Zajec with Dinamo Zagreb in 2010
|Date of birth||12 February 1956|
|Place of birth||Zagreb, FPR Yugoslavia|
|Height||1.78 m (5 ft 10 in)|
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
Zajec began his career at Dinamo Zagreb in 1974, aged 18. During 10 years at the club, he helped them to two domestic cup wins, as well as the league title, their first title honour in 24 years. In 1979 and 1984, he was named the Yugoslav Footballer of the Year.
Following retirement, he spent two years (1989–1991) as Director of Football at former club Dinamo Zagreb before returning to Panathinaikos to run their academy. Before long, he was promoted to head coach of the club. After a period he again, he returned to Zagreb, this time as head coach, before moving once more back to Panathinaikos in 2002 to become Director of Football.
In late October 1998, Zajec replaced Zlatko Kranjčar as manager at Dinamo Zagreb (then known as Croatia Zagreb), following Kranjčar's poor record in the UEFA Champions League group stage, where the team only managed to grab a single point in three matches (drawing with Ajax at home, before losing to both Olympiacos and Porto on the road). The team's performance in the UEFA Champions League improved under Zajec, as they managed to stay undefeated in the remaining three group matches, beating Porto and Ajax and drawing with Olympiacos. Dinamo nevertheless did not manage to go through to the quarter-finals after finishing second in their group, behind Olympiacos (at the time, only the first-place finishers and the two best second-place finishers went through).
In 2004, he moved to English club Portsmouth to take up a position as executive director. He took over as temporary team manager following the resignation of Harry Redknapp in November 2004 and was confirmed as the new manager on 21 December 2004. Five months later, he reverted to his intended director's role, following the arrival of Alain Perrin. He resigned from his position at Fratton Park on 10 October 2005 due to personal reasons.
On 25 May 2010, Zajec was appointed new coach at Dinamo Zagreb, returning to the club as coach after 11 years. However, Zajec was sacked on 9 August 2010, after leading Dinamo in just 8 competitive matches, winning the 2010 Croatian Supercup, exiting the 2010–11 Champions League in the second qualifying round, and picking up four points in the first three matches in the 2010–11 Prva HNL.
- Zajec named as Pompey boss, BBC Sport, 21 December 2004
- Zajec resigns from Portsmouth job, BBC Sport, 10 October 2005
- Zajec: Želim Ligu prvaka, ali ne obećavam ništa, tportal.hr, 25 May 2010 (Croatian)
- Attias, Vedran (9 August 2010). "Dinamo smijenio Velimira Zajeca!". Sportnet.hr (in Croatian). Retrieved 9 August 2010.
- Velimir Zajec – FIFA competition record
- Velimir Zajec at National-Football-Teams.com
- Velimir Zajec profile at the Serbia national football team website (Serbian)