Monday, 12 September 2022

Valdas Dambrauskas No Longer Coach of Hajduk Split

September 12, 2022 - Valdas Dambrauskas is no longer the coach of the HNK Hajduk. 

As of today, Valdas Dambrauskas is no longer the coach of the HNK Hajduk first team. Mutual termination of cooperation was agreed upon. As a result, his assistants Marius Skinderis and Justinas Gasiunas are leaving with him, announced Hajduk

In the coming period, the team will be led by coach Mislav Karoglan, who, as an assistant coach, participated in the work of the past two professional coaching staff. The Club will inform the public about his assistants.

Coach Dambrauskas took over the first team on November 2, 2021, and Hajduk played 38 official matches under his leadership, achieving 23 wins, eight draws, and seven losses. In total, he recorded 60.5% of victories, and if we look exclusively at league games, he won 71.1% of points. In his debut match, he won against Hrvatski Dragovoljac at Poljud 2:0, and his most significant victory was achieved recently in the championship match against Slaven Belupo, which Hajduk won 5:1.

He will be remembered as the coach who brought the first trophy to Poljud after nine years, defeating Rijeka in the SuperSport Croatian Football Cup final. Until the end of last season, his team fought for both national trophies. The last time he led the team was in Šubićevac, where Hajduk drew 1:1 against Šibenik.

"We would like to thank coach Dambrauskas from the bottom of our hearts for the cooperation so far, and especially for the passion, knowledge, and energy shown by leading Hajduk, and we wish him the best of luck and success in the continuation of his coaching career," said Hajduk. 

Hajduk President Lukša Jakobušić publicly thanked the former coach and explained the reasons for this decision:

"Valdas Dambrauskas is no longer the coach of the first team, and in the coming period, the first team will be led by his former assistant Mislav Karoglan. Since his arrival, Valdas has brought energy and passion to the Club, and he subordinated his knowledge to Hajduk and created the atmosphere, and thus the game and the result. After a long time, Hajduk fought for trophies in the Cup and the championship. In the end, he succeeded. True, we finished in second place in the championship, but we won the Cup at Poljud. We all know what that means, and we've seen what it means to him. It is almost unimaginable for us that someone who was not born in this climate assimilates and connects with the Club in this way. Unfortunately, the atmosphere and energy we had at the end of last season did not translate into this season, and we were unable to follow the atmosphere and energy we have around the Club with performances and results on the pitch. 

Most of the public knows what kind of relationship the sports director and I have with the coach. A relationship full of sincerity and respect. That alone made this decision more difficult for us. All three of us have always been guided by the Club's interests, and this decision should be seen in that context.

The public has created an image that second place is a reality for us this season. Maybe that is true, but we will not and cannot be satisfied with that. Second place has yet to be won, and the Club must strive for the highest goals. I repeat, this decision should be viewed in that context because ours is not only to solve but also to anticipate problems.

I wish Valdas Dambrauskas all the luck in life, with the statistics that are almost impossible, the trophy he brought after many years, and his positive attitude, he showed that he loves this Club. Hajduk's doors are always open to him."

To follow the latest sports news in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Sunday, 28 August 2022

A1 Motorway Incident - Masked Hajduk Fans Create 9-kilometre Queue

August 28, 2022 - In the afternoon on Sunday, there was a standstill on the A1 motorway, and several kilometres long queues were formed due to an incident with Hajduk fans who stopped on the motorway and got out of their vehicles masked.

As Dnevnik writes, the police prevented a clash between the fans, but the traffic problems continued even after that. Although Croatian Auto Club (HAK) announced around 4:00 p.m. that the part of the motorway in question was reopened to traffic, readers of Dnevnik reported around 5:00 p.m. that they were still standing in place and not moving.

24sata video

“It's a kilometer-long queue. We're not even moving forward. People with small children started getting out of their cars”, a Dnevnik reader reported.

The police department of the Lika-SenjCounty explained that a long queue has formed and that it took time for traffic to start again.

“It's going slowly, the column is almost not moving towards the north. The police are on the ground and they are solving the situation so that traffic can start as soon as possible”, they said.

The Croatian Auto Club announced earlier on Sunday that traffic was stopped between the Gospić and Gornja Ploča junctions near the Jadova rest stop in the direction of Zagreb due to an incident with fans, and the queue was nine kilometres long.

Twitter: Ministry of the Interior

Police found baseball bats by the side of the road

As reported by PD Lika-Senj, there was no conflict between the fans who are now under police surveillance.

The Ministry of the Interior published photos from the motorway on Twitter and information that traffic was stopped by Hajduk fans traveling to Zagreb and Osijek, who got out of their vehicles masked with helmets and clothes. They added that the possible cause was a conflict with Dinamo fans traveling to Šibenik.

The police also announced that they found baseball bats on the side of the road, but they emphasised that the conflict between the fans was prevented without police intervention and the use of coercive means.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated News section.

Thursday, 25 August 2022

Hajduk Drops Out of UEFA Europa Conference League After Play-off Defeat to Villarreal

August 25, 2022 - Hajduk has dropped out of the UEFA Europa Conference League on a 2-6 aggregate to Villarreal. The Split club lost 0:2 at Poljud on Thursday night. 

Hajduk and Villarreal met in the second leg of the Conference League play-off at a sold-out Poljud stadium on Thursday. In the first match, Villarreal won 4:2 in Valencia, meaning Hajduk needed to score three goals to have a chance. 

Villarreal is one of the best European teams and was certainly the favorite to move ahead. The Spanish club is last year's Champions League semi-finalist, and Europa League champions the season before that, knocking out Dinamo Zagreb on their way to the title.

Hajduk had met Spanish clubs five times so far in European competitions but failed to move past them. 

"It will be a difficult test because Villarreal likes to control the game and have possession of the ball. We have to be patient and focused for the whole 90 minutes and pay attention to small details," Hajduk coach Valdas Dambrauskas said before the match. 

"In that beautiful stadium, we expect a good atmosphere in which we will try to manage the match," said Villarreal coach Unai Emery. 

Lineups

HAJDUK: Kalinić - Mikanović, Awaziem, Elez, Melnjak - Grgić, Fossati - Sahiti, Krovinović, Biuk - Livaja

VILLARREAL: Reina - Kiko, Mandi, Cuenca, Pedraza - Chukwueze, Parejo, Coquelin, Baena - Lo Celso, Nicolas

Match report

Villarreal had their first attack in the 2nd minute, which went out for a goal kick. Melnjak played a hospital ball to a Villarreal player at the top of the box. Kalinic luckily saved the shot, but Hajduk fouled in the next play. A free-kick awarded to Villarreal found the head of Baena, who went over the post. 

It was a shaky first five minutes for Hajduk, who was playing nervously. 

A quick counter which started from Awaziem found Sahiti on the right and went out for Hajduk's first corner. The ball was played out by the Villarreal defense and sent back in by Sahiti, who found Livaja's head. Marko just missed near post. 

Another attack for Hajduk came in the 10th minute and Fossati managed to get a shot off which was blocked. 

Another shaky instance in the Hajduk defense came a minute later and was luckily cleared by Melnjak. 

Another brilliant attack by Hajduk in the 14th minute saw Livaja get a shot off which was deflected out for a corner. Krovinovic found Livaja again, whose one-touch shot went over the goal.  

Sahiti dribbled through the Villarreal defense in the next play and shot at the keeper. Livaja tried lobbing the keeper from the halfway line in the 16th minute.  And he hit another rocket that went just wide of the far post in the next play. 

Mikanovic was shown a yellow card in the 19th minute. 

Villarreal tried a quick counter in the 22nd minute but shot straight at Kalinic. Hajduk countered back and Biuk got a shot off which was deflected to Reina. 

Hajduk was hungry and had another corner in the 25th minute, followed by another after that. 

Villarreal started to possess the ball and tried to move into the box. Nicolas' fancy footwork couldn't move past Hajduk's defense. 

A Hajduk free kick in the 30th minute was played short to Biuk on the left. The young midfielder cut into the middle and fell for a foul, but the ref said to play on. Hajduk's next attack was called offside. 

A dangerous free kick for Villarreal in the 34th minute was taken in front of the corner spot. Luckily the ball went straight to Kalinic. 

But just a few minutes later, Pedraza had his chance, playing around Hajduk's defense with no one in the block. He shot far post into Kalinic's goal for 0:1 Villarreal. Hajduk's hope had dwindled. 

A Livaja free kick in the 41st minute was taken from about 30 meters out and went just wide of the post. The first half ended 0:1 for Villarreal. 

Villarreal made one sub to start the second half - Capoue went on for Coquelin. Hajduk did not make any changes. 

A dangerous chance for Villarreal came in the 47th minute, which was blocked by the Hajduk defense. A standout save by Kalinic in the 51st minute stopped Villarreal from going ahead by two goals. 

Another attack for Villarreal in the next minute went out for a corner. Hajduk managed to clear any dangerous plays and tried to calmly move the ball into Villarreal's half but could not get a shot off. 

In the next attack, Chukwueze's shot slipped through Kalinic's hands and into the goal for 0:2 Villarreal. Hajduk would now need 4 goals to bring the match to extra time. 

Villarreal made substitutions in the 58th minute - Moreno came on for Jackson and Morales for Lo Celso. 

Hajduk made their first subs in the 59th minute - Lovrencsics came on for Mikanovic and Mlakar for Sahiti. 

Fossati was subbed off for Vukovic in the 65th minute.  

Mlakar had a great chance to score a minute later but just missed the far post. 

Krovinovic was fouled right on the corner of the box in the 71st minute. The same player took the free kick, which went out for a goal kick. 

Hajduk had a free kick and a corner in the 75th minute without a chance for a goal. 

Pau Torres came on for Pedraza and Foyth for Kiko in the 79th minute. Colina came on for Melnjak and Simic for Elez in the same minute. 

There were no dangerous chances for either team in the final 10 minutes. The ref added 3 minutes of stoppage time, in which no one scored.

Hajduk has thus dropped out of the UEFA Europa Conference League. 

Post-match comments 

Villarreal coach Unai Emery

"We played against a team that is good today but also has a rich past. The atmosphere created by the fans was special, and we enjoyed it. I'm sorry when a team like Hajduk is left out of the European competition. With this kind of atmosphere and fans, it deserves to be in the European competition. I have to repeat that in the first game, we made several mistakes, and now we managed to improve some things that we did in the first game at a lower level. This is Europe; we have to be concentrated and satisfied with this kind of game."

Hajduk coach Valdas Dambrauskas

"I can't fault the players. We were ready and better than in the first game. The difference in class between us and Villarreal is too big, especially in two games. We turn to Osijek, which for us as the final, will not be easy, but we have to focus. We showed a level we can be proud of, but we have to improve," said Dambrauskas.

"A big thank you to the fans for their support during and after the match. It's a big responsibility. I'm not afraid to say it, and I know it sounds like a cliché, but we really have the best fans in Europe. We really do. Someone compares us to Napoli and Marseille, but we are not even the first in Croatia, we do not play in the European League nor the Conference League, and we have such support. The players and we are very proud to have this kind of support."

To follow the latest sports news in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Thursday, 18 August 2022

Tough Night for Hajduk as Villarreal Dominate in Conference League Play-off First Leg

August 18, 2022 - Villarreal dominates in the Conference League play-off first leg, beating Hajduk 4:2 in Spain. 

Villarreal and Hajduk met on Thursday in Valencia, Spain, for a spot in the Conference League group stage. 

Hajduk has been waiting 12 years for a spot in the group stage of a European competition. Tonight, they met last year's Champions League semi-finalist and Europa League champions the season before that, knocking out Dinamo Zagreb on their way to the title.

Villarreal had not seen defeat in their last ten games and recorded victories against Barcelona, Borussia Dortmund, and Inter. Villarreal is led by Unai Emery, who managed Sevilla, PSG, and Arsenal before Villarreal. 

"Hajduk Split is a big name; it has a history, and it commands maximum respect and admiration. I know that. Kalinić, Simić, and Livaja, are players who have an international reputation and are recognized around the world. It is important for us to win. I talk about Hajduk to my players with great respect,'' Emery said before the game.

According to estimates, over a thousand Hajduk fans arrived in Valencia for Thursday night's match. 

Lineups

Villarreal (4-4-2): Reina - De la Fuente, Mandi, Pau Torres, Pedraza - Chukwueze, Parejo, Capoue, Baena - Morales, Jackson

Hajduk(3-5-2): Kalinić - Elez, Borevković, Awaziem - Mikanović, Grgić, Krovinović, Sahiti, Melnjak - Biuk, Livaja

Match report

Villarreal had their first chance of the match already in the 2nd minute, but Chukuweze shot wide of the goal.

Not even a minute later, Hajduk countered and shocked Villarreal. Livaja found Stipe Biuk, who ran into the penalty area at the perfect time to put the ball into the back of the net for 0:1 Hajduk! 

Melnjak and Livaja played a one-two in the 7th minute, which saw Melnjak get a shot off, but it was saved by the Villarreal keeper Reina.

A dangerous situation in front of Kalinić's goal in the 10th minute, but Mikanović calmly played it out for a Villarreal corner.

Livaja was shown a yellow card in the 13th minute, which is his second in this play-off. 

Villarreal equalized in the 15th minute. Morales shot from 10 meters, checked Kalinic, and scored for 1:1. 

Three minutes later, it was 2:1 for Villarreal off of a Livaja own goal. 

A corner for Villarreal in the 22nd minute was cleared by the Hajduk defense.

Villarreal took control of the game and dangerously attacked Hajduk's half. Hajduk struggled to get possession of the ball.

Hajduk had a corner in the 28th minute. The play ended in Krovinovic crossing to Melnjak in the box, who played the keeper. Hajduk countered in the next minute and Krovinovic shot from 20 or so meters out after seeing Livaja was offside. Another shot went to Reina.

"Hajduceeee" was all you could hear from the Spanish stadium. The commentators said that "Villarreal may be dominating the game, but Torcida is dominating the stands."

Chukuweze tried finding Morales' head in the 34th minute, but his attempt went over the goal. Two minutes later, Hajduk's shaky defense allowed too much space for yet another goal. Morales scored 3:1 in the 36th minute. 

Mikanović tackled Morales on the edge of the penalty area in the 41st minute for a Villarreal free kick which went out for Hajduk's ball. 

Villarreal was just too good for Hajduk in the first half and totally controlled the game. Hajduk struggled to hold onto the ball and relied on quick counters to attack. 

A free kick was awarded for Hajduk in the 44th minute, which went off Villarreal for a Hajduk corner. One minute of stoppage time was added to the end of the half. Villarreal capitalized on a quick counter. Moreno found himself 1-on-1 with Kalinic to score for 4:1. 

The second half began without any changes. 

Hajduk held possession in the first few minutes, and Biuk's diagonal shot in the 47th minute was deflected for a Hajduk corner. 

Kalinic made a brilliant save on Baena's shot in the 54th minute. 

Hajduk's defense continued allowing too much space for Villarreal. 

Biuk again dribbled into the box and won a corner for Hajduk in the 60th minute. 

Pau Torres and Lo Celso entered for Pedraza and Moreno in the 62nd minute. 

Villarreal was dangerous again in the next few minutes, with a corner in the 65th minute. 

Hajduk made their first subs in the 69th minute - Lovrecsics came on for Mikanović and Mlakar for Sahiti. Morales was subbed off for Jackson in the 73rd minute. 

Two more changes for Hajduk came in the 78th minute - Fossati and Nikola Kalinic entered the match for Elez and Livaja.  

The result didn't matter - Torcida was still the loudest in the stadium. 

A minute after Kalinic was subbed on, he entered a nasty tackle with Mandi, resulting in what looked like a split-open cheek. The Hajduk player was covered in blood, and Atanasov was subbed on. Hajduk was awarded a penalty which Fossati scored for 4:2 Hajduk in the 85th minute. 

A free kick was awarded to Hajduk two minutes later, which went out for a corner. Hajduk had a few minutes left to get another goal and not concede one, which would be huge going into the match next week in Split. 

Krovinovic struck the near post with his left foot in the 89th minute. 

The ref added four minutes of stoppage time to the match. Neither team was able to score.

The return match will be played on Thursday, August 25, at a sold-out Poljud Stadium. 

Post-match comments

"The next game should be easier to prepare for. Players can only improve by playing games like this. It started great for us, but we were naive, and we could have reacted much better. I would have preferred that they didn't score goals like that. We will have to be better in Croatia," said Hajduk coach Dambrauskas.

"We wanted to have better coverage in the midfield because Villarreal is integrated into the middle and in the space. Awaziem is a very calm player with the ball. I think he played a pretty good game," said the Hajduk coach.

"You won't believe what I'm going to tell you, but when you watch the next game, the atmosphere will be completely different, and our mentality will be different. With God's help, anything can happen. We will focus on the next game, analyze the opponents and try to win."

To follow the latest sports news in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Sunday, 15 May 2022

Marko Livaja Breaks 87-Year-Old Hajduk Record with 27 Goals in Single Season!

May 15, 2022 - Marko Livaja has broken an 87-year-old Hajduk record, scoring 27 goals in a single season after two goals from the penalty spot against Istra last night. 

Hajduk's #10 Marko Livaja wrote Hajduk history in Saturday's match against Istra 1961, becoming Hajduk's top scorer in one season with 27 goals! 

Until the match against Istria, he was tied with legendary striker Zlatko Vujović in second place with 25 goals. However, after putting two goals in the back of Istra's net, he broke Leo Lemešić's record from the 1934/35 season with 26 goals scored. Lemešić is the second-top scorer in the history of the club behind Frane Matošić.

Marko scored goals against all clubs in the Croatian First League this season. Namely, in the 2021/22 Croatian Championship, he scored six goals against Istra 1961, five goals against Rijeka, four goals against Hrvatski Dragovoljac, three goals against Gorica and Lokomotiva, two goals against Šibenik and Slaven Belupo, and one goal against both Osijek and Dinamo to seal his title at the top scorer in the league.

It is also clear that with 27 goals, Marko Livaja will win the HNL Golden Boot after Josip Drmić no longer has a chance to catch the Hajduk striker due to a two-match ban. Recall, Drmić was fined 5,000 kuna and a two-match ban for hitting Stefan Simić in last Sunday's Adriatic derby between Rijeka and Hajduk. Drmić is thus in second place with 21 goals, while Dion Drena Beljo, Mislav Oršić, and Marko Dabro (who left Lokomotiva for China a month and a half ago) follow. Drmić will be free for the next two weekends, but he can play in the Cup final between Rijeka and Hajduk at Poljud on May 26.

"Numerous well-deserved hymns have been written about the achievements, statistics, records, moves, and games of Hajduk's #10s. His contribution will surely remain inscribed in the club's history alongside the greatest greats. Not only on the pitch but also off it" concluded Hajduk in a statement

The best player in the HNL started scoring at Inter and continued in Atalanta, FC Rubin Kazan, Empoli, Las Palmas, AEK, and now Hajduk. His 26th goal in Saturday's game was also the 100th goal of his career. 

To read more about sports in Croatia, follow TCN’s dedicated page

Wednesday, 20 April 2022

Hajduk Tops Dinamo 1:0 at Poljud, Stays in Fight for Croatian Championship Title!

April 20, 2022 - Hajduk and Dinamo met in the biggest Croatian derby at Poljud Stadium tonight in Split, the makeup 9th round match which was meant to be played at the end of last year. Hajduk's 1:0 victory tonight keeps them in the fight for the Croatian championship title! 

Hajduk and Dinamo met tonight for the third time this season, making up the 9th-round match scheduled for the end of last year. In the 18th round, Hajduk won 2:0 at Maksimir, and in the 27th round at the end of March in Split, it ended 0:0. These two rivals will meet again in the last 36th round at Maksimir on May 21. 

The stakes in today's game were exceptionally high for Hajduk, who needed a victory to stay in the race for the Croatian championship title. Defeat would leave Hajduk 10 points behind Dinamo, which was at the top going into the match with 66 points. Hajduk was in third place with 59 points, while Osijek has 64 points.

Hajduk sold 29,000 tickets by Tuesday, and more than 2,500 Hajduk fans gathered at the Poljud training ground on Monday to announce their support for the Split club.

Lineups

HAJDUK: L.Kalinić, Mikanović, Ferro, Elez, Melnjak, Vuković, Krovinović, Fossati, Mlakar, Livaja, N.Kalinić

DINAMO: Livaković, Theophile, Šutalo, Lauritsen, Ristovski, Mišić, Ademi, Petković, Gojak, Emreli, Oršić

Recap

Dinamo was the first to attack with a corner in the 2nd minute, which Kalinic saved. Emreli went down in the penalty area from the play, which brought the game to a halt for nearly 5 minutes. 

Tensions were high in the first 10 minutes, with loud shouts to the ref from Hajduk fans. A dangerous free-kick was awarded to Hajduk in the 10th minute, which Krovinovic took just outside the box. However, Dinamo's defense was solid to clear it. 

Nikola Kalinic pressured Livakovic in the 13th minute, which forced him to clear the ball. Hajduk got their first corner a minute later. After back and forth in front of Dinamo's goal, it eventually ended in Livakovic's hands. 

Hajduk fans were constantly whistling against the ref, who seemed to be calling more for Dinamo in the first 20 minutes. Dinamo pressured Hajduk's defense in the 21st minute and was awarded their second corner of the match. Hajduk's defense cleared it.

Melnjak and Lauritsen had a nasty collision during the corner, which ended in bandaged heads for them. The match finally resumed after another 5-minute injury break. 

After another collision between Livaja and Petkovic, Melnajk decided he could no longer continue, and Colina was brought on as Hajduk's first substitution in the 31st minute. 

Foul after foul, the match slowly went on.  

Hajduk picked up the intensity in the 36th minute and almost had a chance on Dinamo's empty goal, but Livakovic made it back in time for the save. 

Dambrauskas' assistant Skinderis was sent off with a red car for mouthing to the ref in the 40th minute. To say that tensions were high at this point would be an understatement. 

With so many fouls, there was hardly any rhythm in the game for either team. As a result, ten minutes of stoppage time was added to the first half. 

Hajduk was awarded a corner in the 4th minute of stoppage time, but Krovinovic ultimately shot wide of the far post. Dinamo attacked in the next play, which was cleared out for a throw-in by Hajduk's defense. 

Livaja nearly had a one-on-one with Livakovic, but Dinamo's defense double-teamed him to stop the attack.

The first half ended 0:0 with 50/50 possession and Hajduk's 2 shots on target to Dinamo's 0.

The second half started without any changes. Vukovic had two shots within a minute which were both cleared by the Dinamo defense. Mlakar shot at Livakovic minute later. 

Dinamo attacked in the next play but Emreli shanked over the goal. Dinamo subbed on Ivanusec for Gojak in the 54th minute. 

Hajduk had another brilliant chance in front of the goal in the 55th minute. Livaja sent the ball into the near post but it was saved by the Dinamo defense. 

Petkovic and Orsic were essentially neutralized by the Hajduk defense in the match so far. 

Orsic tried shooting from 30 meters but hit high over the post in the 61st minute.

Hajduk was hungrier this half which ultimately ended in a goal. Nikola Kalinic hit a far-post rocket into the back of Dinamo's net for 1:0 in the 63rd minute! 

Dinamo made another sub in the 66th minute - Spikic was subbed on for Ristovski. 

Dinamo picked up the pace in the 5 minutes that followed. Kalinic's fingertips saved the day from Dinamo equalizing in the 69th minute, sending it out for a corner. 

Dinamo subbed again in the 74th - Tolic came on for Misic, and Hajduk subbed off Vukovic for Sahiti. 

Livaja shot wide of the far post in the 77th minute, as did Tolic for Dinamo one minute later. 

In the 84th minute, Hajduk subbed off Colina for Simic and Nikola Kalinic for Lovrencsics. Dambrauskas was making a defensive decision with 5 minutes left. 

Livaja was shown a yellow card in the 88th-minute meaning he'll miss the next match against Belupo.  

Six minutes of stoppage time was added to the end of the match. Dinamo had a dangerous chance in the next minute with Kalinic's save going out for a corner. 

Livaja was one-on-one again with Dinamo's last defender and sent the ball to Mlakar who shot over the goal. Neither team was able to score in the time that remained...

The match ended 1:0 for Hajduk! 

To follow the latest sports news in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Wednesday, 9 February 2022

Return of Perišić to Poljud? Hajduk Fans Say ''It's Time''

Februay 9, 2022 - With his contract due to expire in June, the euphoria of the fans, and the complicity of returnees Marko Livaja and the recently introduced Nikola Kalinić, there are plenty of reasons to believe in the return of Perišić to Poljud. The petition, created by Hajduk fans and supported by Livaja himself, is already underway with the slogan #PerišićVrimeJe (Perišić, it's time).

It is impossible to deny the influence and insistence of the Hajduk Split fans, especially when one recalls their great effort to retain their star player, Marko Livaja, under the motto: ''Livaja, ostaje u Hajduku'' (Livaja, stay at Hajduk). Said and done, the idol born in Split decided in the end to stay and today he has contributed 17 goals in 20 league games so that Hajduk finds itself fighting for the title, 5 points behind leaders Dinamo Zagreb and 2 points behind Osijek and Rijeka, with one game less than both.

The Dalmatian club presented yesterday at the Poljud its brand new signing, striker Nikola Kalinić, who arrived from Hellas Verona after a prolific career that includes top clubs such as Atlético de Madrid, AC Milan, and Fiorentina. Hajduk surprised everyone on Sunday night when they posted an emotional video on their social media that appealed to nostalgia and memories, as well as the connection between Split and Verona, which in the end revealed the agreement reached for Kalinić's return to Poljud.

During Kalinić's presentation, the player revealed in the press conference that both Edin Džeko and Ivan Perišić called him the night before, but did not reveal the details of the conversations but added that he told his teammate from the national team that ''everything was on him.'', reports Net.hr. Hajduk fans, quick as no other, began to speculate on the return of Perišić, even more so considering that the winger ends his contract with Inter Milan in June this year, and will go on to become a free agent. At the moment, nothing is certain regarding a possible renewal with the Italian team, as well as offers from other clubs, which invites one to dream of the return of Perišić to Poljud.

Speculation has now turned into a petition, and even Hajduk fans already have a slogan to kick off the motion: #PerišićVrimeJe (Perišić, it's time). It should be remembered that the intentions of signing the 33-year-old winger from Omiš are not new, since the motto was coined last year after the long-awaited renewal of Marko Livaja. But hope in Hajduk fans has increased considering Perišić's contract situation, and even more so after Livaja himself joined the petition in a video that has now gone viral on social media.

At the moment, with nothing certain about his future, Perišić is focused on his current team, with whom he beat Roma 2-0 yesterday for the Coppa Italia, in a match in which he played 85 minutes. The Croatian player has the full confidence of his coach, Simone Inzaghi, and is an undisputed starter in his formation. Ivan's commitment and concentration are necessary for the remainder of the season. The 'neroazzurri' will visit Napoli on Saturday in a decisive match that could help them secure the top spot in Serie A, as they are coming off losing to arch-rivals AC Milan and the Napolitan team is currently second with just one point behind. Also, next Wednesday they will face powerful Liverpool at home in the return of the UEFA Champions League, for the round of 16.

To read more about sport in Croatia, follow TCN’s dedicated page

Monday, 7 February 2022

Nikola Kalinić Returns to Poljud: Former Croatia Striker Rejoins Hajduk from Serie A

February 7, 2022 - It was all but confirmed by Hajduk until late Sunday night - Nikola Kalinić is coming home! 

"HNK Hajduk can confirm with great satisfaction that our first team will be stronger in the continuation of the season thanks to Nikola Kalinić, who is returning to Poljud after more than 12 years and taking over his number 9! Nikola arrives at Hajduk at the age of 34 as a free agent after terminating his contract with Hellas Verona," writes Hajduk to announce the news

Kalinić is a child of Hajduk, passed all age categories of the Academy, and became one of its most recognizable products in the recent history of the Club. He played a total of 79 official matches for the Hajduk first team and scored 44 goals. In the 2007/2008 season, he scored 17 goals and scored 15 times the following season. He left Poljud in 2009 in a then-record transfer to English club Blackburn. In his impressive career, he played for Ukrainian club Dnipro, then for the Italian Serie A clubs Fiorentina, AC Milan, and Roma, and for La Liga giant Atletico Madrid. He scored over 170 goals in official matches and recorded over 50 assists for his teammates in his career.

"We all know very well what kind of accomplished football player he is; he played for some of the world's biggest clubs in the strongest leagues at the highest level of football quality. From the first moment of the negotiations, we saw his determination and interest in returning and his desire to be part of our project to create a strong Hajduk. Nikola is now returning to his club, full of motivation to help us in the fight for trophies. That says enough about what kind of person he is because he chose to return to his football home despite more generous offers and the opportunity to stay in Italy. His appearance, personality and, in the end, the most important thing, which is football quality, will bring a lot to our team. Not only in terms of football but also in terms of role models, leaders, and people who will help the whole team rise to a higher level of football," said Hajduk sports director Mindaugas Nikoličius.

Nikola could not be happier to wear the white jersey again. 

"Returning to Hajduk is a special moment in my life. I signed contracts with many clubs, big clubs, played for them, but Hajduk is the greatest for all of us who grew up here, and we are emotionally attached to it. This is where I grew up, the place where I gained my football affirmation; in the end, this is where I was born, and this is where my people are. So I will do my best to keep this moment, to cheer up everyone who breathes for Hajduk and keep this moment and the current emotion around the club as long as possible," said Kalinić. 

The official presentation of Nikola Kalinić will be at a press conference on Tuesday at noon.

To read more about sport in Croatia, follow TCN’s dedicated page

 

Monday, 10 January 2022

Hajduk's Stipe Biuk Only Croatian Footballer on UEFA's 40 for the Future

January 10, 2022 - Hajduk Split wonderkid Stipe Biuk is in the UEFA spotlight as the only Croatian footballer named as a young player to watch in 2022. 

The European Football Organization (UEFA) has singled out a list of the most talented footballers under the age of 21 who could come to the forefront of the football public this season.

The list includes several famous names and one Croatian football player - 19-year-old Hajduk Split winger Stipe Biuk.

Thanks to his outstanding performance in the U21 European Championship quarterfinal match against Spain earlier this year, the European football public took notice of the Hajduk Split player. 

"Biuk turned heads with an impressive cameo against Spain at last summer's Under-21 EURO finals, and the left-winger has been a regular starter at club level during the past nine months," writes UEFA. 

He won a penalty for extra time, though the U21 Croatia national team did not have enough strength to beat Spain and win a spot in the semifinals.

Biuk signed a professional contract with Hajduk until 2026 in January 2021. As captain, he led the Hajduk junior team to lead the standings in the first half of the season. Thanks to his excellent play, he was invited to the winter preparations with the first team last year, together with Marin Ljubičić. He has also been a regular member of all Croatia national team younger age categories. 

Some of the largest European clubs have already targeted Biuk. In August last year, it was revealed that Lokomotiv Moscow and Manchester City were after the youngster, with City offering 12.5 million euros for the footballer. It would have been the club's record transfer. 

Hajduk's record outgoing transfer thus far is Nikola Vlašić, who was sold to Everton in the summer of 2017 for 10.8 million euros. 

You can see the list of UEFA's most talented young footballers HERE.

To read more about sport in Croatia, follow TCN’s dedicated page.  

Wednesday, 8 December 2021

Marko Livaja Most Viewed Player on Transfermarkt

December 8, 2021 - After leading Hajduk to a 2:0 victory against Dinamo during the 'Eternal Derby' in the 18th round of the Croatian First League, scoring a goal and an assist in his first Maksimir derby, Marko Livaja brought his status as a football icon among Hajduk fans to new heights.

Hajduk received a spontaneous welcome reception in Split after the match in Zagreb on Sunday, and Livaja was notably the hero of the Split club. But the celebration did not stop there, and in the spirit of the Hajduk-Dinamo rivalry, many songs were sung by the fans, some of which are considered hate speech and derogatory, reports Gol.hr.

A video has thus surfaced of Marko Livaja and 2018 World Cup finalist Danijel Subašić joining in on the singing at a local nightclub, which has now resulted in an investigation by the disciplinary judge of the Croatian First League for inappropriate behavior and violating the Code of Conduct for football employees, HNS said.

Just how much pomp has reigned around Marko Livaja in the aftermath of the Eternal Derby is perhaps best illustrated by the following data. From December 6 to the morning of December 7, Marko Livaja was the most viewed footballer on the popular website for football values, Transfermarkt.

Behind Livaja in second place was Real Madrid's Vinicius Junior, the 21-year-old Brazilian who also plays in excellent form, while behind the two were the world's most famous footballers, Cristiano Ronaldo and recent Golden Ball winner Lionel Messi.

It's safe to say that Livaja's brilliant performance at Maksimir, as well the controversy around the anti-Dinamo songs, contributed to why so many searched for his name online. 

Hajduk's #10 has scored 16 goals in 20 appearances this season and has four assists. According to Transfermarkt, Livaja is worth 3.5 million euros.

To read more about sport in Croatia, follow TCN’s dedicated page

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