Dejan Lovren Becomes 10th Croatian Footballer to Win Champions League

Daniela Rogulj

Liverpool defender Dejan Lovren has become the tenth Croatian footballer to win the Champions League, reports on June 1, 2019. 

Before him, the Champions League title was claimed by Alen Bokšić, Zvonimir Boban, Davor Šuker, Dario Šimić, Igor Bišćan, Mario Mandžukić, Luka Modrić, Ivan Rakitić, and Mateo Kovačić. Some Croatian footballers won the European title in the former state. Recall, Robert Prosinečki won as a member of Red Star in the European Cup in May 1991. The Belgrade team defeated Olympique de Marseille 5:3 (0:0) after a penalty shoot-out.

This was Lovren’s second Champions League final. Liverpool lost to Real Madrid in the final last year, but in their second attempt, they celebrated 2:0 over Tottenham.

Luka Modrić holds the Croatian record with four Champions League titles and all four won with Real Madrid (2014, 2016, 2017, 2018). Mateo Kovačić has three European titles, also with Real Madrid (2016, 2017, 2018), while Dario Šimić was the European champion twice with Milan (2003, 2007).

The first Croatian footballer to win the Champions League was Alen Bokšić in 1993 with Marseille in Munich at the Olympic Stadium. The French club celebrated against Milan 1:0. Bokšić played the whole match, and it was the first edition of the ‘Champions League’. Bokšić played in the final four years later with Juventus. Interestingly, at the same stadium, though Juve lost to Borussia Dortmund 1:3.

Just like Boksić, Zvonimir Boban played in two finals and has one title. The former Croatia captain won the European crown with Milan in 1994 in Athens demolishing Barcelona 4:0. A year later, Milan played in the final again, but Ajax won 1:0 in Vienna.

The current president of the Croatian Football Federation and the best goalscorer in the history of the Croatia national team Davor Šuker won the European championship in 1998 in the jersey of Real Madrid after defeating Juventus 1:0. Šuker went on in the 88th minute for Predrag Mijatović.

Dario Šimić has European crowns with Milan after winning in 2003 against Juventus (3:2, penalties), and 2007 against Liverpool (2:1). However, Šimić watched both finals from the stands.

He also did not perform in the 2005 final where Milan lost to Liverpool. In that final, after a miraculous turnaround, Igor Bišćan celebrated with the Reds, though he followed the match from the stands. The Italian club was up 3:0, but Liverpool managed to equalize in the second half and forced the game to penalties. 

Mario Mandžukić won the Champions League in 2013 in the Bayern jersey, defeating Borussia Dortmund at Wembley 2:1. Mandžukić then became the first Croat to score in the final of the Champions League, and the sixth Croatian footballer to win the most elite European competition. “Super Mario” scored for 1:0 in the 60th minute.

The following year, Luka Modrić won the first of four European titles with Real Madrid. In the final in Lisbon, Real Madrid defeated Atletico Madrid 4:1 after extra time. It was Luka to assist Sergio Ramos in the third minute of extra time for 1:1.

The next season, the European crown went to Barcelona. The Catalan club celebrated in the final against Juventus 3:1, and Rakitić put Barca in the lead in the 4th minute, making him the second Croat to score in the Champions League final after Mandžukić. Rakitić also became the first Croatian footballer to win the Champions League and the Europa League with two different clubs after celebrating with Sevilla in 2014. Mateo Kovačić later joined him.

For the last three years, the European title was won by Real Madrid with the Croatian duo Modrić and Kovačić. Real defeated Atletico Madrid after a penalty shootout in 2016 in Milan, a year later they defeated Juventus 4:1 in Cardiff and last year they overcame Liverpool 3:1 in Kyiv.

Seven Croatian footballers have lost in the final, including Ivica Olić, Danijel Pranjić, Boris Živković, Marko Babić, Jurica Vranješ, Igor Tudor, and Dado Pršo.

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