Predrag Mijatović

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Predrag Mijatović
Predrag Mijatović 2007 b.jpg
Mijatović in 2007
Personal information
Full name Predrag Mijatović
Date of birth (1969-01-19) 19 January 1969 (age 46)
Place of birth Titograd, SFR Yugoslavia
Height 1.78 m (5 ft 10 in)
Playing position Striker
Youth career
Budućnost Titograd
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1987–1989 Budućnost Titograd 72 (10)
1989–1993 Partizan 104 (45)
1993–1996 Valencia 104 (56)
1996–1999 Real Madrid 90 (29)
1999–2002 Fiorentina 42 (4)
2002–2004 Levante 21 (3)
Total 433 (148)
National team
1989–2003 Yugoslavia 73 (26)
Teams managed
2006–2009 Real Madrid (Director of Football)

* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.

† Appearances (Goals).

Predrag "Peđa" Mijatović (Serbian Cyrillic: Предраг "Пеђа" Мијатовић, pronounced [prêdraɡ mijǎtoʋit͡ɕ]; born 19 January 1969) is a former Montenegrin footballer and former sports director of Real Madrid. He was acclaimed as the best athlete of Yugoslavia in 1997.

On the club level, Mijatović played for 6 different clubs: Budućnost Podgorica, Partizan, Valencia, Real Madrid, Fiorentina, and Levante. Internationally, Mijatović has been capped 73 times, scoring 26 goals. He played in the 1998 World Cup and Euro 2000.[citation needed]

He scored 28 goals in the 1995–96 Primera División season for Valencia, which in turn led him to move to Real Madrid, where he scored a goal in the 1998 UEFA Champions League Final that brought the biggest European title back to Madrid after 32 years. In 1997, Mijatović was runner-up for the Ballon d'Or, behind Ronaldo and ahead of Zinedine Zidane.[1]

Club career[edit]

Budućnost[edit]

After spending a few years in the FK Budućnost Titograd youth system, the then 18-year-old Mijatović made his debut for the full squad in 1987 during last part of the 1986–87 league season under head coach Milan Živadinović.[citation needed]

It was in the following 1987–88 season that he became a team regular under the newly arrived head coach Špaco Poklepović. He made 31 league appearances and contributed 4 goals as Budućnost finished the season in 9th spot.[citation needed]

During the winter of 1989–90, the talented 20-year-old was close to signing with Hajduk Split after negotiating with Hajduk's sporting director Jurica Jerković with even a DM50,000 pre-contract payment given to the player,[2][3] before Partizan's president Mirko Marjanović stepped in and convinced him to come to Belgrade. Partizan ended up paying a DM1 million transfer fee to Budućnost for Mijatović in December 1989. In later interviews Mijatović said that deteriorating political and security situation in Yugoslavia was a factor in his decision not to go to the Croatian club.[4]

Partizan[edit]

Though he scored on his Partizan debut against his former club FK Budućnost, Mijatović's debut half season in the new club under head coach Ivan Golac was mostly spent settling into the new surroundings as he failed to add to his scoring tally in the following 14 league appearances until the end of the 1989–90 league season. Partizan was off the pace for the league title, finishing the season in 4th spot as Golac got replaced by returning head coach Nenad Bjeković.[citation needed]

The next league campaign (Mijatović's first full season at Partizan) provided a bit of breakthrough as he became a prominent team member with 14 goals in 33 league appearances under new head coach Miloš Milutinović.[citation needed]

Partizan won the 1992 Yugoslav Cup title over reigning European Cup champions and rivals Red Star. Mijatovic also picked up the Yugoslav Footballer of the Year award.[citation needed]

Before the start of the 1992–93 season SFR Yugoslavia disintegrated meaning that the new Yugoslav League consisted of teams from Serbia and Montenegro only. Mijatović helped Partizan win the Yugoslav title that season.[citation needed]

Ever since he established himself at Partizan, Mijatović had been linked with various top European sides – Real Madrid, Atlético Madrid and Juventus, among others. However, none of them expressed sufficient interest and he eventually ended up at Valencia CF in the summer of 1993.

Then Real president Ramón Mendoza later admitted that Robert Prosinečki's failure to live up to expectations in Madrid made his club wary of young Yugoslavs.[5]

Valencia[edit]

Mijatović made his La Liga debut with Valencia on 5 September 1993 against Real Oviedo. He would go on to make 35 league appearances and score 16 goals in his debut season.[citation needed]

He won the Spanish Footballer of the Year award in the 1995–96 season in which he led Valencia to second place in La Liga with 28 goals in 40 league matches.[citation needed]

Real Madrid[edit]

Mijatović joined Real from Valencia and won the La Liga title in his first season, as well as the 1997 Supercopa de España.[6]

Though the following, 1997–98 season at Real wasn't quite as successful for Mijatović from a personal standpoint, it still provided many memorable moments. He managed 10 goals in 24 league games, linking up well with emerging 21-year-old forward Fernando Morientes who arrived from Real Zaragoza at the beginning of the season. Although they lost out on the Spanish league title that season to rivals Barcelona, Real won the Champions League after a 32-year wait, beating Juventus in May 1998 in the ArenA with Mijatović scoring the only goal in the final. He followed up the Champions League win with the 1998 Intercontinental Cup the following season.[citation needed]

The 1998–99 season turned out to be his last with Real, and the 30-year-old Mijatović was sold to Serie A club Fiorentina at the end of the season.[citation needed]

Fiorentina[edit]

He arrived at the Florence club in the summer of 1999; Fiorentina had finished the previous Serie A season in third place (thus qualifying for the 1999-2000 UEFA Champions League).[citation needed]

Mijatović initially played under experienced head coach Giovanni Trapattoni, with Batistuta and Chiesa providing competition for places upfront. In total, he made 16 league appearances throughout the season, scoring 2 goals while also having to deal with injury problems that caused him to miss a lot of matches.[citation needed]

In the 1999–2000 Serie A season Mijatović's injury problems returned, forcing him to the sidelines. During the 2000-01 Serie A season, the team finished in ninth place in the league, but winning the 2000-01 Coppa Italia trophy over Parma in the final. Mijatović made only 13 league appearances (some of them as substitute), scoring 1 goal.[citation needed] They were defeated in the 2001 Supercoppa Italiana final by 2001 Serie A champions Roma. During the 2001-02 Serie A season, however, Fiorentina were relegated to Serie B.

International career[edit]

Mijatović began his career in the youth categories of the former Yugoslavia team. He was included in the squad for the 1987 FIFA World Youth Championship with Croatian Davor Šuker and fellow Montenegrin Branko Brnović. "Pedja" scored 2 goals as Yugoslavia won the title.[citation needed] Overall, Mijatović has scored 28 goals for Yugoslavia in 73 international appearances.

Simultaneously with Mijatović's transfer from Valencia CF to Real Madrid, Yugoslavia returned to playing competitive matches after a 4-year ban due to the UN. In late 1997, during the 2-game World Cup playoff qualifiers against Hungary, he scored 7 goals as Yugoslavia won 12–1 on aggregate and qualified for the 1998 World Cup in France.[citation needed]

World Cup 1998[edit]

During the 1998 FIFA World Cup in France, he scored one goal in 4 matches, helping his country to the second round, where they were eliminated by the Netherlands.[citation needed]

Road to Euro 2000[edit]

At the start of the next qualifying cycle for Euro 2000, Mijatović continued to be an automatic choice for Yugoslavia under new coach Milan Živadinović. The same continued when Vujadin Boškov took over in Živadinović's place midway through the qualifying.[citation needed]

The deciding match occurred in October 1999 versus Croatia, Mijatovic scoring with a first half header to level the score at 1–1. The eventual 2–2 result meant Yugoslavia qualified directly for the European Championships in Belgium and the Netherlands.[citation needed]

Euro 2000[edit]

At Euro 2000, he played in all four of Yugoslavia's matches, helping the team to the quarter-finals, although he did not score in the tournament, as Yugoslavia was eliminated once again by co-hosts the Netherlands.[citation needed]

Personal life[edit]

Born in Titograd, SR Montenegro, SFR Yugoslavia, Mijatović grew up in the Masline neighbourhood on the town outskirts. He is of Cuce clan ancestry.[7]

Mijatović's personal life has been well-publicized due to his turbulent relationship with Belgrade socialite Elena Karaman Karić. They were married for 1½ years during the early 1990s, and had two sons before divorcing. During the divorce proceedings, he often wore a Los Angeles Dodgers baseball cap with the initials "L.A.", dedicated to their sons Luka and Andreja. On 3 June 2009, the official website of Real Madrid stated that Andreja, aged 15, died after a long illness, and offered its "deepest sympathies on behalf of the entire club and its members".[8]

Career statistics[edit]

International[edit]

Yugoslavia national team
Year Apps Goals
1989 3 0
1990 5 0
1991 1 0
1992 1 0
1993 0 0
1994 2 0
1995 1 0
1996 6 3
1997 8 10
1998 11 3
1999 7 2
2000 12 4
2001 6 2
2002 6 1
2003 5 1
Total 73 26

Post-playing[edit]

After retiring in 2004, Mijatović continued living in Valencia and soon became a player agent.

Real Madrid director of football[edit]

In June 2006, Mijatović hooked up with Ramón Calderón as part of the lawyer's candidate bid for the position of Real Madrid president. When Calderón won the closely contested club election on 2 July 2006, Mijatović became Real's new Director of Football.[citation needed]

On 16 January 2009, Calderón resigned his post and by mid February reports appeared that Mijatović's is on his way out as well.[9]

On 20 May 2009, Real Madrid announced Mijatović's departure by mutual consent.[10]

After Real Madrid[edit]

In May 2011, Mijatović was linked with the sporting director position at Chelsea following the departure of Frank Arnesen,[11] however nothing came of it since in July 2011 the club promoted assistant first team coach Michael Emenalo to the position.

Honours[edit]

Club[edit]

Partizan Belgrade[12]
Real Madrid[6]
Fiorentina[13]

Individual[edit]

  • Yugoslavian player of the year: 1992, 1993, 1998

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Awards
Preceded by
Aleksandra Ivošev
Federal Republic of Yugoslavia The Best Athlete of Yugoslavia
1997
Succeeded by
Dejan Bodiroga