Tuesday, 14 September 2021

Dinamo Prepares for West Ham at Maksimir: "We Can Repeat Tottenham"

September 14, 2021 - Dinamo Zagreb is preparing to welcome West Ham at Maksimir Stadium on Thursday to open the Europa League group stage. 

West Ham United is playing in Europe for the first time in five years. The English club played in the competition last when they were led by Slaven Bilić and were shockingly knocked out in the play-offs by Romanian club Astra Giurgiu, reports 24 Sata.

West Ham is in the group stage of the competition for the first time thanks to finishing sixth place in the Premier League last season.

And their first stop? Croatia.

Dinamo, their first group stage opponent, plays in the Europa League group stage for the 14th time in the last 15 seasons.

Nikola Vlašić (23) will once again play against Dinamo in the Europa League group stage. Recall, Vlašić met Dinamo when playing with CSKA Moscow last season and lost at Maksimir. He made his West Ham debut in the draw against Southampton last weekend (0-0).

Spaniard Pablo Fornals (25) knows it won’t be easy, even though the Hammers are favorites for bookmakers (odds 2.25 at West Ham and 3.10 at Dinamo).

"We are playing away. It will be a new experience for all of us, and I hope that we will make all West Ham fans proud," Fornals said for the official West Ham website.

Coach David Moyes has hinted that striker Michail Antonio, who is excluded from the league game and has no right to play against Manchester United at the weekend, will play in Zagreb.

"Will I try other options? He can’t play against United, and you can look at it in several ways. I don't want Mic to be without a game for a few weeks, he played a little for the national team, but I will think about it," said Moyes.

Dinamo captain Arijan Ademi (30), the club's record holder with 87 appearances in UEFA competitions, does not believe that it will be a one-way street.

"With a full stadium, with our fans, with their great support, we can repeat Tottenham. Clearly, I am an optimist; what an athlete I would be if I were not an optimist. We believed then that we could get past the Spurs, and that faith brought us that result," said the captain and continued:

"I appeal to our fans to give us the support they know against West Ham. It means a lot to us on the field; fan support is a big motivator. The louder our fans are, the higher our percentage for success. So I hope they will fill Maksimir."

The match starts at 18.45 on Thursday and will be refereed by Frenchman Ruddy Buquet (44), who refereed Dinamo in their victory against Ferencvaros in Budapest in 2019 (4-0) and was the fourth referee against Neftči in Zagreb in 2011 (3-0). He also refereed the Croatia national team in a draw against Azerbaijan in 2015 (0-0) and victory in Finland in 2016 (1-0).

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Tuesday, 31 August 2021

Nikola Vlašić Joins West Ham United, 4th Largest Transfer in Croatian Football History!

August 31, 2021 - It's official - Nikola Vlašić joins West Ham United in a transfer that is the 4th largest in Croatian football history! 

Nikola Vlašić is the new player of Premier League club West Ham United. The Croatian footballer has signed a six-year contract, and his current club, CSKA Moscow, should receive 30 million euros in fixed compensation.

"West Ham United are delighted to announce the signing of Croatia international attacker Nikola Vlašić.

The talented 23-year-old arrives on a five-year deal for an undisclosed fee from Russian Premier League club CSKA Moscow.

A teenage prodigy with Hajduk Split, Vlašić has already played more than 250 senior matches, scored 33 goals, and assisted 21 more for CSKA over the previous three seasons, and was named Russian Premier League Footballer of the Year in 2020.

A regular for Croatia, he has 26 senior caps and featured four times at the recent UEFA Euro 2020 finals, and will now continue his career at London Stadium after representing his country during the current international break.

The player has been extensively scouted, and the creative attacker will add top-class quality and experience to David Moyes’ squad.

“I am delighted to welcome Nikola to West Ham United,” said the manager. "I have been watching Nikola improve over recent seasons – he has got a good goals and assists record during that time. He is also a Croatia international with experience, and still being only 23, I feel there is more to come from him. 

“I was really impressed with how determined Nikola was to become a West Ham player. It’s that hunger and ambition that fits with what we are trying to build here at the Club,” reads the club's website


"Born in Split in October 1997, Vlašić started his career with Omladinac Vranjic at the age of eight before moving to the city’s leading club, Hajduk, at 12 in 2010.

A teenage sensation, he scored on his first-team debut in a UEFA Europa League qualifying tie with Irish side Dundalk in July 2014, aged just 16 years and nine months. By the season’s end, he had made 37 appearances and scored four goals, still well short of his 18th birthday.

Vlašić made his senior Croatia debut at 19 in May 2017, before establishing himself as a regular squad member the following year. He has since played 26 times in total, scoring six goals, including the opener in the Euro 2020 win over Scotland in June this year.

And he was still a teenager when he moved to the English Premier League side Everton in August 2017, having impressed Blues manager Ronald Koeman in a Europa League tie earlier that month. 

After a single season at Goodison Park, where he featured 19 times, Vlašić signed for CSKA Moscow, initially on loan, and has been a major success in Russia.

In 108 games for CSKA in all competitions, he has been directly involved in 54 goals, won three Russian Player of the Month trophies and the 2020 Russian Footballer of the Year award.

Now, he will bring his considerable attacking talents to London Stadium.

Everyone at West Ham United would like to wish Nikola every success for his career in Claret and Blue," the club continued. 

Nikola also confirmed the news on his Instagram profile today. 

"I am delighted with the signing for this great club and I can’t wait to wear the jersey and give my best in every training and every game."

Vlašić has already played in England. In the summer of 2017, he left Hajduk for Everton in the most expensive transfer in the club's history, for 11 million euros. However, he only played 19 games there, mostly from the bench, and thus moved to the most trophy-winning Russian club. There he profiled himself as one of the key levers of the team. He confirmed his status as one of the best players in the league and established himself in the starting lineup.

He is expected to earn 4 million euros a year in London. With a fixed compensation of 30 million euros, Vlašić is the fourth largest transfer in history when it comes to Croatian footballers. The first two places are held by Mateo Kovačić, who was sold to Chelsea for 45 million, and Real Madrid for 38 million euros. Modrić is third when Real Madrid paid 35 million euros for him from Tottenham.

Croatia coach Zlatko Dalić also commented on the transfer before the national team gathering on Monday.

"Vlašić is on his way from London to Moscow. It seems it is final. I hope he solved the transfer. Nikola knows best what is good for him. I think he deserved an even better club than West Ham. He got that transfer and can expect big things. He will make bigger transfers in a couple of years," Dalić said. 

Source: Index.hr

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To learn more about sport in Croatia, CLICK HERE.

Monday, 6 November 2017

Confirmed: Slaven Bilić Sacked by West Ham United!

West Ham United decided to part ways with the Croat this afternoon.

Monday, 12 December 2016

Slaven Bilić Dedicates Point to Turkey in an Emotional Tribute

Football players at West Ham United yesterday managed a difficult away point at Anfield, drawing to Liverpool 2:2. Slaven Bilić, current manager of West Ham United and former Croatian coach and manager of football club Besiktas, whose stadium over the weekend experienced deadly bombings, dedicated the away point to the people of Turkey.