Thursday, 28 July 2022

Could Joško Gvardiol Become Croatia's Most Expensive Footballer?

July 28, 2022 - Three Premier League clubs are after the 20-year-old Croatian stopper, but will RB Leipzig give up Joško Gvardiol - and at what cost? 

Joško Gvardiol may only be 20 years old, but he has already played at the top level of football for two seasons. After showing tremendous talent in the Dinamo jersey, the Zagreb native was transferred to RB Leipzig for 16.5 million euros in 2020 and found his spot in the starting lineup in his first season. 

Gol.hr reveals that Gvardiol is the target of many European giants at the moment, but only a few can afford him. The Croatian stopper is currently worth 35 million euros, according to Transfermarkt, but his actual price is much higher. A possible transfer could go over 50 million euros, making him the most expensive Croatian footballer in history.

The future is still unknown, and the summer transfer window continues. Big names are at his door, but Leipzig is a tough negotiator, and the German club is serious about keeping the Bundesliga's best stopper.

According to Sky Sports, three English giants have sent inquiries for the Croatia national team player, and allegedly Tottenham has opened negotiations, but Manchester United and Chelsea want him in their ranks, too. 

A transfer to all three clubs is quite realistic, and Gvardiol would likely find a place in the starting 11 quickly. Moreover, if there are no injuries, he is also guaranteed a spot in Croatia's starting lineup at the World Cup in Qatar later this year, which is always enticing news for clubs. 

Chelsea is cited as a very likely destination for the Croatian youngster. The English club recently failed to transfer Kounde, who chose Barcelona, so now the owners are considering Kimpembe, Skriniar, or Gvardiol. The Croatian stopper has a bigger advantage here because he is younger than the French and the Slovak footballers. 

By going to Tottenham, Gvardoil would play with Ivan Perišić. At the same time, Mateo Kovačić awaits him at Chelsea. And by transferring to the famous United, he would become the first Croatian in history to wear the Red Devils jersey.

In April, Gvardiol was named the 4th best young footballer under 21 in Europe, according to the International Center for Sports Studies (CIES).

Gvardiol took an admirable fourth place in the survey of 100 players as the 'ground blocker playmaker.' Ahead of him was only Bukayo Saka, Mason Greenwodd, and Patrick Wimmer of Arminia Bielefeld.

The three factors that were considered when ranking players were their performance in relation to teammates, the results of their club, and the quality of opponents. The CIES states that for each of the 100 best young players in Europe, they highlighted two categories of technical skills in which, based on statistics, they are the best out of 11.

Thus, Saka was marked as a dribbler and creator of chances, while Gvardiol's defense and ball distribution was emphasized, confirming the epithet of a modern stopper. Gvardiol also played the most minutes for his team out of the 20 best young footballers, with 86.8% of all available minutes for Leipzig.

In 2021, Gvardiol was also up for the Golden Boy award, traditionally held by Turin's Tuttosport and editor Massimo Franchi who compiles a list of the most outstanding young footballers worldwide. 

The young footballer has already proved himself in his short but impressive career so far, and he is only getting started. 

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

Friday, 15 April 2022

Four Croatian Footballers in Europa League Semi-finals

April 15. 2022 - The Europa League semi-finals will feature four Croatian footballers - Kristijan Jakić, Joško Gvardiol, Nikola Vlašić, and Borna Barišić. 

After the first match in Frankfurt ended 1-1, Eintracht surprised Barcelona by winning 3-2 at Camp Nou on Thursday, thus securing a spot in the Europa League semi-finals.

RB Leipzig, West Ham, and Glasgow Rangers also qualified among the four best teams.

Eintracht had the support of more than 25,000 fans at Camp Nou. Although Frankfurt was entitled to only 5,000 tickets, German fans procured tickets through all possible channels, so the atmosphere was as if the away side was playing in Frankfurt.

Barcelona was not off to a good start. In the third minute, Eric Garcia knocked down Jesper Lindstrom, and Portuguese referee Artur Soares Dias pointed to the penalty spot. Filip Kostić took the penalty for the lead. 

In the 10th minute, Barcelona failed to equalize with chances for both Pedri and Aubameyang. Barcelona put pressure but was unable to break Eintracht's defense. Eintracht, on the other hand, was full of confidence. Kostić found Rafael Borre in the 36th minute, who shot from more than 25 meters for 0-2. 

Barcelona could have reduced the lead in the second minute of the second half, but Aubameyang missed the goal. Eintracht had a great chance in the 58th minute, but Marc-Andre ter Stegen reacted great in goal. However, Ter Stegen couldn't do anything in the 67th minute when Kostić scored for an incredible 0-3 lead.

Barcelona scored from the offside position in the 84th minute, which did not count. Busquets, however, still reduced the score with a great goal from the edge of the penalty area in the 1st minute of stoppage time. Barcelona scored another goal in the 11th minute of stoppage time. Depay was certain from the penalty spot, but there was no time for more than that. Kristijan Jakić was excellent for Eintracht.

Eintracht will play against West Ham in the semifinals, which outclassed Lyon 3-0 after the London match ended 1-1.

Lyon was off to a great start, with chances in the 6th and 27th minutes. West Ham took the lead in the 38th minute. Pablo Fornals neatly controlled the ball after a short corner and knocked it on to Craig Dawson for the 0-1 lead. In the last moments of the first half, Declan Rice scored from the edge of the penalty area for 0-2. All doubts about the winner were resolved in the 48th minute when Jarrod Bowen scored for 0-3. Nikola Vlašić did not play for West Ham. 

RB Leipzig also reached the semi-finals after beating Atalanta 2-0 in Bergamo. The first game ended 1-1. 

Two years ago, RB Leipzig reached the semifinals of the Champions League, where they lost to PSG, and now they have reached the semifinals of the Europa League. Leipzig will play against Borna Barišić and the Rangers in the semifinals, who beat Braga 3-1. In the first match, the Portuguese club won 1-0 in front of their fans.

The match's hero was double scorer Christopher Nkunku (18, 87-penalty). Croatia national team player Joško Gvardiol played for the guests until the 79th minute, while Mario Pašalić played for Atalanta from the 88th minute.

With this victory, Leipzig extended their undefeated streak to 13 matches in all competitions, while Atalanta recorded four games without a win.

Source: Gol.hr

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

Tuesday, 5 April 2022

Joško Gvardiol Named 4th Best Young Footballer in Europe, Marin Ljubičić in Top 100

April 5, 2022 - RB Leipzig's Joško Gvardiol is the 4th best young footballer under 21 in Europe, while Hajduk's Marin Ljubičić takes 71st place. 

The International Center for Sports Studies (CIES) from Switzerland has published the results of a survey that revealed the 100 best footballers in Europe under 21, excluding goalkeepers.

CIES made this ranking using 15 technical categories, and data for 8 different aspects of the game was obtained from InStat. This study took into account air defense, ground defense, recovery, distribution, take on, chance creation, air attack, and shooting. The strength of the club was also valued, as well as the strength of the league, i.e., the opponent.

The current stopper of the Croatia national team and RB Leipzig, Joško Gvardiol, took an admirable fourth place in the survey as the 'ground blocker playmaker'. Ahead of him are only Bukayo Saka, Mason Greenwodd, and Patrick Wimmer of Arminia Bielefeld.

The three factors that were taken into account when ranking players were their performance in relation to teammates, the results of their club, as well as the quality of opponents. The CIES states that for each of the 100 best young players in Europe, they highlighted two categories of technical skills in which, based on statistics, they are the best out of a total of 11.

Saka is thus marked as a dribbler and creator of chances, while Gvardiol's defense and ball distribution is emphasized, which confirms the epithet of a modern stopper.

Gvardiol played the most minutes for his team out of the 20 best young footballers. Namely, he played 86.8% of all available minutes for Leipzig. In the top 20, according to that criterion, Saka is in second place with 85.3% of minutes played for Arsenal. 

In addition to Gvardiol, another Croatian football player made the list of the 100 best under 21s. Namely, Hajduk striker Marin Ljubičić took 71st place. He played 44% of the available league minutes this season, and CIES pointed out that winning the ball in the air and shooting (‘target man’) as the greatest qualities in his game.

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

Saturday, 18 December 2021

Two Croatian Players in Real Madrid's Plans for 2022

December 18, 2021 - The Spanish giants seek to reinforce their squad, even as current La Liga leaders and after a successful group stage in the Champions League. According to Spanish media, in addition to Mbappé and Haaland, the "whites" would also be interested in two Croatian players.

According to tportal.hr, the mythical club Real Madrid already has a list of potential signings for the next summer transfer window. The football world already knows that the ''Galáticos'' made an offer for Kylian Mbappé last summer, but in addition to trying again (considering that the PSG star can negotiate a free transfer from January 2022), they have also included the Norwegian Erling Haaland in their plans. Thus, Real Madrid seeks to unite both forwards with their current star, Vinicius Jr., to form a lethal trident.

However, at the club, they know that they must sign more than just forwards. Despite the good moment of Militao and Alaba as centre-backs, the departure of Sergio Ramos and Raphaël Varane has left the position with few variations. This is how Real Madrid has set its sights on RB Leipzig's center-back and ex-Dinamo from Zagreb, Josko Gvardiol. After very good seasons at the club in the Croatian capital, the young defender migrated to Germany and has quickly made a place for himself in Leipzig's defense. Furthermore, he is an undisputed starter in Zlatko Dalic's squad in the Croatian national team. It seems that Real Madrid would have liked that, despite his 19 years of age, Gvardiol has accumulated quite a few minutes of experience with both his clubs and the national team.

Another Croatian player listed as a potential signing for Real Madrid is Rennes midfielder, Lovro Majer. Majer, who also left Dinamo Zagreb last summer, seemed unable to find his place in the French team. However, in recent months, the young midfielder has shown a very good level, with impressive statistics: 4 assists and 1 goal in 10 games. Lovro surely caught the attention of many when on December 5, in a match against Saint Étienne in Ligue 1, he provided 3 assists for his teammate Martin Terrier, who scored a hat-trick. Majer's good form led Dalic, who did not call him up for EURO 2020 and left him on the provisional lists later, to finally decide to call him up for the qualifying games for the Qatar 2022 World Cup. On his debut, Majer scored two goals in the bulky 7-0 win against Malta. Real Madrid wouldn't think twice when it came to signing a Croatian midfielder, after the good memories and the success of players like Luka Modric or Mateo Kovacic. What is clear is that, after the bad moment of Isco or Hazard, Real Madrid is looking for a creative player in their midfield.

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

Wednesday, 16 June 2021

Young Croatian Footballers Stipe Biuk, Joško Gvardiol, and Antonio Marin Up for 2021 Golden Boy

June 16, 2021 - The 2021 Golden Boy award boasts three young Croatian football talents this time around - Stipe Biuk, Joško Gvardiol, and Antonio Marin. 

There is no need to worry about the future of Croatian football, as the passionate football country always finds a way to produce new talent. 

For years, we have read that young players from England, France, Italy, and Brazil are worth ten million euros each, even though they were teenagers at the time, while Croats would often be placed in the rank of players of several hundred thousand euros. But times are changing.

Namely, Stipe Biuk, Josko Gvardiol, and Antonio Marin are Croatia's representatives for this year's Golden Boy award!

Joško Gvardiol, a member of the Croatia national team for EURO 2020, was sold to RB Leipzig for 16.5 million euros, while Antonio Marin, a well-known Dinamo talent who was in Monza and returned to Lokomotiva, is the 'ten' of the U-20 national team and a player that should bloom next season. Hajduk wonderkid Stipe Biuk is a new miracle who delighted the Split club in spring last season, and immediately drew attention to himself thanks to a penalty he earned for Croatia against Spain in the U21 EURO.

Turin's Tuttosport traditionally conducts the poll, led by the editor of the column Massimo Franchi who compiled a list of the greatest young footballers worldwide. 

This prestigious award was first given in 2003 when it went to Rafael van der Wart. After him, the same award went to Rooney, Messi, Aguero, Isco, Pogba, Sterling, Mbappe, de Ligt, Felix, and the latest winner is now worth more than €100 million - Erling Braut Haaland. This year's favorites are Pedri, Bellingham, and Musiala. 

This is Tuttosport's nineteenth consecutive selection for the best young football players in the world. On June 15, 100 of them are announced, then in mid-July, the list is cut to 80, in August to 60, in September to 40, and on October 15, 20 of them enter the final race for the "Golden Boy."

So far, 100 footballers have been nominated for this award, including three Croats. For comparison, Serbia has only one (Ivan Ilić), while Slovenia and BiH have no players nominated for this prestigious award.

You can vote for Golden Boy HERE.

Source: Germanijak

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