Srđan Mrkušić

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Srđan Mrkušić
Personal information
Full name Srđan Mrkušić
Date of birth (1915-05-26)May 26, 1915
Place of birth Podgora,[1] Austria-Hungary
Date of death October 30, 2007(2007-10-30) (aged 92)
Place of death Belgrade, Serbia
Playing position Goalkeeper
Youth career
0000–1934 AŠK Split
1934–1935 Hajduk Split
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1935–1936 Hajduk Split 35 (0)
1936–1944 BSK Belgrade ? (?)
1945 PR Serbia team 2 (0)
1945 Milicionar Belgrade ? (?)
1946–1954 Red Star Belgrade 49 (0)
National team
1941, 1949–1950 Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia KofY/FPRY 11 (0)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of March 12, 2007.
‡ National team caps and goals correct as of March 12, 2007

Srđan Mrkušić (May 26, 1915 – October 30, 2007) was a Yugoslav football goalkeeper, legendary "third back"[1] and forestry engineer.

With a long professional football career that spanned more than two decades, he is known for representing FPR Yugoslavia at the 1950 World Cup as well as for being one of only seven footballers who represented both the pre and post World War II Yugoslavia.

He also went down in history as one of the founders of Red Star Belgrade football club in early March 1945.

Simultaneous to his football career, Mrkušić managed to earn a university degree in forestry. Following the end of his football playing days, he began working as engineer.

Football career[edit]

Club[edit]

Born in a small Dalmatian town of Podgora, Mrkušić started playing football in the city of Split where he moved to for gymnasium studies. Initially his parents, especially mother, vehemently objected, feeling that football isn't socially suitable and proper activity for their son.[1]

His first club was AŠK Split, where at age 18 he got spotted by Luka Kaliterna[1] who persuaded Mrkušić to join Hajduk Split's youth ranks in 1934.

In 1935 he made his first team debut for Hajduk. Only a year later, after graduating high school, having played the total of 35 matches for Hajduk, Mrkušić moved to Belgrade where he started playing for powerhouse BSK, a team for which he ended up appearing in more than 350 competitive matches over the next decade.

His career would soon be put on hold due to World War II. He formally stayed on BSK's roster despite the fact the team didn't compete in any league. Mrkušić saw virtually no football action over the next four years.

Mrkušić played in the first post-WW2 league championship in the new communist Yugoslavia. He represented the People's Republic of Serbia team that ended up winning the national title that year.

In those years, simultaneous to re-establishing the nationwide league championship, new Yugoslav communist authorities were also busy dissolving existing pre-war football clubs and founding new ones. In reality this mostly meant that players and infrastructure from old clubs were reassigned and reassembled under a new name and new leadership. Mrkušić got assigned to such a club that was in the process of being formed by the state security. The club would eventually be named Red Star, and Mrkušić ended up becoming one of its founders. Over the next decade, he grew into a dependable keeper, helping Red Star to three Yugoslav Cup titles. On September 9, 1953 Mrkušić played in what would turn out to be the last league match of his career as his Red Star faced Spartak Subotica. He was 38 years, three months and thirteen days old on this occasion, making him the oldest player to appear in the Yugoslav First League match.

National team[edit]

On 23 March 1941, some two weeks before the Nazi German invasion of Yugoslavia, 25-year-old Mrkušić made his debut for Kingdom of Yugoslavia national team in a match versus Hungary.

Following the end of war, he appeared 10 more times in the Federal People's Republic of Yugoslavia national team jersey (three of those caps came at the 1950 World Cup in Brazil). He contributed greatly to Yugoslavia's 1950 World Cup qualifying campaign, putting in a particularly glowing performance on 11 December 1949 in Florence versus France at a deciding qualifying playoff game that Yugoslavia won 3-2 after extra-time.

Mrkušić's very last national team appearance took place on 8 October 1950 in a friendly versus Austria. Already 35 years old at this point, he stepped aside, making way for up-and-coming 22-year-old Vladimir Beara.

Post-football[edit]

After retirement from football, Mrkušić continued living in Belgrade.

Since he graduated from University of Belgrade in 1946 with a forestry degree, he decided to seek employment in that field after his football career ended in 1955. He worked in his second profession for decades afterwards, during which among other things he was involved in construction and long-term maintenance of football pitches.

He was also actively involved with Red Star Belgrade veterans' organization.

Mrkušić died in Belgrade, after a short illness, on October 30, 2007.

Sources[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d (in Croatian) Novi list Mišo Cvijanović: Nije balun za fini svit!, Jan 1, 2007, accessed Oct 8, 2011