Pletikosa with Rostov against Dynamo Moscow.
|Full name||Stipe Pletikosa|
|Date of birth||8 January 1979|
|Place of birth||Split, SR Croatia, SFR Yugoslavia|
|Height||1.93 m (6 ft 4 in)|
|2005–2006||→ Hajduk Split (loan)||21||(0)|
|2010–2011||→ Tottenham Hotspur (loan)||0||(0)|
|2015–2016||Deportivo La Coruña||2||(0)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 14 May 2016.
Pletikosa began his professional career with Hajduk Split in Croatia, transferred to Shakhtar Donetsk in Ukraine, then joined Spartak Moscow in 2007. After spending one season with Tottenham Hotspur in the English Premier League, he returned to Russia in 2011 with Rostov, then moved to Deportivo de La Coruña of La Liga in 2015, where he retired.
Pletikosa made his international debut for Croatia in 1999, and went on to represent the country in five major tournaments. He is the second-most capped player in the history of the Croatian national team after Darijo Srna, having made 114 appearances. Pletikosa retired from international football following the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
Pletikosa began his career at Croatian club Hajduk Split. He was selected as first-team goalkeeper for the 1998–99 season by manager Ivan Katalinić, replacing the veteran Tonči Gabrić. Hajduk fans nicknamed him "Octopus" ("Hobotnica") for his excellent reflexes and coordination. In 2002, he was named by magazine Večernji list as Croatian Player of the Year, the only goalkeeper other than Zoran Simović to have won the award.
In 2003, Pletikosa and teammate Darijo Srna transferred to Shakhtar Donetsk for €2 million. Unlike Srna, Pletikosa did not succeed at the club and was subsequently loaned back to Hajduk in 2005. His second spell at Hajduk proved successful and earned him a starting place in Croatia's 2006 World Cup squad. Pletikosa returned to Shakhtar the following season, but found himself second choice to Jan Laštůvka, prompting the goalkeeper to seek a move. Shakhtar accepted a bid of €3 million from Dinamo Zagreb, but Pletikosa rejected the move due to his loyalty to Hajduk, Dinamo's biggest rivals. A loan move to Fulham also fell through as he could not gain a work permit.
On 7 March, the Russian football federation's transfer deadline day, Pletikosa signed a three-year, €3 million contract to join Spartak Moscow. He featured regularly for the first-team until 2009, when he was less favoured by manager Valeri Karpin.
On 31 August 2010, Pletikosa signed a season-long loan with Tottenham Hotspur of the Premier League. He made his Tottenham debut in a 4–1 home defeat against Arsenal in the League Cup on 21 September 2010. It was his only appearance for the team.
In July 2011, Pletikosa began a trial at Scottish Premier League club Celtic, playing in friendly matches away to Cardiff City and at home to Premier League side Wolverhampton Wanderers, in which he failed to impress. In August 2011, manager Neil Lennon decided not to keep him as a member of the squad.
Deportivo La Coruña
Pletikosa made his Croatia senior debut as a 20-year-old against Denmark in 1999, winning plaudits for his dog-like reflexes and shot-stopping. But insecurity over the handling of high balls took a heavy toll at the 2000 UEFA European Under-21 Championship in Slovakia, where Croatia finished last in their group.
Pletikosa worked hard to correct the weaknesses in his game. Under former Croatia head coach Mirko Jozić, he became his country's first-choice goalkeeper, playing all three matches at the 2002 FIFA World Cup finals. Pletikosa blossomed, using all of his 1.93-metre frame when dealing with difficult crosses.
Named as Croatia's first-choice goalkeeper at the UEFA Euro 2004 in Portugal, he sustained an injury a few days before the beginning of the tournament and was replaced by reserve goalkeeper Tomislav Butina. Butina retained the position of number one goalkeeper during the qualification rounds for the 2006 World Cup. As a result, Pletikosa appeared in only two qualifying matches. Nevertheless, Pletikosa was chosen over Butina in the finals, since Butina was still recovering from an injury sustained early in the year.
At Euro 2008, Pletikosa was named Man of the Match in Croatia's opening victory against Austria, making many saves to preserve Croatia's 1–0 lead from an early penalty. On 16 June 2008, during the match between Austria and Germany, BBC pundit Alan Hansen stated his belief that Pletikosa had been "the best goalkeeper in the tournament" up to that point, ahead of more well-known contemporaries such as Petr Čech, Gianluigi Buffon and Iker Casillas, although his colleague Alan Shearer said Edwin van der Sar had been equally impressive. However, Buffon, Casillas and Van der Sar were eventually voted to the Team of the Tournament.
In the opening match of the 2014 World Cup, played on 12 June against hosts Brazil, a penalty was given against Croatia with the match tied 1–1. Pletikosa made contact with Neymar's spot kick, but could not prevent it from going in. Croatia eventually lost 3–1. On 17 July 2014, following the World Cup, Pletikosa announced his retirement from the national team.
- As of Match played 14 May 2016
|1996–97||Hajduk Split||Prva HNL||1||0||0||0||—||1||0|
|2003–04||Shakhtar Donetsk||Ukrainian Premier League||23||0||6||0||0||0||29||0|
|2005–06||Hajduk Split (loan)||Prva HNL||21||0||—||—||21||0|
|2006–07||Shakhtar Donetsk||Ukrainian Premier League||3||0||1||0||0||0||4||0|
|2007||Spartak Moscow||Russian Premier League||29||0||9||0||—||38||0|
|2010–11||Tottenham Hotspur (loan)||Premier League||0||0||0||0||0||0||1||0||1||0|
|2011–12||Rostov||Russian Premier League||23||0||0||0||—||2||0||25||0|
|2015–16||Deportivo La Coruña||La Liga||2||0||—||2||0|
|Deportivo La Coruña||2||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||2||0|
|Croatia national team|
Statistics accurate as of match played 23 June 2014
- Hajduk Split
- Shakhtar Donetsk
- Heart of Hajduk Award: 2000, 2002
- Prva HNL Player of the Year: 2001, 2002
- Croatian Footballer of the Year: 2002
- "2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil: List of Players" (PDF). FIFA. 11 June 2014. p. 12. Retrieved 8 July 2014.
- "Premier League Player Profile". Premier League. Retrieved 6 April 2011.
- "Pletikosa calls time on Croatia career". FIFA. 19 July 2014.
- "Tottenham Hotspur complete Stipe Pletikosa loan deal". BBC Sport. 31 August 2010. Retrieved 31 August 2010.
- Brian, Marjoribanks (27 July 2011). "Celtic 0 Wolves 2: Hoops's trialists fail to shine as McCarthy's men triumph". Daily Mail. London. Retrieved 12 August 2012.
- "Pletikosa joins Rostov". FIFA.com. 6 August 2011. Retrieved 30 September 2011.
- "El meta croata Pletikosa firma hasta junio" [Croatian goalkeeper Pletikosa signs until June] (in Spanish). Marca. 20 December 2015. Retrieved 24 December 2015.
- "Srna strikes as Croatia beat South Korea". GOLTV. 6 February 2014. Retrieved 2 July 2014.
- "Brazil 3-1 Croatia". BBC Sport. 12 June 2014. Retrieved 12 June 2014.
- "Stipe Pletikosa odlučio završiti reprezentativnu karijeru" (in Croatian). Večernji list. 17 July 2014. Retrieved 17 July 2014.
- "S.Pletikosa Stats". Soccerway. Retrieved 23 March 2014.
- "Stipe Pletikosa – Century of International Appearances". Rec.Sport.Soccer Statistics Foundation. Retrieved 10 January 2015.
- "Stipe Pletikosa: "U Međugorju je počeo moj put k vjeri"". medugorju-info.com (in Croatian). 12 November 2015. Retrieved 30 May 2016.
- "World Cup 2014: Croatia – the secrets behind the players". The Guardian. 31 May 2014. Retrieved 30 May 2016.
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