Koper 32 (8)
1992–1993 Izola 46 (16)
1994 Zagreb 6 (0)
1994 Koper 15 (3)
1994–1995 Olimpija 26 (2)
1995 Marsonia 14 (1)
1996–1997 Gorica 16 (4)
1997 Primorje 9 (4)
1998–2000 Sint-Truidense VV 74 (21)
2000–2002 Portsmouth 14 (0)
2002–2004 Olimpija 48 (5)
2004–2005 Apollon Limassol 11 (2)
2005 Anorthosis Famagusta 3 (0)
2005–2007 Koper 14 (1)
2007–2009 Olimpija Ljubljana 34 (19)
National team
1994–2004 Slovenia 65 (1)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 8 May 2009.
‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 18 April 2009

Mladen Rudonja (About this sound listen ) (born 26 July 1971 in Koper) is a retired Slovenian footballer who represented his country at two major tournaments, Euro 2000 and the 2002 World Cup.

He most often played as a winger (usually on the left) or striker. Despite this, he did not score a goal for the Slovenian national side until his 53rd cap - in the second leg of a playoff for the 2002 World Cup against Romania in Bucharest. The match finished 1–1, a result that was enough to secure Slovenia's qualification, having won the first leg 2–1 in Ljubljana. He has always been very popular with the fans (who nicknamed him "Turbo Rudi") and after this match he gained almost national hero status. All in all, he accumulated 65 caps for the national side, which makes him the 6th most capped player in Slovenia's history. He was voted 3rd best national team player in a TV competition.[citation needed]

His main assets were speed and seemingly endless stamina. His performance against Spain in Korea saw Joe Royle (British commentator) note that he never stopped for 90 minutes. As a result, he gained a position that was possibly unique in world football: a purely defensive centre forward. Some observers thought his success in this position may lead to more players adopting his style in international games, as part of the global shift to more defensive tactics, however this proved unfounded. His club career never really caught on in the same way, after a good spell with K. Sint-Truidense V.V. he left for Portsmouth where he achieved little. After the 2002 World Cup, he left for NK Olimpija Ljubljana to wind down his career, playing alongside Croatian legend and former Portsmouth teammate Robert Prosinečki as Olimpija sought to recapture former glories. He has now retired from professional football, although he occasionally plays in charity games and amateur friendlies.

His son, named Roy, is also a footballer and was called for the 2012 UEFA European Under-17 Football Championship.[1][2]

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