Oliver Zelenika

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Oliver Zelenika
Oliver Zelenika.JPG
Oliver Zelenika in 2012
Personal information
Full name Oliver Zelenika[1]
Date of birth (1993-05-14) 14 May 1993 (age 23)
Place of birth Zagreb, Croatia
Height 1.92 m (6 ft 4 in)
Playing position Goalkeeper
Club information
Current team
Lechia Gdańsk
Number 33
Youth career
1999–2006 NK Špansko Zagreb
2006–2012 Dinamo Zagreb
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
2012–2016 Dinamo Zagreb 12 (0)
2012–2013 Rudeš (loan) 29 (0)
2014–2016 Lokomotiva (loan) 58 (0)
2017– Lechia Gdańsk 0 (0)
National team
2007 Croatia U14 2 (0)
2008 Croatia U15 2 (0)
2009 Croatia U16 6 (0)
2009–2010 Croatia U17 11 (0)
2011 Croatia U18 2 (0)
2011–2012 Croatia U19 7 (0)
2012–2013 Croatia U20 5 (0)
2013–2014 Croatia U21 8 (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

Oliver Zelenika (pronounced [ǒliʋer zelěnika]; born 14 May 1993) is a Croatian professional footballer who currently plays for Lechia Gdańsk in Polish Ekstraklasa.

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 won 43 caps with the youth teams of the Croatia national team and remains uncapped with the senior team.

Early life[edit]

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.[2]

Playing career[edit]

Club[edit]

Early years[edit]

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.

2013–14 season[edit]

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.[3] 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."[4] In a matter of weeks Zelenika's squad status changed from a talented reserve goalkeeper to a first-team regular.[2] 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.

On 15 March 2017 he signed a contract with Lechia Gdańsk.[5]

International[edit]

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.[6]

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.[7] 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.[8]

Style of play[edit]

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.[4]

Career statistics[edit]

As of match played 31 December 2014
Club Season League National Cup Continental Other Total
Division Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Dinamo Zagreb 2011–12 Prva HNL 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Rudeš 2012–13 Druga HNL 29 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 29 0
Dinamo Zagreb 2013–14 Prva HNL 12 0 2 0 9 0 0 0 23 0
Lokomotiva 15 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 15 0
Lokomotiva 2014–15 Prva HNL 10 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 12 0
Career total 66 0 4 0 9 0 0 0 79 0

References[edit]

External links[edit]