Monday, 29 August 2022

Nenad Bjelica Sacked as Coach of NK Osijek

August 29, 2022 - Nenad Bjelica has been dismissed from his coaching duties at NK Osijek. 

The club announced the news on Monday afternoon:

"We will inform the public about the decision to appoint a new coach in a timely manner.

The President of the Osijek Football Club, Mr. Ferenc Sakalj, dismissed Mr. Nenad Bjelica from his duties as the Club's sports director and coach.

In the coming days, NK Osijek will make a decision on appointing a new coach, about which it will inform the public in a timely manner.

NK Osijek thanks Mr. Nenad Bjelica for his cooperation over the past two years." 

This news comes not even 24 hours after Osijek defeated Hajduk (2:1) in the SuperSport HNL 7th round at City Garden Stadium. 

Although he received the support of the club's president two weeks ago, many were convinced that it was only a matter of time before he parted ways with the coach. Their relationship was irreversibly damaged already at the end of last season, and the decision to terminate cooperation was postponed until today. With many bad results, Bjelica was under increasing pressure from the public. 

Bjelica arrived at Osijek at the beginning of September 2020 and led the team in 87 matches, recording 49 wins, 23 draws, and 15 losses.

In the first season, Osijek finished second place in the HNL, eight points behind the champion Dinamo, while in the second season, Osijek fell to third place, three points behind Hajduk, and ten behind the leader Dinamo.

Last season, Osijek was in the running for the championship title, almost until the very end, but Bjelica was at war with the management, which likely affected the atmosphere in the team. 

Osijek was relegated from the Conference League qualifiers this season, suffering a shocking defeat against Kazakhstani club Kyzylzhar SK in the 2nd qualifying round. Last season they lost in the 3rd qualifying round against CSKA Sofia.

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Thursday, 23 April 2020

Igor Jovicevic Officially Named New Coach of Dinamo Zagreb

April 23, 2020 - Igor Jovicevic has been named the new coach of the Croatian champion - Dinamo Zagreb.

Igor Jovicevic will succeed Nenad Bjelica, whose contract was terminated last week, reports HRT.

His greatest career success came just ten days after a great loss, the death of his father, Ceda Jovicevic, who passed away at the age of 68.

"Emotions are mixed. My parents mean a lot to me, losing my dad has left a big mark on me, but I have to deal with it, and my memory will never fade. I am proud of him, of everything he has done in his career and of everything he has given to Dinamo in those 10 years. He is my hero, my idol, and has always been a parameter for me on how to behave and what are the paths of success," said Jovicevic, who has successfully led the young Dinamo team so far.

"This is my childhood dream come true, it is truly an immense joy that I feel, but it also comes with the great responsibility that the first coach has to carry with him. In my younger days, I was one of the fans from the North Stand. First of all, I'm a Dinamo fan. So, before I’m a coach, I’m a fan. I have loved Dinamo since I was a kid, I've been here all my life, my dad brought me to these rooms when I was four years old. And I wanted to be a Dinamo coach; it didn't matter when. Just to be one," he added after signing the contract.

Born in Zagreb, Jovicevic was once the best cadet in Europe. At the age of 17, in the summer of 1991, he signed a contract with Real Madrid, but a severe injury to the cruciate ligaments halted his career.

After that, he played in Japan, Brazil, France, China, Ukraine and ended his playing career again in China with a new knee injury at the age of 32.

After retiring, he began coaching. In June 2014, he became interim head coach and one year later head coach at the Ukrainian Karpaty Lviv. In October 2016, he moved to the Celje bench, and in 2017, he returned to Maksimir.

From the summer of 2017, he led the second Maksimir team as well as the juniors in the UEFA Youth Champions League, where he brought Dinamo to the quarterfinal twice in a row. This year's quarterfinal match against Benfica was postponed due to the pandemic, and in the meantime, Jovicevic moved to the top squad.

Jovicevic will be assisted by Damir Krznar and Alen Peternac, goalkeeping coaches Sandro Zufic, conditioning coaches Ivan Stefanic and Stipe Marina, analyst Vedran Attias, and team manager Marko Kuze.

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Thursday, 16 April 2020

Nenad Bjelica No Longer Coach of Dinamo Zagreb

April 16, 2020 - Nenad Bjelica is no longer the coach of Dinamo Zagreb! reports that negotiations at Maksimir lasted for more than three hours on Thursday, after which Dinamo officially announced that Nenad Bjelica was no longer the coach of the Croatian champion.

"GNK Dinamo and Nenad Bjelica have agreed to terminate their business cooperation. The club thanks Nenad Bjelica for his cooperation so far and the results he has achieved as the coach for Dinamo."

No details of the painful breakup are known so far. It should be reminded that by the end of the contract, Dinamo should have paid Bjelica just over two million euro.

Nenad Bjelica arrived at Maksimir this morning after 9 am to discuss terminating his contract. Dinamo had already written off the coach who brought the club the biggest success in Europe in the last 50 years as he did not agree to a reduced salary.

"The breakup was mutual, we didn't even get to fight," Bjelica told reporters.

What caught everyone's eye on Thursday is that Bjelica got out of a car with Split license plates. Namely, he arrived for negotiations with Split lawyer Tomislav Kasal. Kasal is a lawyer representing the Football Union Association and Hajduk and is a member of FIFA's Disputes Commission. He also represents a few Dinamo players.

The club was allegedly surprised that Bjelica arrived with a lawyer for his first interview at the club after the outbreak of the conflict. According to information from close sources, Bjelica did not forget about the dismissed members of his coaching staff who were not entitled to compensation and wanted to settle them in this breakup.

The new coach will be the current expert at the helm of the young squad, Igor Jovicic, which the club should soon confirm. So far, he is the only candidate for Bjelica's successor.

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Saturday, 28 March 2020

Chaos at Dinamo: Players Refuse Salary Cut, Coach Bjelica's Staff Sacked

March 28, 2020 - Due to the coronavirus pandemic, Dinamo Zagreb decided to cut salaries by 30 percent to players, staff and members of the working community over the next six months. Everyone in the club agreed to the pay cut except the first team, coach Nenad Bjelica and his staff.

T.portal reports that on Wednesday, the Croatian football champion decided to cut salaries for all 450 Dinamo-based employees, to which all but the players and first-team professional staff agreed. On Thursday, the Dinamo leaders brutally retaliated by terminating the contracts of Bjelica’s closest associates - his staff. Namely, assistant coaches Rene Poms and Nino Bule, goalie coach Silvije Cavlina, conditioning coaches Martin Mayer and Karlo Reinholz and analyst Jasmin Osmanovic have been sacked.

The only one pardoned was head coach Nenad Bjelica.

On Friday, Dinamo handed over two fully equipped ambulances to the health system of Croatia, worth half a million kuna, with two donations of 250,000 kuna each for the reconstruction of the Zagreb Pediatric Disease Clinic and the Petrova Clinic for Women and Diseases, which were both damaged in the devastating earthquake on Sunday. 

After the ceremony at Maksimir Stadium, Kresimir Antolic presented the position of the GNK Dinamo Management on media reports about the split between the club management and the locker room after the decision to reduce salaries.

'We have said everything about the measures we have taken in our statement. Anyone who is reasonable, realistic, normal will recognize our intentions and why we have now introduced rationalization and austerity measures. Not because we are in a panic, but because we are thinking about what will be in three, six or nine months,” Antolic said, adding that “everyone must be responsible for what they say” and not speak of “manipulations and untruths”.

“Let us deal with our players and let them understand through conversation that this is aimed at safeguarding their contracts and securing their livelihoods, as 90 percent of other people who receive a salary from Dinamo each month accept. In a situation where people have no place to live, when apartments and houses are destroyed, when people die in hospitals, the topic now is the relationship between Dinamo's players and Dinamo. These are our players. These are no other players. Let's not make hysteria out of it. We will sit down with them and they will fully understand what this is about, that it is not about any impact on them,” Antolic revealed to the media about the club’s next move.

In a statement issued Thursday, in response to the reaction of the players, the GNK Dinamo management stated that “it had brought in measures to rationalize the remuneration of all employees for the next six months to maintain the overall stability of the club" and that they "informed every club employee in a timely manner, in accordance with the coronavirus pandemic restriction," and that the first to know was head coach Nenad Bjelica and captain Arjan Ademi with several other first-team players.

Dinamo said in a statement that the coach and the players on several occasions decisively rejected the measures imposed and that the club "received such refusal as soon as possible and in writing". The same statement read that all other employees agreed to the measures introduced and that the allegations of expeditiousness, one-sidedness and lack of analysis and communication were simply incorrect.

T.portal also reported that Dinamo did not sack coach Nenad Bjelica because they could lose millions, as Dinamo would have to pay his contract until the end, which is the summer of 2021, with all bonuses and arrears.

Bjelica currently has a contract of around 1.2 million euro a year, and until the end of the contract, he is owed over one and a half million euro. Add to that the agreed bonuses for their Champions League success this season and likely another Croatian championship, the sum could easily exceed two million euro. 

Dinamo fan group Bad Blue Boys released a statement on Friday.

Some excerpts read:

“The despotic, absolutist principle of governing our club has again shown its true face.

Amid the biggest crisis since the war in which most people in the country have been struggling to survive, using the lowest passions, the club has brought its players and coaches to the pillar of shame by sticking the label of greedy millionaires on them and leaving them at the mercy of the masses and the media, thirsty for blood and sensations. And many fans, nevertheless people, sometimes naive and confronted with the great problems of life and the threatening black clouds, reflexively perceived this situation as black and white.

For the past three days, the public has separated players and first-team coaches into simple factors by which the so-called "management" clasped their hands and closed their mouths to defend themselves and tell their side of the story in a situation that is all but black and white. They did not run the risk of rebelling coaches and players, nor did they direct this play for less money. Nor is it by chance that the entire operation was performed at this exact time.

It is a completely surreal fact that the one behind everything has been abolished by the body of the club, while at the same time, humiliating the coach and players whose character they had swore on yesterday. 

All this is just a reflection of the general schizophrenia the club is in, complete opacity and throwing dust in the eyes of fans and anyone who loves Dinamo.

The players now have the opportunity to show who they are; do they feel for this club, the fans, for the people of this city and this country, which the higher forces again threw to their knees.”

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