Ćorluka with Lokomotiv Moscow in 2015
|Full name||Vedran Ćorluka|
|Date of birth||5 February 1986|
|Place of birth||Derventa, SFR Yugoslavia|
|Height||1.92 m (6 ft 3 1⁄2 in)|
|2004–2005||→ Inter Zaprešić (loan)||27||(4)|
|2012||→ Bayer Leverkusen (loan)||7||(0)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 4 December 2016.
‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 12 November 2016
Vedran Ćorluka (pronounced [ʋědran t͡ɕǒrluka]; born 5 February 1986) is a Croatian footballer who plays for and captains Lokomotiv Moscow and the Croatia national team. He plays as a centre-back, though he has played in other positions across the defensive line, most notably as the right-back.
Ćorluka graduated from the Dinamo Zagreb Youth Academy, before making his professional debut for the senior team in 2003. In 2007, he made a £8 million move to English Premier League club Manchester City, and after a season moved on to Tottenham Hotspur. He spent four seasons there before joining Lokomotiv.
Internationally, Ćorluka represented Croatia at various youth levels before making his first team debut in August 2006, in the friendly match against world champions Italy. Since then, he has represented the country at the European Championships in 2008, 2012, 2016 and at the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
Ćorluka was born in Derventa, SR Bosnia and Herzegovina, SFR Yugoslavia. His parents, Jozo and Anđa, come from Modran, a village near Derventa. Due to the war in Bosnia, in 1992 the family moved to Zagreb, where his father still works as an engineer in addition to being Ćorluka's manager. His mother is a judge. Vedran has one brother. Ćorluka began playing football in Dinamo Zagreb's youth teams when he was eight years old, impressing many scouts from the youth academy. He professional career began in 2003, but during that season he made no appearance for the first team. He was sent on a one-year loan to Inter Zaprešić, helping the team place second in the league, before returning to Dinamo in 2005. After establishing himself as a key player for Dinamo, he helped the club win the Croatian First League title three seasons in a row from 2005–06. He also played a dominant part in his side capturing the Croatian Cup in the 2006 season.
After consistently strong performances, Ćorluka was signed by English Premier League side Manchester City on 2 August 2007. City did not reveal the fee, though Croatian media reports suggested the deal was worth around £8 million, with the 21-year-old penning a five-year deal.
As usual, Ćorluka consistently found a starting spot for his side in the Premier League. Despite a nightmare blunder during his side's shocking 6–0 defeat to Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, he remained strong during his first season in England as his side finished ninth in the league and gained entry to a UEFA Cup qualifying round via the UEFA fair play ranking. On few rare occasions, he was also used as a defensive midfielder during the season, proving to be a factor for opposing attackers.
Ćorluka scored his first goal in the 4–2 loss at Aston Villa on the opening weekend of the 2008–09 season. In the UEFA Cup second qualifying round match second leg, Ćorluka scored the decisive spot kick in the dramatic 4–2 penalty shoot-out victory over Danish minnows Midtjylland after the tie had ended 1–1 on aggregate. He played his last match for City against Sunderland on 31 August 2008, throwing his shirt into the crowd at the end of the match.
On 1 September 2008, it was announced that Ćorluka had signed for Tottenham Hotspur for a fee of £5.5 million on a six-year contract, joining his fellow Croatian international and best friend Luka Modrić at the club. During the match against Stoke City on 19 October, Ćorluka was severely injured; kneed under his chin by teammate Heurelho Gomes, he was immediately knocked unconscious. After ten minutes of on-field treatment, he was rushed to hospital where it was announced no serious damage was evident. In the League Cup final on 1 March 2009, Ćorluka scored his first and Tottenham's only penalty in the shootout loss to Manchester United.
Ćorluka scored his first Premier League goal for Spurs during a 2–2 draw against Bolton Wanderers on 3 October 2009. On 2 February 2011, he started and played the full 90 minutes at right-back ahead of the injured Alan Hutton in the 1–0 victory over Blackburn Rovers at Ewood Park.
Bayer Leverkusen loan
In the January 2012 transfer window, Ćorluka signed on loan for German Bundesliga club Bayer Leverkusen for the remainder of the 2011–12 season on 31 January, with the option to buy out his contract in the summer transfer window.
Ćorluka made his debut for the club in a 2–2 home draw against VfB Stuttgart at the BayArena on 4 February, playing the full 90 minutes. In his only Champions League appearance for the club, Ćorluka provided the cross for Michal Kadlec's leveler in the 52nd minute before being substituted in the 90th minute by Danny da Costa, losing 3–1 to Barcelona. On 25 February, the defender provided an assist for the first of Lars Bender's brace in the 2–0 win over 1. FC Köln. The Croatian's last appearance for the club came in a 4–1 thrashing of 1. FC Nürnberg on 5 May, a game in which Leverkusen striker Stefan Kießling scored a hat-trick.
Despite Leverkusen having an option to buy his contract off at the end of season, the club decided not to pursue the option, with financial difficulties being cited as the main obstacle.
On 27 June 2012, Lokomotiv Moscow announced the signing of Ćorluka from Tottenham for £5.5 million. The signing came in light of recent naming of former Croatia national team Slaven Bilić as the manager of Lokomotiv. Ćorluka signed a three-year contract following the successful completion of his medical examination. He scored on his debut against newly promoted Mordovia Saransk in a 3–2 victory. In September 2012, March 2014, and December 2014 Ćorluka won the monthly poll among Loko supporters in the social networks and was named the best club player of the month. In June 2015, after Ćorluka helped Lokomotiv to win Russian Cup, fans named him team's Player of the Year.
He started to play for the Croatia under-21 team and eventually progressed to his country's senior national team, for which he soon made his debut in the friendly match against world champions Italy on 16 August 2006 in Livorno. Croatia won the match 2–0 and Ćorluka, aged 20 during his debut, entered the game in the second half and satisfied critics with his very good, solid performance against experienced Serie A forwards.
During Croatia's UEFA Euro 2008 qualifying campaign, he became one of the key players under head coach Slaven Bilić. Croatia finished first in Group E, notably ahead of Russia and favourites England, who eventually failed to qualify from the group.
Ćorluka was in the final match of the tournament where Croatia's exit came against Turkey in extra time and penalties. Turkey winger Arda Turan revealed in an interview with UEFA that Ćorluka is the most difficult right-back he has ever played against, whom he came up against during this match.
|Inter Zaprešić (loan)||Prva HNL||2004–05||27||4||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||27||4|
|Dinamo Zagreb||Prva HNL||2005–06||31||3||2||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||33||4|
|Manchester City||Premier League||2007–08||35||0||3||0||3||0||0||0||0||0||41||0|
|Tottenham Hotspur||Premier League||2008–09||34||0||2||0||5||0||0||0||0||0||41||0|
|Bayer Leverkusen (loan)||Bundesliga||2011–12||7||0||0||0||0||0||1||0||0||0||8||0|
|Lokomotiv Moscow||Russian Premier League||2012–13||27||1||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||28||1|
- As of 12 November 2016
- Scores and results list Croatia's goal tally first.
|1.||8 October 2009||Stadion Kantrida, Rijeka, Croatia||Qatar||1–0||3–2||Friendly|
|2.||11 November 2011||Türk Telekom Arena, Istanbul, Turkey||Turkey||3–0||3–0||UEFA Euro 2012 qualifying|
|3.||25 May 2012||Stadion Aldo Drosina, Pula, Croatia||Estonia||1–0||3–1||Friendly|
|4.||12 October 2012||Philip II Arena, Skopje, Macedonia||Macedonia||1–1||2–1||2014 FIFA World Cup qualification|
- Dinamo Zagreb
- Lokomotiv Moscow
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