Oliver Zelenika in 2012
|Full name||Oliver Zelenika|
|Date of birth||14 May 1993|
|Place of birth||Zagreb, Croatia|
|Height||1.92 m (6 ft 4 in)|
|1999–2006||NK Špansko Zagreb|
|2012–2013||→ Rudeš (loan)||29||(0)|
|2014–2016||→ Lokomotiva (loan)||58||(0)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 18 March 2017.
‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 31 December 2014
Zelenika was born in Zagreb and played youth football at Dinamo Zagreb Academy before starting his professional career with Rudeš on a season-long loan spell. After returning to Dinamo Zagreb in 2013, Zelenika moved to Lokomotiva in 2014 on a loan spell lasting until the end of the 2013–14 Prva HNL season.
Zelenika was born in Zagreb on 14 May 1993. He began playing football casually as a young boy in his neighbourhood, and because he was the youngest of his clique he involuntarily played as a goalkeeper so that the older boys could be outfield players. He eventually started to enjoy this role and pursued to develop his goalkeeping skills in the youth teams of Špansko. At the age 13, he joined Dinamo Zagreb Academy.
Zelenika's professional career took off in Dinamo Zagreb. After completing his youth academy training, he would finally be promoted to the first-team squad in 2011, albeit shortly thereafter, without making a single appearance for the club, he would join a tier two club Rudeš on a season-long loan spell. While at Rudeš, he immediately established himself as a first-choice goalkeeper for the club and, in the end, missed out on only one out of 30 league matches the club played during their 2012–13 Druga HNL campaign and conceded a total of 30 goals.
At the end of the 2012–13 season, Zelenika returned to Dinamo Zagreb and rejoined the club's first-team squad. On 23 July 2013, after an abrupt departure of the club's first-team goalkeeper Pablo Migliore, Zelenika was fielded by the head coach Krunoslav Jurčić in a 2013–14 UEFA Champions League qualifying phase home match against Fola Esch, thus making his first official appearance for the club and also keeping a clean sheet in a 1–0 win. He would make his first league appearance for the club five days later, playing a full match and keeping a clean sheet in a goalless draw against Rijeka. After achieving his fourth consecutive clean sheet in his fourth appearance for the club, Jurčić praised Zelenika and commented that he "is exactly the type of a goalkeeper the club needs, a one that would not touch the ball for 60 minutes, but would still be able to react well enough to an opponent's clear-cut chance." In a matter of weeks Zelenika's squad status changed from a talented reserve goalkeeper to a first-team regular. Before he would leave the club on 24 January 2014 to join Lokomotiva on a five-months long loan spell, Zelenika will have produced a tally of 23 appearances for the club and concede 17 goals. He would remain a first-choice goalkeeper for Lokomotiva as well and would go on to make another 15 league appearances by the end of the 2013–14 Prva HNL season.
As of match played 3 September 2014, Zelenika has made a total of 43 appearances for the youth teams of the Croatia national team. Furthermore, he won caps for all of the eight official Croatia national youth teams, ranging from under-14 to under-21 age groups. He played his first international match on 5 June 2007, keeping a clean sheet for the under-14 team in a friendly match against Bavaria. Most notably, he was fielded in all of the three matches the under-20 team played in the group stage of the 2013 FIFA U-20 World Cup.
On 14 May 2014 Croatia national team manager Niko Kovač included Zelenika as a third goalkeeper on a shortlist of 30 players that would represent Croatia at the 2014 FIFA World Cup. His call-up was confirmed on 31 May 2014, when he was listed in a final 23-man squad that would travel to the host nation of Brazil.
Style of play
Zelenika stands 1,92 meters tall, and his dominant foot is left. With regard to his goalkeeping skills, football coach Krunoslav Jurčić described Zelenika as an ideal player for the teams with a strong defensive play that will make the goalkeeper behind it idle for most of the match and then require of him to keep his focus high when reacting to those handful of shots that the opposing team may direct at the goal.
- As of match played 31 December 2014
|Dinamo Zagreb||2011–12||Prva HNL||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Dinamo Zagreb||2013–14||Prva HNL||12||0||2||0||9||0||0||0||23||0|
- "2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil: List of Players" (PDF). FIFA. 11 June 2014. p. 12. Retrieved 8 July 2014.
- "Oliver Zelenika: Vraća mi se sve za što sam trenirao" [Oliver Zelenika: all the hard work is starting to pay off] (Interview) (in Croatian). GNK Dinamo Zagreb. 8 September 2013. Retrieved 31 May 2014.
- "Zelenika sretan zbog odlaska Migliorea: Novi golman? Što se mene tiče, nije potreban" [Zelenika happy for Migliore's departure: New goalkeeper? Not needed, as far as I am concerned] (in Croatian). Index.hr. 23 July 2013. Retrieved 30 May 2014.
- Bevanda (5 August 2013). "Jurčić hvali mladog golmana: Zelenika je idealan za Dinamo" [Jurčić praises young goalkeeper: Zelenika is ideal for Dinamo] (in Croatian). 24sata (Croatia). Retrieved 31 May 2014.
- "Oliver Zelenika w Lechii" (in Polish). 90minut. 15 March 2017. Retrieved 18 March 2017.
- "Oliver Zelenika". Croatian Football Federation. 2014. Retrieved 20 June 2014.
- "Kovačevih 30 kandidata za Brazil" [Kovač's 30 candidates for Brazil] (in Croatian). Sportske novosti. 14 May 2014. Retrieved 31 May 2014.
- "Izbornik Niko Kovač nakon pobjede nad Malijem objavio konačni popis putnika za SP" [Following a victory against Mali, manager Niko Kovač announces a final list of players to travel to the World Cup] (in Croatian). Sportske novosti. 31 May 2014. Retrieved 31 May 2014.