Croatian Footballers Important Factor in Italian Serie A

Total Croatia News

Serie A talks – Croatian! After a short, traditional Christmas break, this Saturday the Italian Championship continues, with a strong Croatian signature

Something unimaginable five to six years ago, as there were only two Croatian players in the league, Igor Budan in Cesena and Vedran Celjak in Sampdoria. is today a reality. Croatia footballers are getting more numerous in Serie A, but more importantly more valued, as they have important roles in the strongest clubs and are rightly hailed as some of the best foreigners in Italian football, Jutarnji List wrote on January 6, 2017.

Numbers say Croats are third in Serie A by the number of performances (157) behind Argentineans and Brazilians, with 25 goals second and with 16 assists fourth in each category. Enough to illustrate the importance they hold in their clubs and the status they enjoy in Italian football.
The Croatian boom in Serie A began in the 2014/15 season, after in the previous season 13 players scored only three goals in 112 performances. Then the ball got rolling… A bigger role was given to Kovačić and Vrsaljko, Čop began hitting the mark, Badelj and Brozović pushed for their spot in Fiorentina and Inter, all just an announcement for the 2015/16 season when with the arrival of Mandžukić, Perišić and Kalinić Croats began to play a very important role in Italian football.

A total of 38 goals in 219 performances are last season’s numbers which could easily be topped by the end of the current championship. The scoring shape of Mandžukić and Kalinić, contribution of Perišić, Brozović and Perica, with the chances waiting for Pjaca, Rog and Budimir, should be the impulse which will make the 2016/17 season the most successful for Croats in the Serie A.

“My opinion is the acceptance to the EU was the key moment for the doors of Italy to be opened once again. We were always interesting to Italians, close by, with talented players who fit easily into their football,” said Zoran Ban, who joined Juventus in 1993 when Croats in Italy could be counted on one hand, along with Boban, Alen Bokšić and Robert Jarni.

According to data from Transfermarkt, from 1971 until today there were 81 Croatian footballers in Serie A, with 2.634 performances and 324 goals. Most of them by Igor Budan (44) and Alen Bokšić (34).

“This is just an indicator of how much Croatian players are worth in Italy. I believe it was evident in the last 25-30 years, from Zvonimir Boban to today. We know what Serie A means, our players have proved Croatian football should not be underestimated. Italians are tactically very well prepared, based on defensive tactics, bringing Croats in specifically to advance the game to offense,” Ban said.

Just like Boban, Bokšić or Budan once, today the main roles are held by Mandžukić, Kalinić, Brozović, Badelj, Perišić…

“What is there to say about them after watching them each week. Their good games are a confirmation of value. It is important for Croatian football, to be present, play well, as it opens doors for others to come,” added Ban.

“Mandžukić has proved himself of higher class. He’s always on top of his game when needed, when everyone is against him he rises to the challenge, gives his maximum and the fact he plays in front of Higuain shows how much he means to Juventus and Allegri. He has scored plenty, but is worth more than that to Juventus. Equally important is the duo in Inter. Brozović must be in the spotlight, ready to show how much he is worth to Inter. He blended well tactically, scores important goals, assists and has become an important wheel. High class is also Perišić although he’s has issues.”

Although Fiorentina failed to make the top of Serie A, they’re not far away, with key roles played by Nikola Kalinić and Milan Badelj.

“Kalinić has continued to confirm his quality, goals he has scored speak of it. There is also Milić, who will need more time to adjust, but will give his contribution. Pašalić in Milan? He’s come to a very large club where competition is not especially fierce, he’s bouncing back from an injury and can do a lot.”
Maybe the biggest surprise of all Croats is Josip Posavec, goalie of Palermo.

“His goalkeeping is very good, with Nestorovski he is the highlight of Palermo, currently balancing above the second league. He’s made mistakes, but overall he’s defending really well. Congratulations to all the boys as they are playing at a serious level, hopefully there will be more chances for Perica, Pjaca, Rog, Budimir and Strinić who are quality players. Some don’t play much and must find a better solution, stay or go somewhere where they will play. Boban was also no loan to Bari before the exploded as a player,” concluded Zoran Ban.


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