Tuesday, 20 July 2021

2022 World Cup Qualifiers: Croatia and Russia to Meet at Poljud in November

July 20, 2021 - Croatia and Russia will meet at Poljud Stadium in Split to close out the 2022 World Cup qualifiers in Group H. 

The Croatian Football Federation Executive Board has registered Poljud Stadium as the host of the Croatia and Russia match as part of the European qualifiers for the FIFA World Cup, which will be held in Qatar in 2022, reports HNS.

Croatia and Russia have played four times so far, with Croatia recording two wins and two draws. Recall, Croatia and Russia most recently met in the quarterfinals of the 2018 World Cup at Fisht Stadium in Sochi. The match finished 1:1 thanks to a goal by Kramarić before going into extra time when Vida scored for the 2:1 lead. Fernandes equalized in the final minutes, forcing to game to penalties. Rakitić scored the winning penalty, advancing Croatia to the semifinal match against England. 

Split will host two Croatia national team matches this fall - on September 7, Croatia will host Slovenia on Poljud (20:45), and the competition in Group H will end on November 14 at 15:00 against Russia. In other news, the 2018 World Cup finalists will host Slovakia on October 11 at City Garden Stadium in Osijek.

After the introductory three rounds in March, the Croatia national team leads in Group H with six points, the same number of points as Russia, while Slovakia is one point behind. Croatia is expected to play against Russia (September 1) and Slovakia (September 4) in September, and the three-match program will end in Split against Slovenia.

The 10 first-placed national teams in their groups will qualify directly for the World Cup, while the second-placed national teams will compete in the playoffs in March 2022. The 2022 World Cup will be held in an untraditional term, from 21 November – 18 December 2022. 

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Wednesday, 23 June 2021

Sportyn App Activates New Challenge Feature at Dalmatinko Cup - And Rakitić's Autographed Cleats are Up for Grabs

June 23, 2021 - The Sportyn app will activate its new Challenge feature at the international youth football tournament Dalmatinko Cup this week, where the best footballing skills presented via the Sportyn application will receive the grand prize from Croatian football star Ivan Rakitić! 

Organized by the Dalmatinko Association, Dalmatinko Cup is one of the largest international youth football tournaments in Croatia. It is also the first youth football tournament with competition for both boys and girls in its program.

Guided by three components - sports, tourism, and social responsibility, the organizers endeavor to allow the youngest footballers to socialize through sports competitions with peers from other areas, all while promoting Dalmatian tourism, healthy living, and helping those in need. 

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Dalmatinko Cup

“The Dalmatinko Cup was created in 2016 after I visited many football tournaments with my eldest son and saw that the vast majority of them are reduced to just playing football. My desire was to provide children with much more than that - I wanted children to enjoy sports, socialize, and accept tolerance and equality to become better people.

I wanted to create a project that will give children from all over the world, coaches, and parents the opportunity to get to know Croatia's beauties, culture, and heritage. So we created a synergy of sports, social responsibility, and tourism, and then difficultly, created friendships and partnerships with many clubs. Over time, the story of the Dalmatinko Cup, a top organization, children's development, and the values ​​we promote, has led us to today, and we now cooperate with clubs from 23 countries. As a result, Dalmatinko Cup is one of the largest sports projects in Europe,”  said Dalmatinko Cup organizer Domagoj Bojčić. 

Dalmatinko Cup organizers strive to be active participants in society and community development, promoting sportsmanship, fair play, tolerance, and quality of life. They thus hope to engage in long-term cooperation with international sports teams, the local community, and the local economy. 

“The goals of the Dalmatinko Cup are to promote tolerance, gender equality, fair play, and equal opportunities for all children. Our slogan is ‘More than football,’ and in addition to the exceptional sporting quality of the tournament, we offer all participants a whole range of additional facilities, tours, excursions, and the feeling of playing the World Cup. Furthermore, Dalmatinko Cup is the only tournament in Southeastern Europe in which both boys and girls participate. We have 7 men's and 3 women's categories, and many looked at me in amazement when I decided to create a tournament for children of both genders. We are proud of this achievement.

Horizontal goals have imposed themselves. The development of sports tourism in Croatia has been a priority for us from the beginning because this tourist niche has huge potential. We have a beautiful country, a God-given climate, and top sports results, and we have to do everything to take advantage of such comparative advantages and create a real tourism product. The Dalmatian cup gives just that.

Another horizontal goal is to foster social responsibility and an awareness that we must take care of others. We have to teach children the right values, after all, 99% of them will not be professional athletes, but our task is to create better people. Also, altruism, volunteering, and the desire for the community in which we live to be of better quality must be our priorities,” added Bojčić. 

In 6 years, the Dalmatinko Cup has gathered over 15,000 athletes from 23 countries. While the COVID-19 pandemic has set limitations in holding this year's tournament, it could not stop the organizers from letting the kids play, all while following epidemiological measures, of course. 

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Dalmatinko Cup

Despite the pandemic, this year’s tournament boasts 170 teams from 11 countries. 

“We will have about 12,000 overnight stays, and our guests will stay for a few days after the tournament is over. The promotion of Croatia through the Dalmatinko Cup is fantastic, and the strength and quality of the tournament is at the very top of Europe,” said Bojčić. 

Thus, from June 24 to 27, Dalmatinko Cup will be held in Kaštel Gomilica (NK GOŠK), Trogir (NK TROGIR), Solin/Vranjic (NK Omladinac), and Split (HNK Hajduk), including around 2,000 participants from Croatia and abroad, in under 8 to under 17 age groups! The opening ceremony will kick off the tournament on the evening of June 24 in Marina Kaštela. 

But the beauty of the Dalmatinko Cup is that the football competition is only part of it. 

The Dalmatinko Association prides itself in a completely new sports marketing model, which can be seen in the unique offer outside of football. The tournament not only encourages participants to explore the region with organized excursions to Split, Poljud Stadium, or in the museum town of Trogir, but they can even take part in an unforgettable ride at sea on the Plurato Sailfin electric hydrofoil board, suitable for both beginners and experienced watersport enthusiasts. 

However, the standout activity at this year's Dalmatinko Cup is presented by Sportyn, an AI video-sharing app to empower all athletes, designed to change the future of player promotion, developing funding, and sports recruitment. 

 

New on the app market, Sportyn was launched by a team of innovators, pro athletes, and entrepreneurs and has even joined forces with former FC Barcelona player and Croatia national team member Ivan Rakitić.  

Doing for sport what LinkedIn does for business, Sportyn harnesses the power of vertical integration in social media to level the playing field of sporting opportunity for 2 billion people, and it's activating its new Challenge feature at the Dalmatinko Cup.

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So, what is the Sportyn Challenge feature all about? 

Across 4 days on these 4 Dalmatian football fields, Sportyn promoters will encourage all attendees to become a part of the Sportyn worldwide sporting community by downloading this application for free. Sportyn promoters will show players and attendees how they can participate in Sportyn challenges to win attractive prizes at the tournament.

Two unique challenges will be presented at the Dalmatinko Cup, where players will demonstrate their football skills and tricks, namely, through ball precision and football techniques to a global audience. 

Daily winners will be selected by the number of views, ratings, shares, comments, and others generated by their Challenge video within the Sportyn app, with daily winners awarded and the MVP player of the tournament named based on an all-time high score! In addition, the MVP will get to take home the grand prize - brand new football cleats signed by Ivan Rakitić! 

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“Sportyn is happy to be a part of the Dalmatinko Cup, a sports tournament that shares our same values. We work hard to empower athletes and strive to find ways to support and promote sports and athletes. We hope that all participants will download the Sportyn application to promote Dalmatinko Cup and become a part of the world's fastest-growing sporting community,” said Sportyn founder & CEO Ivan Ilečić.

Sportyn will also host a meet & greet with Croatian football greats, including Stipe Pletikosa, Robert Jarni, and Mile Rapaić! 

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The Dalmatinko Cup closing ceremony and awards will take place after the tournament’s last game. Held at NK Trogir, team and individual awards will be enhanced by 2 acapella singing groups, brass music, and entertainment for all ages. 

The matches of the tournament are broadcast live, with the images of Dalmatinka and Dalmatia reaching all over the world. 

“The final, which takes place in Trogir at perhaps the most beautiful stadium in the world, which is literally on the sea and between two towers, is something to experience first hand,” concluded Bojčić. 

All will have a fab footballing time!

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Tuesday, 15 June 2021

Hajduk Preparations for 2021/22 Season Kick Off at Poljud (VIDEO)

June 15, 2021 - Hajduk preparations for the 2021/22 season kicked off Monday at Poljud with new coach Jens Gustafsson. 

In the Hajduk Salon at Poljud, coach Jens Gustafsson and his assistants gathered the Hajduk A-team players at the beginning of preparations for the new season. The Management Board President Lukša Jakobušić and the sports director Mindaugas Nikoličius spoke to the players along with the head coach before the very beginning of the preparations, announced Hajduk.hr.

The first gathering was attended by 30 players:

Kristian Dimitrov, Alexander Kačaniklić, Stefan Simić, Marko Livaja, Dimitrios Diamantakos, Marin Jakoliš, Josip Elez, Jani AtanasovJairo, Dino Skorup, Stanko Jurić, Luka Škaričić, Stipe Biuk, Karlo Sentić, Ivan Dolček, Toni Silić, David Čolina, Ivan Perić, Mario Vušković, Josip Posavec, Emir Sahiti, Ivan Ćubelić, Marin Ljubičić, Tonio Teklić, Mark Bushaj, Mario Čuić, Tino Blaž Lauš, Madžid Šošić, Ivan Čalušić, Ivan Šarić

 

Samuel Eduok will join the team on Tuesday, and the arrival of Lumbard Dell is expected later.

Hajduk had their first training on the Poljud auxiliary field, since work is underway on the main pitch to change the lawn.

"Today we start with light training, and then throughout the week, we continue with two training sessions a day, until the weekend when we play the first preparatory match in Dubrovnik. First of all, we will dedicate ourselves to working on physical fitness, and then to our style of play, that is, the style we want to play. I feel comfortable at the start of the preparations, we are all very ambitious, I feel a good balance between different personalities in my staff, and I hope that together we will improve Hajduk. We will fight and compete as long as we can and better, we have a long way to go and everyone will demand the maximum from everyone," said coach Jens Gustafsson.

"There are a lot of new, young players, who with their games through the Academy have shown that they deserve to be here with us. They will definitely need a little time to grasp everything, and we seniors will allow them everything to adjust as quickly as possible. I think we all had a good rest together and now we have to dedicate ourselves to our goals, which is to try to enter the groups of the Conference League, if we are able to achieve that, and to better prepare for the championship where we also have high ambitions," added Marko Livaja.

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Saturday, 5 June 2021

Works Continue on Long-Awaited New Poljud Pitch (VIDEO)

June 5, 2021 - Good news for Hajduk fans - works are currently underway on a brand new Poljud pitch that will soon crown the beloved Split stadium! 

Hajduk announced that installing the new hybrid lawn on the main Poljud pitch is in full swing. In accordance with the planned deadlines, the first planned phase of works, removing the lawn and preparing the substrate in cooperation with the company Jadro, has been completed.

In addition, 11 centimeters of old quartz sand were removed for better drainage, and the base for laying new quartz sand was leveled. Among other things, the grass surfaces of the warm-up area and the entire surrounding part outside the tartan track are being renewed.

The field was taken over by the Croatian Football Federation on Friday together with the contractor. In the next phase, they will lay the new pitch! 

 

The latest generation hybrid lawn will eventually cover the current field sand, and Hajduk will soon get the national team-worthy pitch it deserves.

Hajduk's new coach, Jens Gustafsson, will gather the team on June 14 and lead them at the beginning of preparations for the new competitive season.

Hajduk will train until June 17 in Split, when they will head down south to Konavle for three trainings before the first preparatory match. Hajduk will be guests at the 100th-anniversary celebration of HNK Slaven Gruda on June 19 at 5 pm at the Gnjila Sports Center playground.

After visiting the Dubrovnik surroundings, Hajduk will return home to train at Poljud until June 23. The team will then leave for fifteen-day preparations in Slovenia. This year, Hajduk's expedition will stay and do a series of training in the new preparation base in Zreče.

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Friday, 28 May 2021

Swedish Expert Jens Gustafsson Named New Hajduk Coach!

May 28, 2021 - HNK Hajduk has named its new coach, Swedish expert Jens Gustafsson, after parting ways with Paolo Tramezzani earlier this week. 

Hajduk's statement transmitted in full:

"HNK Hajduk and Jens Gustafsson have agreed on a two-year contract, based on which the 42-year-old Swedish expert will take over the position of the first-team coach.

Jens Gustafsson was born in Helsingborg on October 15, 1978. He started his football career in Helsingborg and also played for the Swedish clubs Brage and Falkenberg.

He started his coaching career with the U-17 team of Halmstad, where he was very quickly promoted to the first team coach and stayed there for three and a half years. He was the coach of the U-21 national team of Sweden and was hired as an assistant coach at AIK. For the last four and a half years, he has been the head coach of Norrköping, with whom he has achieved excellent results in the Swedish league.

In addition to graduating from the football academy and passing the UEFA PRO license, Jens Gustafsson also has a university degree in Behaviorism.

He is a modern coach who prefers an attacking style of football, and in Sweden, he excelled in working with young players with whom he regularly raised their value and playing abilities. In his seven-season coaching career so far, he has led over three hundred first-league games.

During his last tenure as Norrköping coach, he led a total of 166 games, recording 91 wins, 38 draws, and 37 losses. His team averaged 1.87 points, averaging 1.90 and conceding 1.19 goals.

We wish Mr. Gustafsson a lot of luck and success in Hajduk!" Hajduk concluded. 

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Thursday, 27 May 2021

Stipe Miočić: "I Want the UFC Title Fight at Poljud" (VIDEO)

May 27, 2021 - Stipe Miočić revealed to Croatian Sports that he wouldn't mind having the UFC title fight at Poljud Stadium in Split. 

Legendary UFC fighter Stipe Miočić is not giving up on his career and hopes to return the UFC champion belt he lost against Francis Ngannou.

As UFC boss Dana White recently hinted, Miočić should soon be in the ring against the winner of the Francis Ngannou - Derrick Lewis fight. 

Gol.hr reports that Miočić recently interviewed with Croatian Sports, a Croatian media portal in the United States, and revealed that he should soon arrive in Croatia soon and wishes to fight at Poljud.

"Oh yeah, that would be amazing. I love that Croatian fan mentality, Croatia is a perfect country… I am for the fight in Croatia, at Poljud, let's do it," said Miočić for Croatian Sports.

Journalist Ante Kvartuč asked Miočić if he had watched his beloved Hajduk live. Recall, Miočić was at Poljud during his last visit to Croatia and often pointed out that he was a fan of the famous Split club.

"No, I'm more of a guy who follows the national team," Stipe said honestly.

Croatia has Cro Cop, bronze and silver at the football World Cup, Goran Ivanišević, Marin Čilić, water polo players, basketball players… What do they have to achieve such great success?

"It can't be explained; it's all up to the mentality. You get into something, and you don't go out without achieving something," explains Miočić.

Back in March, and for the second time in his career, Stipe Miočić lost the UFC heavyweight title. Stipe suffered a heavy defeat in the fight for the UFC title in a rematch against Francis Ngannou. The Cameroonian defeated Miočić with a brutal knockout at the beginning of the second round. 

UFC president Dana White recently said that Miočić would fight the winner of Ngannou vs. Derrick Lewis, a highly anticipated fight that should be held this August. Miočić said he is only waiting for the contract to make it real. 

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Friday, 7 May 2021

Highlights of the Week: 5 Big Events in Croatia from May 3-9, 2021

May 7, 2021 - TCN's regular retrospect of Highlights of the week, through the selection of TCN's reporter Ivor Kruljac. 

President Milanović loved by locals in Plaški. Firefighters quickly reacted to the fire in Zagreb recycle yard. Pula celebrated its liberation while Šibenik received new doses of coronavirus vaccines. Dinamo and Hajduk end their match in a tie. Overall another interesting week in Croatia, and here are more details on all highlights.

 Highlights of the week: President Milanović loved in Plaški county

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© Kristina Stedul Fabac/ PIXSELL

Croatian president Zoran Milanović visited Plaški county near Ogulin on Tuesday to visit the newly-build Firefighter's home and Plaški Culture Home. The locals welcomed president Milanović with ovations, and many use the opportunity to handshake and take a photo with the president. As Večernji List reports, Milanović took the visit as an opportunity to comment on the hate speech incident at Borovo Selo. He stated that the President of Serbian National Council Milorad Pupovac and Croatian Prime Minister „should use the police, but they don't, they are causing incidents.

Highlights of the Week: Pula celebrating its liberation in WW2

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© Srecko Niketic/ PIXSELL

Pula celebrated its annual liberation day and the Pula City Day, marked on May 5. In Tito's park, the traditional commemoration to the fallen WW2 soldiers of Tito's partisan army saw Tiziano Sošić (president of Pula City Council), Elena Puh Belci (vice mayor of Pula), Aleksandar Matić (chief of the City of Pula Office) and Fabrizio Radin (vice-county ruler of Istria county) paid their respects. Representatives of associations of anti-fascist fighters and anti-fascist of the city of Pula were present too. 

 Highlights of the Week: Dinamo and Hajduk end with an even score 1:1

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© Milan Sabic/ PIXSELL

Hajduk and Dinamo's eternal opponents played another game at Hajduk's home of Poljud Stadium in Split on Wednesday. The match was the 22nd round in Croatian First League, and fans couldn't wait for it as the game was postponed.

Hajduk opened the match well and had a chance to take the lead in the first 20 seconds. Kačaniklić received an excellent long ball and ran on the right side. He rushed into the penalty area and shot diagonally, but Livaković came out and closed his corner. Dinamo improved and took the lead in the 16th minute with a goal by Majer, and Livaja returned the favor in the 44th minute. Diamantakos hit the crossbar in the final minutes of the match but without success.

After three victories in the previous three clashes with Hajduk this season, Dinamo failed to achieve maximum performance and almost mathematically secured the title but entered the last four rounds with a seven-point advantage over Osijek. The fail happened despite Dinamo facing Hajduk with the strongest possible lineup.  

Highlights of the Week: Vaccination in Šibenik continues successfully

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© Hrvoje Jelavic/ PIXSELL

Larger quantities of vaccines came to Šibenik on Friday, allowing vaccination in Baldeki Sports Hall to go without problems for the second day in the row. The vaccination attracts a number of citizens, so the area got quite crowded.

Highlights of the Week: Recycling yard in Zagreb on fire, reasons unclear

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© Matija Habljak/ PIXSELL

Zagreb's recycling yard, located on Sarajevska Cesta in Novi Zagreb, was victimized by fire but quickly localized and put under control on Tuesday. The fire caught four containers, and 21 firefighters with six fire trucks rushed to the field. Police investigated the cause of the fire, but the reason is, for the moment, unknown. Firefighters managed to operate despite the lack of hydrants, and the thick white smoke was noticed by citizens who live in the buildings close to the yard, reported Večernji List. 

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Wednesday, 5 May 2021

Croatia's Eternal Derby: Hajduk and Dinamo Play 1:1 at Poljud

May 5, 2021 - Hajduk and Dinamo met in Croatia's Eternal Derby on Wednesday, playing 1:1 in the postponed match of the Croatian First League's 22nd round. 

Dinamo took the lead in the 16th minute with a goal by Majer, and Livaja equalized in the 44th minute. Diamantakos hit the crossbar in the final minutes of the match. 

Dinamo came to Poljud with the strongest possible lineup, hoping to secure the points needed to defend the Croatian championship title. On the other hand, Hajduk needed a victory to keep pace in the fight for Europe after a win against Rijeka last weekend.

Hajduk opened the match well and had a chance to take the lead in the first 20 seconds. Kačaniklić received an excellent long ball and ran on the right side. He rushed into the penalty area and shot diagonally, but Livaković came out and closed his corner.

Dinamo made a lot of mistakes in the opening, but the first cardinal mistake was made by Marco Fossati, who Dinamo quickly punished. The Hajduk player lost the ball near the goal line; Petković took advantage of his mistake and entered the penalty area. Petković found Majer, who hit the opposite corner with his head from the top of the box.

Additional pressure from Dinamo was expected after the lead but they left the ball to Hajduk and waited for counters. Hajduk played smart and controlled the match.

In the 33rd minute, Jurić nailed the penalty area, but Stefan Simić shot straight at Livaković. In the next attack, Ivanušec shot well from about 20 meters, but Kalinić defended even better.

Hajduk played better nearing halftime, and in the 41st minute, they had another great chance. Livaja masterfully played Jurić, but Livaković reacted superbly. 

Hajduk deservedly equalized a minute before the end of the first half after a big mistake by Dinamo's defense. Lauritsen reacted desperately, Theophile lost focus on Livaja, and Hajduk's best player scored for 1:1.

Ivanušec was subbed off at halftime for Kastrati, and Tramezzani played Diamantakos instead of Ljubičić.

The tempo of the second half was dull until the 61st minute when Petković shot high over the goal. Kastrati missed three minutes later.

Hajduk, who played well in the first hour, started to lose strength, which became more and more obvious as the match came to an end. However, Diamantakos hit the crossbar in the final minutes. 

After three victories in the previous three clashes with Hajduk this season, Dinamo failed to achieve maximum performance and almost mathematically secured the title but entered the last four rounds with a seven-point advantage over Osijek.

Hajduk has not inched much closer to third place, which certainly leads to Europe.

Source: Index.hr

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Wednesday, 17 February 2021

Marko Livaja Returns to Hajduk after 11 Years!

February 17, 2021 - Croatian striker Marko Livaja returns to his hometown club, Hajduk Split!

Marko Livaja returns to Poljud! The experienced 27-year-old striker returned to the Split club after 11 years and signed a contract with Hajduk until the end of the current season after terminating his contract with the Greek first league team AEK.

After many years, Marko will fulfill his great wish and boyhood dream to play an official match for Hajduk's first team. He made six appearances for Hajduk, but all in friendly matches.

In 2010, as a sixteen-year-old, he left Hajduk for Inter Milan, where he played 13 official matches and scored four goals.

In the meantime, he played for Swiss Lugano, Italian clubs Cesena, Atalanta, Empoli, Russian Rubin Kazan, Spanish Las Palmas, and Greek club AEK from Athens, for which he played for the past two seasons and collected 147 official appearances with 42 goals scored.

 

Livaja played for all the younger selections of the Croatia national team, while he made a total of four appearances for the first team.

"I am happy to be back home after so much time, and I am looking forward to new opportunities and challenges here. I am glad that I will try to achieve goals with my beloved club, and I hope for better results," said Marko after signing for Hajduk.

"Marko, welcome back to Hajduk, and we wish you good luck and success in the white jersey!" Hajduk concluded in its official announcement

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Monday, 1 February 2021

Love Declaration: Billboard Proposal In Split Captures Croatia's Heart

February 1, 2021 – A bold declaration of love that first captured hearts in the city of Split has now travelled all across Croatia, as one city resident requested the hand of his beloved in a billboard proposal

Dominating the skyline on the city's northern shores, Poljud is perhaps the best known - and most visually impressive – football stadium in Croatia. Holding near 35, 000 people and boasting sleekly curved roofs on opposite sides, you can't help but admire the relatively modern arena when it is in eyesight.

But, over recent days, the gaze of city residents has drawn by a competing spectacle nearby. In an unabashed declaration of love and intent, one Split resident has placed a billboard proposal within eyesight of the stadium and the local swimming pools. The petition for marriage has captured the hearts of any passing by.

Screenshot_142.pngHow local media outlet Dalmatinski Portal revealed the romantic request. Their story has since been picked up by national media and captured hearts all across Croatia © Dalmatinski Portal screenshot

Translated, the text of the billboard proposal reads:

"Baby
Here's where we met
Here's where you took my hand
Here's where I ask for your hand"

The billboard proposal was pictured and the romantic request revealed by local media outlet Dalmatinski Portal. Many Split residents had already seen the billboard proposal for themselves – it is prominently positioned near the crossroads where Osmih mediteranskih igara, Put Supavla and Ulica Zrinsko Frankopanska meet, in the area of the city which is also called Poljud. But, the story has since been picked up by national media in Croatia and has now raised hearts and smiles all across the country. And they say romance is dead!

No word has yet arrived as to whether the billboard proposal has been accepted. Perhaps the response might be issued in a more private manner? Or, if the recipient is as bold in expression as the proposer, perhaps keep your eyes peeled on the billboards of Split for a joyous 'yes'.

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