A rare French honour for a Croatian football legend.
On Friday at the City Hall in Marseille, Joško Skoblar, one of the best Croatian and European players ever, will official become a French knight. The rare honour given by the French government will be presented to Skoblar by Mayor of Marseille Jean Claude Gaudin and the ceremony will be attended by the French Sports Minister as well, reports Jutarnji List on February 9, 2016.
There is little doubt that Joško Skoblar is more popular in France than in Croatia. The reason lies in his personal character and the fact that he did not want to bow his head in front of various football strongmen. And he has remained what Marseille made him to be – a symbol of the French south who defies Paris.
The guests at the ceremony will include Zadar Mayor Božidar Kalmeta and the president of the Croatian Football Federation Davor Šuker. Maybe some other important Croatian footballers from the south of France will also show up, for example, Alen Bokšić, who led Olympique to the Champions League crown in 1993, or Dado Pršo, former Monaco player, who still lives on the Cote d’Azur.
Joško Skoblar, who is now 76 years old, has remained in the memory of our soccer fans as a member of the Yugoslav national team which finished fourth at the 1962 World Cup in Chile. Skoblar was a regular member of the team and has scored a goal against Uruguay.
The goalkeeper of the team Milutin Šoškić remembers Skoblar well. “Not only was he one of the best in the Yugoslavian team, but Skoblar was one of the best players in the world! All the goalkeepers were afraid of him. He is a good man, a little bit withdrawn, but on the pitch he would fight till the end. Technically, he was a bit unusual but always perfect”, said Šoškić and added: “The French do not give compliments easily so it means a lot that they have decided to give a knighthood to Skoblar.” France Football named Skoblar as the second best foreign player in the history of French football.
Even today, Skoblar is associated with Marseille. Mayor Gaudin had offered him to be the official presenter of Marseille at the European Championship, but Skoblar had already accepted the invitation of the Croatian Football Federation which wanted him to present the Croatian national team. He has once again demonstrated his character, since he accepted the invitation of the Federation which has for decades ignored and neglected him.
Joško Skoblar was also a great coach. In Croatia, he coached Hajduk, Dinamo and Rijeka. And with Rijeka he achieved his greatest coaching success, when they defeated Real Madrid 3-1. He was also the manager of HSV, Nimes, Real Valladolid and the Lebanese national team.