Zlatko Kranjčar

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Zlatko Kranjčar
Zlatko Kranjčar by Tasnimnews 1.jpg
Personal information
Date of birth (1956-11-15) 15 November 1956 (age 60)
Place of birth Zagreb, FPR Yugoslavia
Playing position Striker
Club information
Current team
Sepahan (manager)
Youth career
1966–1973 Dinamo Zagreb
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1973–1983 Dinamo Zagreb 261 (98)
1983–1990 Rapid Vienna 201 (106)
1990–1991 VSE St. Pölten 12 (2)
Total 474 (206)
National team
1977–1983 Yugoslavia 11 (3)
1990 Croatia 2 (1)
Teams managed
1991–1992 Austria Klagenfurt
1992–1994 Segesta
1994–1996 Dinamo Zagreb
1996 FC Linz
1997 Slaven Belupo
1997 Segesta
1997–1998 NK Samobor
1998 Dinamo Zagreb
1999–2000 El-Masry
2000 Mura
2000–2001 Marsonia
2001–2002 NK Zagreb
2002–2003 NK Rijeka
2003–2004 NK Zagreb
2004–2006 Croatia
2006–2007 Croatia Sesvete
2007 Al-Shaab Sharjah
2009 DAC Dunajská Streda
2009–2010 Persepolis
2010–2011 Montenegro
2011–2014 Sepahan
2015–2016 Al-Ahli
2016 Dinamo Zagreb
2017– Sepahan
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.

Zlatko "Cico" Kranjčar (pronounced [zlâtko t͡sǐːt͡so krâɲt͡ʃaːr]; born 15 November 1956) is a Croatian football manager and former striker. He currently manages Sepahan in Iran Pro League.

Club career[edit]

Kranjčar started to play for Dinamo Zagreb at the age of 10 in 1966 and stayed in the club until 1983. He appeared in a total of 556 matches for the club and scored 98 goals in the championship. Then he transferred to Austrian club Rapid Vienna for which he played until 1990. The last club in his playing career was VSE St. Pölten for which he played for two months in late 1990.

International career[edit]

Between 1977 and 1983 he collected 11 caps and scored 3 goals for Yugoslavia. He also has two caps and scored one goal for the Croatian national team and is notable as the first team captain of the Croatian team in their first international match against the United States on 17 October 1990 in Zagreb.

Coaching career[edit]

Early years[edit]

Kranjčar started his coaching career in 1991 as an advisor at Austria Klagenfurt. From 1992 until 1994 he coached a Croatian club HNK Segesta and in 1994 he transferred to Croatia Zagreb, where he won the Croatian Championship and Cup in his first season. In 1996, he returned to Austria to coach FC Linz. A year later he was back in Croatia where he coached the clubs NK Slaven Belupo, HNK Segesta (again) and NK Samobor. In 1998, he came back to Croatia Zagreb and led the club to another win in both the Croatian Championship and Cup as well as to an appearance in the UEFA Champions League. In 1999, he started to coach an Egyptian club Al-Masry and in 2000 he went on to coach a Slovenian club NK Mura, where he also stayed for one season. In 2002, he became the Croatian championship winner with NK Zagreb.


After Croatia's unsuccessful appearance at Euro 2004, Kranjčar was named the new coach of the country's national squad and he led the team in 18 international matches. They played fifteen matches in the World Cup 2006 qualifying rounds and won the group, but performed relatively badly in their three 2006 World Cup finals matches and were eliminated in the group stages. Due to this, the Croatian Football Federation decided not to renew his contract on 14 July 2006. In June 2007, he took over a coaching position with the United Arab Emirates team Al-Shaab but was sacked in December after a dispute with the board about player selection. On 22 April 2009, he was named as the new head coach of DAC 1904 Dunajská Streda.


On 1 July 2009, he was appointed as head coach of Iran Pro League side Persepolis after signed a two years contract.[1] Despite having good players such as Karim Bagheri, Misagh Memarzadeh, Sepehr Heidari, Shpejtim Arifi and Sheys Rezaei, Persepolis was unsuccessful in the first weeks of the season. He was sacked by the club chairman, Habib Kashani on 25 September 2009 after his loss against Paykan but he was returned to the club after the support of the technical committee five days later.[2]

His contract was renewed until the end of half season. He was replaced by Ali Daei on 28 December 2009 after his contract was expired.


In February 2010 he took over the Montenegro national team from Zoran Filipovic having a very poor start with two defeats in two friendly matches against Macedonia (away) and Albania (home) and a third defeat with Norway against which Zoran Filipović had a stunning 3–1 home victory. He was dismissed on 8 September 2011, following Montenegro's defeat to Wales in a UEFA Euro 2012 qualifier six days earlier.[3]



He was signed to a two-year contract with Iran Pro League three time champion, Sepahan on 28 October 2011 replaces his compatriot Luka Bonačić.[4] In his first match as Sepahan head coach, Sepahan made a 0–0 draw with Persepolis which Kranjčar was its head coach in 2009.

In the next match Sepahan beat Foolad 2–0 with goals comes from Emad Ridha and Milorad Janjuš. After that, Sepahan had two consecutive 1–1 draw with Shahin Bushehr and Zob Ahan – as in Isfahan derby. Kranjčar saw his side's first away win in match against Mes Sarcheshmeh which Sepahan win the game 2–0. It was last pre-midseason break match. Sepahan finished the mid season in second place, six point behind of Esteghlal.

During the January transfer windows, Armenia's league Brazilian top goalscorer Bruno Correa was joined to the team as a successor of Ibrahima Touré. They also bought Xhevahir Sukaj from Turkish club, Gençlerbirliği. Mohammad Hassan Rajabzadeh was sold to Malavan and Milorad Janjuš joines Shahrdari Tabriz. Farzad Hatami also not renewed his contract and joins Tractor Sazi.

In the start of the second half of the Iranian league, Esteghlal hosted Sepahan, which with Sepahan's win, the team could reduce their point different with Esteghlal to three points but the match was end 1-1, keep the point difference in six. Kranjčar's first loss was in match against Saba. Sepahan was lost that match 1–2 with a late goal from Reza Enayati. Sepahan backs with a 4–0 win against Sanat Naft Abadan. Sepahan also defeated Shahrdari Tabriz 1–0 in the next match. With a 1-0 win against Damash Gilan, Sepahan was promoted to the first place after Esteghlal's poor results in the last weeks. They haven't slipped from their place despite a 1–0 loss against Tractor Sazi.

They started AFC Champions league successfully with a 1–0 win against UAE side Al-Nasr. Then had a 1–1 draw with Al Ahli and a 2–1 win against Qatar Stars League champion Lekhwiya, finished the 1st round in the first. In the 2nd round, they had a late minute's loss against Lekhwiya but defeated Al-Nasr 3–0 in their home despite they deliberately gently passed a penalty to the Al Nasr goalkeeper having won a controversial spot kick moments after their opponents put the ball out of play following an injury. 15 days later, Sepahan defeated Al-Ahli 2–1 in home with a late goal from Mohsen Bengar and won the group.

On 11 May 2012, Sepahan clinched the title for the fourth time (three in a row) and first under Kranjčar with a draw with Mes Sarcheshmeh. They also defeated Esteghlal in the Round of 16 of the ACL and reached to the Quarter-finals.


Kranjčar in a pre-season with Sepahan in Kish Island

At the end of the last game of 2011–12 season, Mohsen Bengar announced that he will be leave Sepahan after eight years. He joines Persepolis two weeks later along with Jalal Hosseini. Rahman Ahmadi and Hashem Beikzadeh also backs to their former sides, Saipa and Esteghlal. Mehdi Karimian and Mehdi Seyed-Salehi were sold to Tractor Sazi. Sepahan also bought Mohammad Bagher Sadeghi, Farshid Talebi and Mohammad-Ali Ahmadi from their rival, Zob Ahan. They also sings with two Damash Gilan players, Mohammad Gholami and Milad Zeneyedpour. Mohsen Irannejad also joins to their team as a Free Agent. They also signed with seven players from Sepahan youth. At the last days of the transfer window, they beat Persepolis and Esteghlal in signing Mohammad Reza Khalatbari who plays last season in Al-Wasl. They also signs Radomir Đalović and Ervin Bulku.

Fabio Januario and Bruno Correa also left Sepahan and joins Esteghlal and Al-Nasr. Sepahan started the new league with a 1–0 win over Mes Kerman with a goal from Hadi Tamini. They also defeated Foolad in their home ground 3–1, with goals from new signing Radomir Đalović, Omid Ebrahimi and Xhevahir Sukaj. Five days later, Sepahan faced with Rah Ahan in Fooladshahr Stadium and earned a 2–2 draw, making stop to the winning streak of Sepahan. They defeated their rival Zob Ahan in Esfahan derby 4–0 with goals of Hadi Ta'mini, Đalović, Navidkia and Jamshidian, the win help Sepahan to reach to top of table of the league. Sepahan suffered first defeat by Saipa 0–2 at home with shines from the team's last season goalkeeper Rahman Ahmadi which was loaned to Saipa. Five days later, Sepahan also defeated in home of Paykan which led Sepahan to the seventh rank. After that, Sepahan beat Fajr Sepasi, the team that started the league very successfully with goal from Sukaj and drew with Sanat Naft 1–1 at Abadan. In the Quarter-finals of the 2012 AFC Champions League, Sepahan faced with Al-Ahli of Saudi Arabia which ended with a goalless draw at Fooladshahr. Kranjčar defeated his former side, Persepolis 2–0 with goals from Adel Kolahkaj and Sukaj in a match name Iran Derby or Iranian El-classico. They also beat Malavan with same result away from their home. Sepahan was eliminated from Champions League with a 4–1 defeat to Al-Ahli. After this, Alireza Marzban, the assistant of Kranjčar in Sepahan parts away his contract with Sepahan and left his job. Sepahan changed a win with draw in match with Saba Qom with a 90+4 goal. Sepahan suffered the heaviest defeat in league under Kranjčar (and also second in history of Iran Pro League) in match against Tractor Sazi 4–1 and defeated Naft Tehran 4–3 which was 1–3 until the twenty minutes remaining. Sepahan suffered the third home lost in match against Esteghlal with a goal from former Sepahan player, Khosro Heydari. Sepahan defeated newly promoted Gahar Zagros 2–1 with a late goal from Mohammad-Reza Khalatbari and Damash Gilan 3–0. At the final match of the first half of the league, Sepahan made a 1–1 draw with Aluminium but earn the title of winter champions after Esteghlal lost to Damash.

Zlatko Kranjčar's side was faced with Foolad in Round of 32 of Hazfi Cup on 13 December 2012 which defeated them 2–1 at Isfahan. They defeated Mes Rafsanjan, Sanat Naft and Esteghlal on next matches to reach to the final. In final, his side won against Persepolis 4–2 on penalties to crown their 4th domestic cup title in last ten years. In his second season as Sepahan head coach, his side finished in 3rd place, three points behind winner, Esteghlal.


Kranjčar in press conference before a Hazfi Cup match in 2013

Kranjčar renewed his contract with Sepahan on 14 May 2013 for two more seasons despite offers from Persepolis, Tractor Sazi, Rapid Wien, Al-Hilal and Al-Wasl. Yaghoub Karimi, Ali Hamoudi, Shoja' Khalilzadeh and Mojtaba Jabbari joins the team, Hadi Aghili and Rahman Ahmadi also returns to the team and Arash Afshin joined on loan from Foolad in the summer transfer window. Ahmad Jamshidian also left the team to Esteghlal, Mohammad Bagher Sadeghi sold to Saipa and Milan Susak, Mohammad Reza Khalatbari and Farshid Talebi were transferred to Al-Wasl, Ajman and Tractor Sazi.

Sepahan began the season with a 2–0 win over Foolad. Sepahan also defeated Esteghlal at Azadi Stadium 2–1 with goals from Arash Afshin and Hadi Aghily. Sepahan was at the top of the table until the week 4 when they lost to Tractor Sazi. At the end of the season, Sepahan finished fourth and missed the AFC Champions League spot after eight consecutive season. They also knock out of the 2014 ACL season in the group stage.

Sepahan was also knock out from Hazfi Cup in Round of 32 by Azadegan League side Sanat Naft and was unable to repeat their last season's glory.


Sepahan began 2014–15 season with three wins in row. Kranjčar's Sepahan defeated Paykan 2–0 in their opening match at Isfahan. They defeated Gostaresh with the same result in the next match. At the next match, they faced Esteghlal in which they won 3–1, their first win over Esteghlal in home after two years. Sepahan was suffered a heavy defeat against Naft Tehran in the fourth week which finished 3–0. In the next three matches, Sepahan not won any match, which matches was finished 1–1 over title-holders Foolad, Zob Ahan and Malavan.

On 8 September 2014, Kranjčar resigned as Sepahan manager for an unannounced reason.[5] He was replaced with Hossein Faraki.


On 7 February 2015, Kranjčar was named as new manager of Doha-based club Al-Ahli, signing a two-year contract. He was sacked on 1 February 2016 after a run of poor results.

Return to Sepahan[edit]

On 17 March 2017, Kranjčar returned to Iranian club Sepahan with signing a two-year contract.

Managerial statistics[edit]

As of 22 August 2017
Nat Team From To Record
G W D L GF GA +/- Win %
Croatia Segesta July 1992 May 1994 64 22 15 27 79 88 −9 034.38
Croatia Dinamo Zagreb July 1994 July 1996 52 33 12 7 99 39 +60 063.46
Croatia Samobor May 1997 January 1998 10 9 1 0 26 8 +18 090.00
Egypt El-Masry February 1999 August 2000 30 20 5 5 44 10 +34 066.67
Croatia Rijeka June 2002 June 2003 22 5 3 14 23 33 −10 022.73
Croatia Croatia July 2004 August 2006 25 11 8 6 29 15 +14 044.00
Iran Persepolis July 2009 December 2009 21 8 9 4 31 24 +7 038.10
Montenegro Montenegro February 2010 September 2011 12 6 2 4 14 11 +3 050.00
Iran Sepahan October 2011 September 2014 120 62 34 24 181 108 +73 051.67
Qatar Al-Ahli February 2015 February 2016 36 17 11 8 55 37 +18 047.22
Croatia Dinamo Zagreb July 2016 September 2016 16 11 2 3 28 18 +10 068.75
Iran Sepahan March 2017 Present 11 5 4 2 13 10 +3 045.45


Kranjčar after winning Hazfi Cup in 2013 with Sepahan


Dinamo Zagreb
Rapid Wien


Dinamo Zagreb
NK Zagreb


Personal life[edit]

He was married in 1983 and has a son, Niko who plays for Scottish premiership club Rangers F.C . His son and his daughter in law, Simona has a baby girl by the name of Loree who was born on 7 March 2011. He is fluent in German.


  1. ^ (in Persian) 24sata Archived 13 February 2010 at the Wayback Machine. Dubravko Milicic:Cico Kranjcar dobio otkaz vec nakon prvoga poraza, Sep 26, 2009
  2. ^ (in Croatian) [1] Kranjcar is sacked temporary, Sep 25, 2009
  3. ^ Gašparac, Maja (8 September 2011). "Kranjcar više nije izbornik Crne Gore". Sportnet.hr (in Croatian). Retrieved 8 September 2011. 
  4. ^ (in Persian) Goal Kranjcar becomes new Sepahan head coach, Oct 28, 2011
  5. ^ Zlatko Kranjčar resigned as Sepahan boss

External links[edit]

Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Amir Ghalenoei
Iran Pro League Winning Manager
Succeeded by
Amir Ghalenoei