Former Croatia Captain and Shakhtar Veteran Darijo Srna Goes to Serie A

By 23 June 2018

Darijo Srna has extended his career for at least another year, signing for the Italian first-league team, Cagliari.

Former captain of the Croatia national team with a record number of performances for the ‘Vatreni’, 36-year-old Darijo Srna will continue in the ranks of Italy's first-team Cagliari, with whom he signed a one-year contract with an extension option for a second, reports on June 23, 2018. 

It was reported at the end of May that Srna would leave Shakhtar to continue his career in warmer weather at PAOK from Thessaloniki. Greek media even announced that the 36-year-old was welcomed at the airport by PAOK sports director Luboš Michel, a former Slovak referee. The coach of PAOK, Romanian Razvan Lucescu, is the son of Srna’s longtime trainer at Shakhtar. Precisely, Razvan is the son of Mircea Lucescu, who was the coach of Shakhtar from 2004 to 2016. Media reports claimed that Srna was to sign a one-year contract with PAOK with the option of extending it for another year with a salary of 500,000 euro. But that obviously fell through. 

Srna started his career at Hajduk Split, from which he moved to Ukraine to play for Shakhtar Donetsk in 2003. In the 15 seasons he competed in the Shakhtar shirt, he became a record player for the club with 536 matches in all competitions, and as the captain of Shakhtar, he also won the 2009 UEFA Cup.

For the Croatian national team, Srna played 134 matches and scored 22 goals.

In September last year, Srna was suspended for doping and is currently serving an 11-month suspension which expires on August 22, 2018, after which he will have the right to appear for his new club.

It was clear that Srna would not say end his football career with a doping scandal - and because the Croatian footballer was forced to miss out on an entire season, he was certain he would continue his career somewhere other than Shakhtar for at least one last season. 

"Fans want me to be in the club, but my football career will end on the field! It was long and great, and I deserve to finish it on the pitch. Out of respect for my father and my family, to all the supporters who were with me all this time. I'm sure I'll play somewhere else, and I want to play. I want to play the last year for fun, for good. Shakhtar was always my club, and I was always ready to give everything to it. For me, there is only one club in Ukraine, and it is Shakhtar, so I will continue my career outside of Ukraine," Darijo said in the interview, which you can read here

Best of luck to Srna in the Serie A!