Pletikosa with Rostov in 2014
|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)|
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 7 June 2015.
Stipe Pletikosa (pronounced [stǐːpe plětikosa]; born 8 January 1979) is a Croatian professional footballer who last played for the Russian club FC Rostov, and previously the Croatia national team as a goalkeeper. Pletikosa started his professional career with Hajduk Split, from where he was transferred to Shakhtar Donetsk, before joining Spartak Moscow in 2007. In 2011, after spending one season with Tottenham Hotspur, he signed with FC Rostov. He made his international debut for Croatia in 1999, and went on to represent the country in five major tournaments. After Darijo Srna, he is the second most capped player in the history of Croatia national team, for which he has 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 then manager Ivan Katalinić, replacing the ageing Tonči Gabrić. Pletikosa's excellent reflexes and coordination lead to Hajduk fans nicknaming him 'octopus' (hobotnica). In 2002, he was named Večernji list Croatian player of the year; Zoran Simovic was the only goalkeeper to have won this award previously.
In 2003 Pletikosa alongside teammate Darijo Srna transferred to Shakhtar Donetsk for €2 million. Unlike Srna, Pletikosa did not succeed at the club, and was loaned out back to Hajduk Split 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. A bid of €3 million from Dinamo Zagreb was accepted, but Pletikosa rejected due to his loyalty to Hajduk, the club's biggest rivals. A loan move to Fulham also failed as he could not gain a work permit.
On 7 March, Russia's transfer deadline day, Pletikosa signed for Spartak Moscow for a fee of €3 million, signing a three-year contract. He featured regularly for the first team until 2009, where he was less favoured by manager Valery Karpin.
On 31 August 2010, he signed a season-long loan with Tottenham Hotspur of the Premier League. He made his Tottenham debut in a 1–4 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 in which he played in both an away match vs Cardiff City and a home friendly vs Premier League side Wolverhampton Wanderers failed to impress in both games. In August 2011 manager Neil Lennon decided he would not pursue the goalkeeper any further.
Pletikosa made his Croatia 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 European under-21 championship in Slovakia, where Croatia finished last in their group.
Pletikosa worked hard on improving the weaknesses in his game and under former Croatia coach Mirko Jozić, he became his country's first-choice goalkeeper, playing in all three matches at the 2002 FIFA World Cup finals. The once nervous though talented Pletikosa had blossomed, making full use of every centimetre of his 1.93-metre frame and possessing a far greater assurance when dealing with difficult high balls.
He was also supposed to be Croatia's first goalkeeper at the UEFA Euro 2004 in Portugal, but sustained an injury a few days before the beginning of the tournament and the position of the team's first goalkeeper was taken by Tomislav Butina, who was up to that time his first reserve. Butina retained the position in the 2006 FIFA World Cup qualifying, so Pletikosa appeared in only two qualifying matches. Nevertheless, when the finals tournament started, Pletikosa was chosen over Butina, who had still been recovering from an injury sustained early in the year.
At UEFA Euro 2008, he was named Man of the Match in Croatia's opening victory against Austria, in which he made many saves to help his side to hang on to a very narrow victory after the Austrians began to completely dominate the Croatian outfit after the first, and only, penalty goal. 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" thus far, ahead of more well-known contemporaries such as Petr Čech, Gianluigi Buffon and Iker Casillas, although his colleague Alan Shearer said that Edwin van der Sar had been equally impressive. Buffon, Casillas and Van der Sar were voted the three goalkeepers named in the Team of the Tournament.
In the opening match of the 2014 FIFA World Cup, on 12 June against the hosts Brazil in São Paulo, a penalty was given against Croatia when the score was 1–1. The spot-kick was taken by Neymar, and Pletikosa made contact with it but could not prevent it from deflecting 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 26 July 2014
|1996–97||Hajduk Split||Prva HNL||1||0||0||0||—||1||0|
|2003–04||Shakhtar Donetsk||Ukrainian Premier League||23||0||4||0||0||0||27||0|
|2005–06||Hajduk Split||Prva HNL (loan)||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||2||0||—||31||0|
|2010–11||Tottenham Hotspur (loan)||Premier League||0||0||0||0||—||1||0||1||0|
|2011–12||Rostov||Russian Premier League||23||0||0||0||—||2||0||25||0|
|Croatia national team|
Statistics accurate as of match played 23 June 2014
- Hajduk Split
- Shakhtar Donetsk
- FC Rostov
- 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.
- "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.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Stipe Pletikosa.|
- Stipe Pletikosa – FIFA competition record
- Stipe Pletikosa statistics and biography at FootballDatabase.com
- Stipe Pletikosa at National-Football-Teams.com
- Stipe Pletikosa at the Croatian Football Federation website (Croatian)
- English Premier League profile