Kalinić playing for Croatia against Portugal in 2013
|Full name||Nikola Kalinić|
|Date of birth||5 January 1988|
|Place of birth||Solin, SFR Yugoslavia|
|Height||1.87 m (6 ft 2 in)|
|2006||→ Pula (loan)||12||(3)|
|2007||→ Šibenik (loan)||8||(3)|
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 4 February 2016.
Kalinić began his career with Hajduk Split in his native Croatia before moving to English club Blackburn Rovers for £6 million in 2009. After scoring rarely in two Premier League seasons, he left for Ukrainian side Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk, helping them reach the 2015 UEFA Europa League Final.
Born in the town of Solin near Split, Kalinić began his playing career at Hajduk Split. He made his Prva HNL debut in the 2005–06 season at the age of 17. On 1 August 2006, he was sent on loan to Pula Staro Češko (now Istra 1961) to see more first-team action. In his loan time at Pula, he had a slow but fair start considering his young age. Despite not playing all too regularly in a short single season with them, he still managed to adapt and find goalscoring form, netting three goals in 12 league appearances.
Kalinić's first goals in the Prva HNL came in the 2–0 victory against Kamen Ingrad on 23 September 2006 as he netted a brace to give his side the victory. Upon ending his short time at Pula, manager Krunoslav Jurčić was largely impressed with him, stating he could become the next Zlatan Ibrahimović.
Despite his intentions to stay at Pula, Kalinić returned to Hajduk and was immediately sent out on loan to HNK Šibenik, where he saw occasional first team action and immediately impressed with all-round performances and a goal-scoring ability, netting three goals in eight appearances.
After clearly showing the ability to adapt well to the Croatian league, Kalinić returned to Hajduk and saw plenty of first team action immediately. He made his returning debut against Cibalia as a substitute, then secured his first start in the squad during the 2–1 victory against Osijek at the Poljud Stadium. His 17 league goals in his first season with Hajduk was only beaten by league topscorer Zelimir Terkes, who managed 21 goals. However, it was a great achievement for the youngster who had initially set a target of scoring 15 goals. He finished the 2007–08 season in fifth place with Hajduk in the league, also helping them reach the final of the Croatian Cup in the same season. In all competitions, he ended the year with 26 goals, receiving the coveted Swan d'or Award from the Croatian Press Association.
Kalinić kicked off the next season by scoring the second goal in Hajduk's 0–4 away victory against Maltese side Birkirara, thus advancing them to the next round of qualification for the 2008–09 UEFA Cup. In Hajduk's derby match over league rivals Dinamo Zagreb, Kalinić scored the first goal with a penalty kick. Hajduk went on to win the game 2–0 and overtake Dinamo in the league table.
Kalinić went for a one-week trial at English Premier League club Portsmouth in late July 2009, whereupon a fee thought to be in the region of £6 million was agreed between Hajduk and Portsmouth. However, the move fell through due to financial reasons. On 31 July 2009, Kalinić was heavily linked with another Premier League club, Blackburn Rovers. Later that same day, the player's agent confirmed that the player had been at Blackburn's ground talking to the club on the 30th and 31st with regard to the deal to take the player to Ewood Park. The player's agent also confirmed that the fee was €7 million should the deal be completed; the contract had been agreed and his client was due to sign for the club. The player also made light that the Lancashire-based club expected "big things" from the highly rated Croat.
On 1 August 2009, the move stepped closer when Hajduk President Mate Peroš confirmed that Blackburn had an offer accepted by the club, the best from any club. He also said, "Very quickly we finished the talks with the club [Blackburn]."
On 3 August 2009, Kalinić signed for Blackburn Rovers on a four-year deal. The transfer fee is believed to be in the region of £6 million. A week later, Kalinić was successfully awarded a work permit and officially signed for the club. However, his début was delayed as he had to return from his homeland to collect his permit, meaning he was not officially registered in time for Rovers' opening game of the season against Manchester City. On 13 August, he was officially confirmed as a Blackburn player and was assigned the number 22 jersey for the 2009–10 season, making his debut against Sunderland nine days later. On 27 October, Kalinić scored his first goal for Blackburn against Peterborough United in the League Cup. He scored his second goal in the quarter-final of the competition against Chelsea, but missed a penalty in the shootout which Blackburn went on to win regardless. He scored his third goal for Rovers in the FA Cup against Aston Villa on 2 January 2010.
Kalinić then added his fourth and fifth goals of the season with the two opening goals against Aston Villa in the second leg of the League Cup semi-final, the first being a header, the second a close-range shot. He scored his first Premier League goal against Wigan Athletic with a header from a resultant corner taken by Morten Gamst Pedersen in the 76th minute in the 2–1 victory. Kalinić scored his second Premier League goal of the 2009–10 campaign against Bolton Wanderers on 21 February 2010. He was handed the number nine shirt by manager Sam Allardyce at the beginning of the new Premier League campaign. Despite missing much of pre-season, Kalinić started the 2010–11 season well, scoring the only goal in Blackburn's opening day victory over Everton at Ewood Park on 14 August. He scored his second league goal in the 1–1 draw against Manchester City. On 28 December 2010, he netted his first brace in Blackburn colours in their 1–3 away win over West Bromwich Albion at The Hawthorns, though he was later sent off in this game.
On 26 February 2011, Kalinić came on as a second-half substitute for teammate Roque Santa Cruz in the league game against Aston Villa at Villa Park, scoring in the 81st minute in an eventual 4–1 defeat. The goal was his sixth of the season in all competitions, his fifth in the Premier League. After Sam Allardyce was sacked as Blackburn manager, Kalinić fell out of favor with Blackburn's newly appointed manager Steve Kean.
On 11 August 2011, Kalinić signed for Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk of the Ukrainian Premier League for an undisclosed fee. He made his debut for the club on 13 August 2011 as a second-half substitute against league champions Shakhtar Donetsk in a 3–1 defeat. He marked his first appearance for the club with a goal but was red carded for elbowing just two minutes after scoring. Kalinić netted ten goals in all competitions in both his first and second seasons with the Ukrainian side.
On 27 May 2015, Kalinić opened the scoring with a header in the Europa League Final against holders Sevilla in Warsaw, although his team eventually lost 2–3. Kalinić scored six other goals in his sides run to the Europa League final and another 12 league goals, taking his tally for the 2014–15 season to 19, the highest of his career.
On 15 August 2015, Kalinić signed a four-year contract with the Italian Serie A club Fiorentina. He made a league debut in the first game of the season, playing the full 90 minutes in a 2–0 home victory over Milan. He scored his debut goal for Fiorentina on 17 September in the 2015–16 UEFA Europa League match against Basel, bundling the ball into the net from close range in the third minute in an eventual 1–2 home loss.
Kalinić's Serie A debut goal came in his fifth league appearance in the match against Bologna, scoring the second and final goal of the game in the 80th minute. The match ended 2–0 for Fiorentina, taking them to second place in the Serie A table after five matches. On 27 September, Kalinić scored a hat-trick against league leading and undefeated Internazionale to put Fiorentina in first place for the first time since the 1998–99 season. On 24 November, he scored twice against Empoli to earn his team a 2–2 home draw at the Stadio Artemio Franchi.
Kalinić was a key player in the Croatian national under-21 team during his youth playing years, also representing his country at the under-17 and -19 level. He first made a name for himself at international level at age 17 during the 2005 UEFA European Under-17 Football Championship when he finished the campaign as the top scorer with 11 goals. At the under-19 level, he managed another five goals during his side's preliminary round of the same tournament. He also scored a hat-trick against Lithuania in Croatia's 3–0 victory, which secured them a spot in the next elite round of the UEFA European Under-19 Championship in 2006.
Initially supposed to be called up by head coach Slaven Bilić for the few remaining qualifying games of UEFA Euro 2008, Kalinić missed the chance due to injury and was instead replaced by Mario Mandžukić. However, his constant impressive abilities earned him a place in Croatia's final squad for Euro 2008. Kalinić made his first appearance for the senior national team on 24 May 2008, coming on as a substitute in the 62nd minute of Croatia's 1–0 friendly win against Moldova. He went on to make his first competitive appearance for his national side at Euro 2008 in Croatia's final group game against Poland, coming on as a substitute for goalscorer Ivan Klasnić in the 1–0 victory.
On 17 November 2010, he scored his first international goal, netting the third goal in Croatia's 3–0 win at home to Malta in the UEFA Euro 2012 qualifiers. On 9 February 2011 Kalinić scored a brace in a 4–2 victory over the Czech Republic in an international friendly game.
He missed the World Cup 2014, but got a call-up back for a friendly against Argentina in 2014, but remained an unused substitute in the game.
In 2015, he returned to the international level.
- As of 20 December 2015.
- As of 17 November 2015.
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Nikola Kalinić.|
- Nikola Kalinić profile at the Blackburn Rovers website
- Nikola Kalinić career statistics at Soccerbase
- Premier League profile