Prosinečki in 2012
|Full name||Robert Prosinečki|
|Date of birth||12 January 1969|
|Place of birth||Schwenningen, West Germany|
|Height||1.82 m (6 ft 0 in)|
|Bosnia and Herzegovina (manager)|
|1987–1991||Red Star Belgrade||117||(25)|
|2010–2012||Red Star Belgrade|
|2018–||Bosnia and Herzegovina|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only|
Robert Prosinečki (Croatian pronunciation: [rǒbert prosinětʃkiː]; born 12 January 1969) is a Croatian football manager and former football midfielder, working as a manager of Bosnia and Herzegovina national team. He is one of the few footballers to have played for both the Spanish rival clubs Real Madrid and FC Barcelona.
After retiring from active football he worked as assistant manager of the Croatia national football team between 2006 and 2010, before being appointed manager of Red Star Belgrade in December 2010. In August 2012, Prosinečki left Red Star and took over Turkish club Kayserispor two months after. He was appointed as manager of Azerbaijan national football team in December 2014. After three years spent in Azerbaijan, it was announced that he would not extend his contract for two more years with the Azerbaijan football federation. On 4 January 2018, he was named manager of Bosnia and Herzegovina national football team.
- 1 Early life and career
- 2 Club career
- 3 Style of play
- 4 Reputation
- 5 Career statistics
- 6 International career
- 7 Coaching career
- 8 Honours
- 9 Orders
- 10 Minifootball
- 11 Controversy
- 12 References
- 13 External links
Early life and career
Prosinečki was born in Schwenningen, West Germany, into a family of Yugoslav gastarbeiters of mixed ethnicity. His father Đuro was Croatian, hailing from the Gornji Čemehovec village near Kraljevec na Sutli, and his mother Emilija Đoković is Serbian, originally from the Ježevica village near Čačak.
Young Robert spent his childhood in Germany before moving back to SR Croatia with his family in 1979, at the age of ten. By that time he had already been playing in the Stuttgarter Kickers youth system. Once in Croatia, he continued in the youth setup of Dinamo Zagreb.
After moving up the youth ranks for years, Prosinečki started getting occasional first team appearances during the 1986–87 league season under head coach Miroslav Blažević. On his league debut versus FK Željezničar, he managed to score a goal. By the end of the season, he recorded one more league appearance.
Wanting to secure his son's financial future, Prosinečki's father Đuro started pushing within club hierarchy for a professional contract to be given to his 18-year-old son. However, coach Blažević sent him away, famously claiming that he would eat his coaching diploma if Prosinečki ever became a real football player.
Red Star Belgrade
In the summer of 1987 Đuro Prosinečki took Robert over to Belgrade and got the professional contract they were after. Dragan Džajić, Red Star's then football director, remembers the transfer as follows:
|“||On one of our visits to Zagreb we stayed at Hotel Esplanade where I got approached by a man who introduced himself as Robert Prosinečki's uncle. He told me his nephew wasn't happy at Dinamo and asked me if we could arrange a tryout. I told them to come to Belgrade in a couple of days and they did. At the tryout I saw this kid do wonders with the ball and I immediately asked our head coach Velibor Vasović to schedule an afternoon practice session at the main stadium so that I could see the kid one more time. It was obvious we had a classy player on our hands, and I initiated the contract proceedings right away. Our lawyer informed us that we wouldn't have to pay a transfer fee to Dinamo so Robert's father Đuro and I agreed everything in five minutes.||”|
Immediately upon arrival to his new club, Prosinečki became a first team regular and furthermore, much to Blažević's chagrin, also rapidly established himself as one of Yugoslavia's most gifted and talented players. Playing under head coach Vasović, the youngster earned a spot in Red Star's midfield alongside Dragan Stojković, Žarko Đurović, and Goran Milojević just a few weeks into the 1987–88 league season and never looked back. In October 1987 he was part of the Yugoslav youth squad which won the World Youth Championship in Chile, with Prosinečki winning the Golden Ball award as the tournament's best player. Playing in Chile meant that he was away from the club for the entire month of October, and he was already held in such high regard at Red Star that club brass attempted to bring him back from South America after the tournament's group stages, so that he could play in their 1987–88 UEFA Cup second round tie versus Club Brugge. The Yugoslav team players protested to FIFA, and João Havelange, the organisation's chairman at the time, intervened to keep Prosinečki in Chile.
During his four-year spell at the club Prosinečki helped Red Star win three Yugoslav First League titles and one Yugoslav Cup, as well as participating in the club's greatest success in history by winning the 1991 European Cup.
Prosinečki joined the Spanish giants during the summer 1991 for a transfer fee of ₧450 Million (€15 million). Led by club president Ramón Mendoza and head coach Radomir Antić, the club had huge expectations from their expensive and highly rated signing. Real went through a difficult previous season, twice making a coaching change and barely getting a UEFA Cup spot by finishing third in La Liga under Antić, their third head coach that season.
However, pretty much immediately 22-year-old Prosinečki got sidelined with a string of muscular injuries. Administered by team doctors, he underwent a series of tests as well as a strict dietary regime in addition to getting forced into changing many lifestyle-related habits. Still, the first season turned out to be a complete write-off: he appeared in only three league matches with a notable shining moment - scoring a free-kick goal versus FC Barcelona in El Clásico on 19 October 1991.
Although injury-riddled as well, Prosinečki's second season at Real did provide a hint of a breakthrough with 29 league appearances and 3 goals, however, it was still far off the expectations indicated by his reputation and price tag.
His best season was incidentally his last, with six league goals.
Rest of his stay in Spain
During the 1994 summer transfer window, Real brass decided that his physical fragility and injuries were too much to deal with and offloaded him to Real Oviedo. During his season in Oviedo Prosinečki played his best season yet in Spain, he even won a match in May against his former club Real Madrid. He stood out for his good performances as an organizer, he recovered his best level and he felt more satisfied with his physical and psychological state. He also started being a regular in the Croatian national team. In his statements to the press reflected " I'm enjoying my football" and reaffirmed his intention to leave Real Madrid without fulfilling the fifth year of contract he had left.
The arrival of his manager from Oviedo Radomir Antić to Atlético Madrid motivated the Atlético to reach an agreement with Real Madrid to whom Prosinečki was still contracted to. However, FC Barcelona interfered in the operation and presented Zoran Vekić, the Croatian's agent, with a better offer. While the interest of the Colchoneros was made public, the other bid was not leaked to the press. At the end Prosinečki got a free agent, he rejected Atlético and signed on 20 July 1995 to FC Barcelona with a contract of €3 million for three seasons, plus two optional. Ramón Mendoza did not want his eternal rival to take the midfielder free, but the bad economic situation of Real Madrid precipitated his departure.
In Barcelona he suffered muscle injuries again that made him miss the first part of the season. By the time he recovered, coach Johan Cruyff did not trust him and relegated him to the substitution bench, so he only played 19 games 1995–96 season. The following season manager Bobby Robson reduced Prosinečki to friendly matches after this Prosinečki wanted to leave. On 14 December 1996 was bought by Sevilla for €1,67 million. He played for the club for the rest of the season a first team player.
In 1997, he returned home to play for NK Croatia Zagreb (Dinamo's name at the time) for a fee of €2.5 million. His arrival was very well received by the fans and meant the return of the midfielder to the club where he began his professional career.
During his first season he won the double with the team and reached the third round in the UEFA Cup where Prosinečki's performances where a key factor to victory against MTK Hungária and Grasshoopper.
The next two season saw Prosinečki lead as captain one of the best generations of Dinamo Zagreb. Winning the league twice and playing in the UEFA Champions League also two seasons in a row. In their European campaign Dinamo reached their best results in the competition. Prosinečki will be remember by the fans most notably for his performances against Celtic and Manchester United.
Hrvatski Dragovoljac and Standard Liège
On 14 July 2000, Prosinečki signed to NK Hrvatski Dragovoljac as a free agent. The club president Stjepan Spajić said Prosinečki would sign a two-year contract with a clause that he could leave if a foreign club would make an offer to him.
In summer 2001, 32-year-old Prosinečki signed for Division 1 (second-tier of the English football league system) side Portsmouth on a one-year deal.
Prosinečki is still held as a folk hero at Portsmouth FC for his marvelous one man performances in the centre of midfield. The team were saved from relegation through his goals and assists in the 2001–02 season, the highlight of which was scoring a hattrick against Barnsley. At the end of the 2007–08 Premier League season the readers of The News picked Prosinečki as part of an all-time best Portsmouth eleven. He was the only non-British player to be among the selection.
Style of play
Prosinečki nicknamed Žuti (Yellow) due to his blond hair was considered one of the most skilled footballers who emerged from Central Europe in the 1980s . His favorite position was that of midfielder, although he delayed his location to the center of the field to elaborate the attacking plays of his teammate's, which gave him a great vision of the game. He used to retain possession and impose his pace on rivals. On a technical level, he stood out for his ability to pass short, dribbling and driving the ball. He also had a strong shot that made him dangerous in set pieces.
His style was criticized by some fans of Real Madrid, although it is true that there he played in a different position than usual. Vicente del Bosque, his last coach in that team, recovered him for the playmaker and defined his performances in the following way:
|“||It can not be denied that he is an individualist. But you also have to think that you need the partners. Many times the audience whistles at him because he keeps the ball, without thinking that maybe he does it because he has no other choice .||”|
|— Vicente del Bosque in 1994|
His biggest weaknesses as a footballer were muscle injuries (which separated him from the field almost the entire 1991–92 season) and his motivation. He also reproached himself for his addiction to tobacco.
Prosinečki was known for having a unique sports lifestyle, in May 1991 he came to declare that:
|“||I know that smoking is not good for an athlete, but it relaxes me. It's the only vice I have. Also, nobody lives a hundred years.||”|
|— Robert Prosinečki, Interview in May 1991|
During his time at Real Madrid, he had discussions with the board over his refusal to quit smoking and was criticized for his lifestyle with nighttime outings, something he denies.
|“||He'd smoke before the game, at half-time in the showers and after the game as well. Red Marlboros, too. The real heavy stuff." Crouch also mentioned: "I think I scored about 19 goals that season and he put pretty much every single one on a plate for me. He didn't speak much, but you knew he understood far more than he was letting on. You could speak to him one-on-one and he'd answer in perfect English, but as soon as you told him to track back, he'd reply: 'I don't understand.'||”|
|— Peter Crouch talks about Prosinečki|
Prosinečki was also a known as a drinker during his playing days.
|“||If it wasn't for spritzer, I'd be the greatest footballer in world.||”|
|— Robert Prosinečki, interview after retirement|
|1986–87||Dinamo Zagreb||First League||2||1||0||0||-||-||2||1|
|1987–88||Red Star Belgrade||First League||23||4||3||2||–||4||0||30||6|
|Spain||League||Copa del Rey||Supercopa||Europe||Total|
|1991–92||Real Madrid||La Liga||3||1||0||0||–||2||1||5||2|
|Croatia||League||Croatian Cup||League Cup||Europe||Total|
|1997–98||Croatia Zagreb||Prva HNL||16||5||3||1||-||10||5||29||11|
|Belgium||League||Belgian Cup||League Cup||Europe||Total|
|2000–01||Standard Liège||First Division||21||4||2||1||-||-||23||5|
|England||League||FA Cup||League Cup||Europe||Total|
|Slovenia||League||Slovenian Cup||League Cup||Europe||Total|
|Croatia||League||Croatian Cup||League Cup||Europe||Total|
|2003–04||NK Zagreb||Prva HNL||26||5||1||0||-||0||0||27||5|
|Yugoslavia national team|
|Croatia national team|
Prosinečki has 49 caps for Croatia and has scored 10 goals for his country. He was also capped 15 times, scoring four goals, for Yugoslavia. In 1987, Prosinečki was named the tournament's best player as Yugoslavia won the World Youth Championship in Chile along with fellow Croatians Zvonimir Boban, Robert Jarni, Davor Šuker and Igor Štimac. He then played for Yugoslavia at the 1990 World Cup and for Croatia at Euro 96 and the 1998 and 2002 World Cups. It was in 1998 that Prosinečki and the Croatian squad won third place in the World Cup, with Prosinečki scoring two goals along the way - this making him the only player in history to have scored World Cup finals goals for two nations.
- Results list Yugoslavia's goal
|1||20 September 1989||Stadium of Vojvodina, Novi Sad, Yugoslavia||Greece||2 – 0||3 – 0||Friendly|
|2||19 June 1990||Stadio Renato Dall'Ara, Bologna, Italy||United Arab Emirates||4 – 1||4 – 1||World Cup 1990|
|3||12 September 1990||Windsor Park, Belfast, Northern Ireland||Northern Ireland||0 – 2||0 – 2||Euro 1992 Qualifying|
|4||16 May 1991||Stadion Crvena Zvezda, Belgrade, Yugoslavia||Faroe Islands||2 – 0||7 – 0||Euro 1992 Qualifying|
- Results list Croatia's goal
|1||23 March 1994||Estadio Luís Casanova, Valencia, Spain||Spain||0 – 1||0 – 2||Friendly|
|2||25 March 1995||Maksimir Stadium, Zagreb, Croatia||Ukraine||3 – 0||4 – 0||Euro 1996 Qualifying|
|3||26 April 1995||Maksimir Stadium, Zagreb, Croatia||Slovenia||1 – 0||2 – 0||Euro 1996 Qualifying|
|4||2 April 1997||Poljud, Split, Croatia||Slovenia||1 – 0||3 – 3||World Cup 1998 Qualifying|
|5||3 June 1998||Kantrida Stadium, Rijeka, Croatia||Iran||1 – 0||2 – 0||Friendly|
|6||6 June 1998||Maksimir Stadium, Zagreb, Croatia||Australia||3 – 0||7 – 0||Friendly|
|7||14 June 1998||Stade Félix Bollaert, Lens, France||Jamaica||1 – 2||1 – 3||World Cup 1998|
|8||11 July 1998||Parc des Princes, Paris, France||Netherlands||0 – 1||1 – 2||World Cup 1998|
|9||5 September 2001||Stadio Olimpico, Serravalle, San Marino||San Marino||0 – 2||0 – 4||World Cup 2002 Qualifying|
|10||5 September 2001||Stadio Olimpico, Serravalle, San Marino||San Marino||0 – 4||0 – 4||World Cup 2002 Qualifying|
He is the only player in World Cup history to score for two national teams. In 1990, he scored one goal for Yugoslavia in a group match against the United Arab Emirates and eight years later he added two goals for Croatia by scoring in a group match against Jamaica and in the third place match against the Netherlands. He played in a total of nine World Cup matches, three for Yugoslavia in 1990 and six for Croatia in 1998 and 2002.
Prosinečki began his coaching career in 2006 as an assistant to head coach Slaven Bilić at the Croatian national football team.
Red Star Belgrade
In December 2010 during the mid-season winter break in 2010-11 Serbian Superliga, Prosinečki was announced as the new head coach of Red Star Belgrade. Returning to the club of his biggest playing successes, the announcement made major headlines all over the Balkans and also generated plenty of buzz in the rest of Europe. The angle of Prosinečki being the first Croatian to coach in Serbia following the Yugoslav Wars also got a lot of attention. His annual salary was not officially disclosed, however, Serbian press speculated with figures from US$100,000 to $250,000 per year.
Fifteen matches into the season, the famous yet recently beleaguered Serbian club was in second place, five points behind league leaders FK Partizan. Red Star brass led by club president Vladan Lukić (Prosinečki's former teammate at Marakana) thus steered clear of stating league title as an explicit requirement for the club legend, still, it was understood that making an outside run at the title remained a priority. Prosinečki announced his intent to mold Red Star into an attacking team that utilizes short-passing game to break down opponents, picking Slobodan Marović and Žarko Đurović (also Red Star colleagues from playing days) to be his assistants. Immediately, however, the issue of Prosinečki's pro coaching licence came up when it was discovered that he may not yet meet criteria for one, which according to Serbian Superliga rules would preclude him from being physically present on the sidelines during official matches. The things were straightened out by the time league restarted and Prosinečki's bench debut, which was scheduled to take place versus FK Smederevo at Marakana on 26 February 2011.
His side finished in second place, six points off bitter rivals FK Partizan. The following season, the 2011/12 season, his side again finished in second place and again second to Partizan, this time the margin was doubled from six to twelve points. In August 2012 Prosinečki resigned as a manager of Red Star.
During next two months Prosinečki was linked to various teams, most notably Croatian sides HNK Rijeka and RNK Split, his former team Olimpija Ljubljana and even Slovenia national team. But on 15 October 2012 it was surprisingly announced that Prosinečki will replace Shota Arveladze as a manager of struggling Kayserispor in Turkish Super League. He became the new head coach of Kayserispor at the 8th week of the 2012–13 Süper Lig, and he gained 13 wins in 27 league matches and finished the league at 5th position.
The start of the 2013–14 season was not so successful for Prosinečki and his team. After achieving only one victory in 11 rounds, Kayserispor was at the bottom of the league table. In November 2013 Prosinečki resigned but his resignation was not accepted by the club board. A month and a half later, the club record had not improved. Kayserispor was 17th on the Süper Lig table and lost to Tokatspor in the Turkish Cup. On the last days of 2013 Prosinečki definitively resigned as manager of Kayserispor.
On 1 December 2014, Prosinečki was named as new manager of Azerbaijan national football team, replacing Berti Vogts with a two-year contract until UEFA Euro 2016. His contract fee was reported around 1.5 million dollars. After three years spent in Azerbaijan it was announced that he will not extend his contract for two more years with Azerbaijan football federation.
Bosnia and Herzegovina
- As of 15 October 2018
|Red Star Belgrade||2010||2012||62||43||10||9||69.35|
|Bosnia and Herzegovina||2018||present||8||5||3||0||62.50|
- Red Star Belgrade
- Real Madrid
- Dinamo Zagreb
- Olimpija Ljubljana
- Yugoslavia Youth
- 1998 FIFA World Cup (Third place)
- FIFA World Youth Championship Golden Ball: 1987
- FIFA World Cup Best Young Player: 1990
- Yugoslav Footballer of the Year: 1990
- Večernji list football player of the year: 1990, 1997
- Bravo Award: 1991
- 1991 FIFA World Player of the Year: 4th place
- 1991 Ballon d'Or: 5th place
- Croatian Footballer of the Year: 1997
- Franjo Bučar State Award for Sport (2): 1997, 1998
- Croatian Cup Top Scorer: 2000
- PFA First Division Team of the Year: 2001–02
- Portsmouth F.C. All-time XI
- Only non-British player to be voted into all-time best Portsmouth eleven
- 6th Zvezdina zvezda
- NK Dinamo Zagreb All-time XI
- Only player to score in the World Cup finals for two teams
- Red Star Belgrade
- Order of Danica Hrvatska with face of Franjo Bučar - 1995
- Order of the Croatian Trefoil - 1998
Prosinečki has also participated in Minifootball tournaments in Kutija Šibica. He won first place in 1998 with team Moby Dick Segafredo and in 2002, 2003, 2004 with team Riva Grupa. In 1997 Moby Dick came in second place. In 2003 Prosinečki was awarded best player of the tournament.
Prosinečki even coached a team named Promotionplay in 2006 where they lost 5–0 in the final.
Relationship with Ćiro Blažević
During the late 1980s and early 1990s, parallel with Prosinečki's rise to football superstardom at Red Star Belgrade, Real Madrid, FC Barcelona as well as Yugoslav and Croatian national teams, the story of him being chased away from Dinamo Zagreb in 1987 by the famous coach Ćiro Blažević grew in Croatian and Yugoslav media and public. To this day it is often cited and referenced as an example of football mismanagement, poor judgement, and bad work with youth categories. Colourful Blažević, the villain of the piece, rarely talked on the record about the circumstances of Prosinečki's departure. However, in 2010, Blažević deflected responsibility for the flap by claiming he actually gave the youngster a four-year contract that was eventually, according to Blažević, annulled by Dinamo president Ante Pavlović on a technicality due to not being processed administratively by the subfederation responsible. On the same occasion, Blažević went on to accuse Prosinečki's father Đuro of not negotiating in good faith with Dinamo by saying "he already had his combination with Red Star". Asked about his famous quote about eating his diploma if Prosinečki ever became a player, Blažević responded that he only used it as a motivation tool.
Blažević and Prosinečki would reignite their simmering feud eleven years later during the 1998 World Cup where they were part of the Croatian national team that made it all the way to the semifinals. In the semifinal match that Croatia lost 1-2 versus eventual winners France after going ahead 1–0, Blažević decided to leave 29-year-old Prosinečki on the bench (he eventually entered the contest in the 90th minute, coming on for Mario Stanić), which led to a lot of criticism.
Court case versus Dinamo
In the summer of 1997, 28-year-old Prosinečki came back to Zagreb in order to play for the club where he started his professional career. Now called "Croatia Zagreb", the club was turned into a state project bankrolled by the Croatian government's highest echelons and personally supported by president Franjo Tuđman. By 2000, Prosinečki left Croatia Zagreb, but in late 2001 decided to initiate a lawsuit against the club (whose name was now restored back to Dinamo after continuous fan protests) over DM1,550,000 (€750,000) in unpaid wages.
Years later in 2009, court ruled against Prosinečki, mostly due to asserting that the lawsuit against Dinamo had no merit since Prosinečki played for Croatia Zagreb, and not Dinamo Zagreb. Commenting on the verdict in late 2009, Prosinečki said he was cheated out of his money.
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- ""Kutija šibica": Riva grupa obranila naslov" (in Croatian). index.hr.
- "Agrokor 5-0 Promotionplay: Agrokor pobjednik Kutije šibica" (in Croatian). nogometni-magazin.com.
- Ćiro otkrio tajnu kako je Prosinečki završio u Zvezdi! Archived 14 May 2011 at the Wayback Machine.;net.hr, 4 June 2010
- Prosinečki tuži Dinamo zbog neisplaćenih 1,550.000 DEM;Vjesnik, 20 November 2001
- Prosinečki: Kao da nikad nisam igrao za Dinamo;net.hr, 13 November 2009
- net.hr interview;December 2009
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