Robert Prosinečki

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Robert Prosinečki
Robert Prosinecki 2012-mc.rs.jpg
Prosinečki as manager of Red Star Belgrade in 2012
Personal information
Full name Robert Prosinečki
Date of birth (1969-01-12) 12 January 1969 (age 51)
Place of birth Schwenningen, West Germany
Height 1.82 m (6 ft 0 in)
Playing position(s) Midfielder
Club information
Current team
Denizlispor (manager)
Youth career
1974–1980 Stuttgarter Kickers
1980–1986 Dinamo Zagreb
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1986–1987 Dinamo Zagreb 2 (1)
1987–1991 Red Star Belgrade 157 (37)
1991–1995 Real Madrid 73 (12)
1994–1995Oviedo (loan) 32 (5)
1995–1996 Barcelona 26 (2)
1996–1997 Sevilla 22 (4)
1997–2000 Croatia Zagreb 75 (28)
2000 Hrvatski Dragovoljac 4 (1)
2000–2001 Standard Liège 21 (4)
2001–2002 Portsmouth 35 (9)
2002–2003 Olimpija Ljubljana 27 (4)
2003–2004 NK Zagreb 27 (5)
2005 Savski Marof 4 (1)
Total 505 (112)
National team
1987 Yugoslavia U20 5 (1)
1989–1991 Yugoslavia 15 (4)
1994–2002 Croatia 49 (10)
Teams managed
2004–2005 NK Zagreb (assistant)
2006–2010 Croatia (assistant)
2010–2012 Red Star Belgrade
2012–2013 Kayserispor
2014–2017 Azerbaijan
2018–2019 Bosnia and Herzegovina
2019–2020 Kayserispor
2020– Denizlispor
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

Robert Prosinečki (Croatian pronunciation: [rǒbert prosinětʃkiː];[1][2] born 12 January 1969) is a Croatian professional football manager and former football midfielder who is the current manager of Süper Lig club Denizlispor. 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 team between 2006[3] 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 the 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 the Bosnia and Herzegovina national football team.[4] Prosinečki won UEFA Nations League group B and secured playoff for UEFA Euro 2021 without defeat.He was supposed to leave the national team almost two years later, in September 2019, after almost certainly failing to qualify directly to the 2020 UEFA European Championship,[5] but decided to stay as the head coach after consults with the Football Association of Bosnia and Herzegovina board of directors.[6]

On 27 November 2019, Prosinečki and the Football Association of Bosnia and Herzegovina reached mutual agreement and he left his role in the Bosnia and Herzegovina national football team.[7][8]

Early life and career[edit]

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,[9] and his mother Emilija Đoković is Serbian-Macedonian, originally from the Ježevica village near Čačak.[10][11]

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.

Club career[edit]

Dinamo Zagreb[edit]

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 the club hierarchy for a professional contract to be given to his 18-year-old son.[12] However, coach Blažević sent him away, famously claiming that he would eat his coaching diploma if Prosinečki ever became a real football player.[13][14]

Red Star Belgrade[edit]

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:

[In late May 1987], during one of our away trips 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.[15]

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 the 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.[16]

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.[17]

Real Madrid[edit]

Prosinečki joined the Spanish giants during the summer of 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.[18] Real was coming off a difficult season during which they made two coaching changes before barely managing a UEFA Cup spot by finishing third in La Liga under Antić, their third head coach that season.

However, pretty much immediately, twenty-two-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 three goals, however, it was still far off the expectations indicated by his reputation and price tag.

His best season at Real, 1993-94, was incidentally his last, with six league goals.

Rest of his stay in Spain[edit]

During the 1994 summer transfer window, Real brass decided that Prosinečki's physical fragility and injuries were too much to deal with and offloaded the twenty-five-year-old to Real Oviedo on a loan deal. Reuniting with Radomir Antić — the same head coach who brought him to Real three years earlier — Prosinečki played his best season yet in Spain, even winning a league match against his former club Real Madrid in May 1995.[19] 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.[20]

The arrival of his manager from Oviedo, Radomir Antić to Atlético Madrid motivated 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.[21] While the interest of the Colchoneros was made public, the other bid was not leaked to the press. At the end, Prosinečki became 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.[22] Ramón Mendoza did not want his eternal rival to take the midfielder free, but the bad economic situation of Real Madrid precipitated his departure.[23]

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 in the 1995–96 season. The following season, manager Bobby Robson reduced Prosinečki to friendly matches. After this, Prosinečki wanted to leave. On 14 December 1996, he was bought by Sevilla for €1,67 million. He played for the club for the rest of the season and was always a first choice pick for the team.[24]

Croatia Zagreb[edit]

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.[25]

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.[26]

The next two seasons 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 result in the competition. Prosinečki will be remembered by the fans most notably for his performances against Celtic and Manchester United.[26]

Hrvatski Dragovoljac and Standard Liège[edit]

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.[27]

In January 2001, he moved again to Standard Liège where he played until the end of the season finishing third in the Belgian First Division.

Portsmouth[edit]

In summer of 2001, 32-year-old Prosinečki signed for Division 1 (second-tier of the English football league system) side Portsmouth F.C. on a one-year deal.

Prosinečki is still held as a folk hero at Portsmouth for his marvelous one man performances in the centre of the midfield. The team were saved from relegation through his goals and assists in the 2001–02 season, the highlight of which was scoring a hat-trick against Barnsley.[28] 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.

After speaking with Prosinečki, retired Croatia international, Niko Kranjčar made the decision to sign for Portsmouth in the summer of 2006.[29]

Later career[edit]

He then had one-year stint at Olimpija Ljubljana. With Olimpija Ljubljana Prosinečki won his last trophy the 2003 Slovenian Cup, he even scored a goal in the final.[30]

Prosinečki played one more professional season in his home country for NK Zagreb.[31]

In spring 2005 he ended his career in low tier club NK Savski Marof.[32]

Style of play[edit]

Prosinečki, who was nicknamed Žuti (the Yellow One) throughout his career due to his blonde hair, was considered one of the most creative and technically skilled footballers who emerged from Eastern Europe in the 1980s. His favourite position was that of a pure midfielder, although he often also played as a right winger or as an attacking midfielder, and delayed his relocation to the centre of the pitch in order to elaborate and organize the attacking plays of his teammates with his passing, as the number 10 role best utilized his excellent vision of the game. He used to retain possession due to his dribbling skills and would impose his pace on rivals with his passing and ability to exploit spaces. On a technical level, he stood out for his ability to pass short, dribble, and drive forward with the ball. He also had a strong shot that made him dangerous from set pieces.[17][33][34][35]

His style was criticized at times by some Real Madrid fans, although he was often played out of position during his time in the Spanish capital. Vicente del Bosque, his last coach with the team, recovered him for the playmaker role and defined his performances in the following way:

It cannot 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 .

He also mentioned that his favourite coach that trained him was Johan Cruyff and that he liked his coaching style.[37]

His biggest weaknesses as a footballer were his proneness to muscle injuries (which saw him sidelined for almost the entire 1991–92 season), his poor defensive work-rate, his inconsistency, and his motivation. He also reproached himself for his addiction to tobacco.[38]

Reputation[edit]

As a player[edit]

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[39]

.

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.[39]

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[40]

[41]

International career[edit]

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 at the 1998 World Cup that Prosinečki and the Croatian squad managed a historic third-place finish, with Prosinečki scoring two goals throughout the tournament, including one in Croatia's 2–1 victory over Netherlands in the bronze-medal match; as a result, he is the only player in history to have scored World Cup finals goals for two different national teams.[34] 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.

Managerial career[edit]

Early career[edit]

Prosinečki began his managerial career in 2004 as an assistant to Mile Petković at NK Zagreb.

In 2006, he was named the assistant to head coach Slaven Bilić at the Croatia national football team.

As an assistant manager he was part of Croatia coaching staff at one major competition (EURO 2008).

Red Star Belgrade[edit]

In December 2010, during the mid-season winter break in the 2010–11 Serbian Superliga season, Prosinečki was announced as the new manager of Red Star Belgrade. Returning to the club of his biggest playing successes, the announcement made major headlines all over the Balkans[42][43] and also generated plenty of buzz in the rest of Europe.[44][45][46][47][48] The angle of Prosinečki being the first Croatian to coach in Serbia following the Yugoslav Wars also got a lot of attention.[49][50] His annual salary was not officially disclosed, however, Serbian press speculated with figures from US$100,000 to $250,000 per year.[51]

At the time of Prosinečki taking over, fifteen matches into the league 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,[52] even though he did win the 2011–12 Serbian Cup after beating FK Borac Čačak in the final 2–0, on 16 May 2012.[53]

Kayserispor[edit]

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.[54] 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.[55] 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. In the last days of 2013 Prosinečki definitively resigned as manager of Kayserispor.[56]

Azerbaijan[edit]

On 1 December 2014, Prosinečki was named the new manager of the 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 did not extend his contract for two more years with the Azerbaijan Football Association and left the team shortly after. Prosinečki is considered one of the finest coaches of Azerbaijan national team along with Bert Vogts.[57] Under his guidance Azerbaijan national team played well, having drawn against Croatia 0–0, undefeated against Norway, an away draw against Czech Republic, victory over Qatar 2–0, victory over Malta 2–0, biggest victory in Azerbaijan history 5–1 against San Marino.[58][59][60] Despite this, he opted to leave Azerbaijan, having failed to guide Azerbaijan to qualify for any major competitions.

Bosnia and Herzegovina[edit]

On 4 January 2018, Prosinečki was named as new manager of the Bosnia and Herzegovina national football team.[61]

On 15 November 2018, after a goalless 0–0 draw against Austria in the 2018–19 UEFA Nations League, Bosnia and Herzegovina topped their group and got promoted to the League A of the 2020–21 UEFA Nations League.[62] With that draw, Prosinečki tied Safet Sušić's record with a 10-game unbeaten run in all official matches as Bosnia and Herzegovina national team manager.[63] He secured play-offs for Euro 2020 by topping the group.

On 18 November, Prosinečki had a chance to make a new, 11-game unbeaten run record against Spain in a friendly match, but he did not, as Bosnia and Herzegovina lost 1–0 with a 78th-minute goal from Brais Méndez to secure Spain a win. Even though Bosnia and Herzegovina lost, throughout the whole match they were considered an equal opponent by some and some thought it showed what kind of change Prosinečki had made to the players and to their mentality and style of play.[64][65]

His biggest win as the Bosnia and Herzegovina national team head coach came on 5 September 2019, in a 5–0 home win against Liechtenstein in the UEFA Euro 2020 qualifiers.[66]

On 8 September 2019, three days after the Liechtenstein victory, Prosinečki resigned from the position of Bosnia and Herzegovina national team head coach after a 2–4 away loss against Armenia, thus losing almost every direct chance of qualifying for the Euros.[67][68] Two days later, on 10 September, Prosinečki decided to remain as the head coach.[69] He stated that after talks with the Bosnia and Herzegovina FA board of directors, they eventually convinced him to withdraw the decision.[70] His campaign during the qualifying had already been depressing, as Bosnia and Herzegovina suffered a shock 0–2 away loss to Finland, a poor 2–2 home draw with Greece and a 1–2 away defeat to Italy before the humiliating 2–4 loss away to Armenia.

Upon his first games following his decision to withdrawal the resignation as coach of the national team, Bosnia and Herzegovina managed to convincingly defeat Finland 4–1 at home soil to keep them on the race for the Euro spot.[71] However, Bosnia and Herzegovina suffered another humiliation when the team fell 1–2 away to already eliminated Greece, that unofficially eliminated Bosnia and Herzegovina from qualifying directly.[72] Prosinečki eventually upheld possibility that if Bosnia and Herzegovina couldn't qualify for the tournament via play-off, he would resign as the coach of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Bosnia and Herzegovina team then suffered one of the worst ever defeats in Bosnian football history and also his coaching career, when the team lost 0–3 at home to Italy, confirming Bosnia and Herzegovina's play-off position.

Because of this shocking dismal performance despite, having topped their Nations League group earlier, and a relatively positive football strength, having been seeded in Pot 2 and expected to easily qualify for the tournament as one of two best teams, and the presence of star striker Edin Džeko, Prosinečki's tenure as the Bosnia and Herzegovina coach in the qualifying was heavily criticized to be the worst performance ever in Bosnian football history, only to be appeased by the fact that Bosnia and Herzegovina had already secured the play-offs, making him one of four national team coaches that reached that phase of competition in Bosnian football history (Miroslav Blažević had reached the play-offs in 2009 for the 2010 FIFA World Cup; Safet Sušić had gotten to the play-offs for the UEFA Euro 2012 and qualified directly in 2014 for the 2014 FIFA World Cup and Mehmed Baždarević for getting to the play-offs for UEFA Euro 2016). All other national team managers in history hadn't reached play-offs or qualified directly for any major tournament.

On 27 November 2019, it was announced that Prosinečki and the Bosnia and Herzegovina FA had reached mutual agreement and Prosinečki had left his role as Bosnia and Herzegovina national team head coach.[73]

Return to Kayserispor[edit]

On 29 December 2019, Prosinečki came back to Kayserispor, managing the club for a second time in his managerial career and managing a club for the first time in over six years.[74] On August 6 2020,he left club after rejecting 2 year contract extension because of club transfer policy for next season which was conditioned by transfer limit determined by Turkish football federation.[75]

Denizlispor[edit]

On 10 August 2020, Prosinečki was named as new manager of Denizlispor.[76]

Minifootball[edit]

Prosinečki has also participated in Minifootball tournaments in Kutija Šibica [hr]. He won first place in 1989 with Termotehna Šela,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.[77][78]

Prosinečki even coached a team named Promotionplay in 2006 where they lost 5–0 in the final.[79]

On 26 December 2017 Prosinečki played at a humanitarian tournament Četiri kafića (Four cafés). Prosinečki got a standing ovation from the fans in Arena Gripe during his performances while playing.[80]

Entrepreneurship[edit]

In March 2007, several years following the end of his football playing career, Prosinečki decided to invest some of his earnings into launching a restaurant in Zagreb.[81][82] Named Prosikito, after the nickname Spanish press gave him during his time in Spain, the restaurant is located in the Zagreb neighbourhood of Stara Peščenica and is run day-to-day by his younger brother Sven Daniel.[83]

In late February 2016, in partnership with another retired footballer, Janko Janković, Prosinečki opened an 8-court indoor padel commercial facility called Padel.hr at the Zagreb Fair.[84] Prosinečki and Janković became aware of padel — a simplified version of tennis with elements of squash — during their respective professional footballing stints in Spain and decided to try to monetize it back home where it is largely unknown.[85] After struggling to attract patrons initially, the facility has reportedly recorded significant growth since with 7,000 registered players.[86]

Controversy[edit]

Relationship with Ćiro Blažević[edit]

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 judgment, and bad work with youth categories.[12] 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.[87]

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 semi-finals. In the semi-final 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[edit]

In the summer of 1997, twenty-eight-year-old Prosinečki came back to Zagreb in order to play for the club where he had started his professional career eleven years earlier. Now called "Croatia Zagreb", the club was turned into a state project bankrolled by the Croatian government's highest echelons and personally supported by the country's president Franjo Tuđman. By 2000, Prosinečki left Croatia Zagreb, but in late 2001, decided to initiate a lawsuit against the club (whose name had been restored back to Dinamo in the meantime due to continuous fan protests) over DM1,550,000 (€750,000) in unpaid wages.[88]

Years later in 2009, the court ruled against Prosinečki, asserting that the lawsuit against Dinamo had no merit since Prosinečki played for Croatia Zagreb, and not Dinamo Zagreb.[89] Commenting on the verdict in late 2009, Prosinečki said he was cheated out of his money.[90]

Career statistics[edit]

Sources:[91][92]

Club[edit]

Season Club League Cup League Cup Continental Total
Division Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Yugoslavia League Cup League Cup Continental Total
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
1988–89 33 4 2 0 2 0 37 4
1989–90 32 5 8 3 6 1 46 9
1990–91 29 12 6 2 9 4 44 18
Spain League Copa del Rey Supercopa Europe Total
1991–92 Real Madrid La Liga 3 1 0 0 2 1 5 2
1992–93 29 3 2 1 5 0 36 4
1993–94 23 6 4 0 2 0 5 0 32 6
1994–95 Real Oviedo 30 5 2 0 0 0 - - 32 5
1995–96 Barcelona 19 2 4 0 - 0 0 23 2
1996–97 0 0 3 0 3 0
Sevilla 20 4 2 0 - - 22 4
Croatia League Croatian Cup League Cup Europe Total
1997–98 Croatia Zagreb Prva HNL 16 5 3 1 - 10 5 29 11
1998–99 15 4 0 0 - 3 2 18 6
1999–2000 19 5 3 5 - 6 1 28 11
2000–01 Hrvatski Dragovoljac 4 1 0 0 - - 4 1
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
2001–02 Portsmouth First Division 33 9 1 0 1 0 35 9
Slovenia League Slovenian Cup League Cup Europe Total
2002–03 Olimpija Slovenian PrvaLiga 23 3 4 1 - - 27 4
Croatia League Croatian Cup League Cup Europe Total
2003–04 NK Zagreb Prva HNL 26 5 1 0 - 0 0 27 5
Total Yugoslavia 119 25 19 7 0 0 21 5 159 38
Spain 124 21 14 1 2 0 15 1 153 23
Croatia 80 20 7 6 0 0 19 8 106 34
Belgium 21 4 2 1 0 0 0 0 25 5
England 33 9 1 0 1 0 0 0 35 9
Slovenia 23 3 4 1 0 0 0 0 27 4
Career total 400 82 47 16 3 0 55 14 505 112

International[edit]

Source:[93]
Team Year Apps Goals
Yugoslavia 1989 5 1
1990 7 2
1991 3 1
Total 15 4
Croatia 1994 5 1
1995 5 2
1996 9 0
1997 7 1
1998 8 4
1999 0 0
2000 2 0
2001 8 2
2002 5 0
Total 49 10

International goals[edit]

Results list Yugoslavia's and Croatia's goal tallies first
No. Date Venue Opponent Score Result Competition
Yugoslavia goals
1 20 September 1989 Vojvodina Stadium, 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 1990 World Cup
3 12 September 1990 Windsor Park, Belfast, Northern Ireland  Northern Ireland 2 – 0 2 – 0 Euro 1992 qualifying
4 16 May 1991 Stadion Crvena Zvezda, Belgrade, Yugoslavia  Faroe Islands 2 – 0 7 – 0
Croatia goals
1 23 March 1994 Estadio Luís Casanova, Valencia, Spain  Spain 1 – 0 2 – 0 Friendly
2 25 March 1995 Stadion Maksimir, Zagreb, Croatia  Ukraine 3 – 0 4 – 0 Euro 1996 qualifying
3 26 April 1995  Slovenia 1 – 0 2 – 0
4 2 April 1997 Stadion Poljud, Split, Croatia 1 – 0 3 – 3 1998 World Cup qualification
5 3 June 1998 Stadion Kantrida, Rijeka, Croatia  Iran 1 – 0 2 – 0 Friendly
6 6 June 1998 Stadion Maksimir, Zagreb, Croatia  Australia 3 – 0 7 – 0
7 14 June 1998 Stade Félix Bollaert, Lens, France  Jamaica 2 – 0 3 – 1 1998 World Cup
8 11 July 1998 Parc des Princes, Paris, France  Netherlands 1 – 0 2 – 1
9 5 September 2001 Stadio Olimpico, Serravalle, San Marino  San Marino 2 – 0 4 – 0 2002 World Cup qualification
10 4 – 0

Managerial statistics[edit]

As of 25 July 2020
Managerial record by team and tenure
Team From To Record
G W D L Win %
Red Star Belgrade December 2010 August 2012 62 43 10 9 069.35
Kayserispor October 2012 December 2013 48 18 12 18 037.50
Azerbaijan December 2014 November 2017 22 6 6 10 027.27
Bosnia and Herzegovina January 2018 November 2019 22 9 6 7 040.91
Kayserispor December 2019 August 2020 18 6 5 7 033.33
Denizlispor August 2020 0 0 0 !
Total 169 81 39 49 047.93

Honours[edit]

Player[edit]

Red Star Belgrade

Real Madrid

Dinamo Zagreb

Olimpija Ljubljana

Yugoslavia U20

Yugoslavia U21

Croatia

Individual

Manager[edit]

Red Star Belgrade

Orders[edit]

Personal[edit]

In June 1999, Prosinečki married his girlfriend Vlatka.[97] The couple's first child, daughter Leonarda, was born in 1999 followed by another daughter, Roberta, in 2003.[97]

Prosinečki smoked throughout his career playing professional football,[98] which many of his former teammates talked about in form of anecdotes.[99]

References[edit]

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External links[edit]