How Pitagora’s Calabrian City Was Renamed From Crotone to CROtone

Total Croatia News

Ivan Jurić, ex-Hajduk and Croatia player, staged a miracle in Italian Serie B, leading tiny club from Calabria to promotion five rounds before the end of the season.

Italian football club Crotone has earned promotion into Serie A for the first time in its history. This tiny club was first formed in 1910, but went bankrupt in 1979 and again in 1991, and the current campaign is only their 12th in Serie B. On May 2, 2016, we bring the story about the massive Croatian influence on this achievement, which gave Crotone a new nickname – CROtone.

Their guiding light has been Coach Ivan Juric, and this weekend, his team traveled to Modena to play the match which was to secure the qualification to Serie A, five rounds before the end of the season. The season in which the goal set by the club’s board was not to be relegated from Serie B. The Calabrians knew they needed just one point to secure mathematical promotion into the top flight for the first time in their history, so more than a thousand of their fans made the trip to the Stadio Braglia on the far North of Italy.

Thousands more packed the Piazza Pitagora (named after the city’s most famous citizen ever) in Crotone where they watched the live broadcast on big screens with flags, fireworks, and flares. The tiny club from Calabria earned a 1-1 draw in Modena, mathematically securing their step into the top flight.

Crotone Coach Ivan Jurić said that Crotone’s first ever promotion into Serie A was the greatest feeling of his entire career; “There are so many emotions, seeing so many people with tears in their eyes is the greatest feeling I’ve had in my sporting career,”

He talked about the future and praised his players for more than football abilities: “What does the future hold? Right now, all I feel is such happiness and joy. We’ve done a great job this season, and the lads were fantastic. The players put their hearts and human values into every game. That’s what makes the difference”.

Apart from Ivan Jurić, who is already being scouted by big clubs in Italy, one more Croatian had a big part in Crotone’s success story. The ex-Sesvete, Inter Zaprešić, and Lokomotiva forward, Ante Budimir came to Crotone on loan from St. Pauli, and is the best scorer of the team, with 16 goals in the season. The Italian football pundits call him “little Mandžukić,” comparing him with the Juventus star.

Ivan Jurić, an ex-Hajduk player, was not remembered as a star player, and had a brief career in the Croatian National team, making his debut when he was 33 years old. He was left out of the team after making his opinion about his quality and that of his teammates, the opinion not welcomed by his colleagues. Even so, legendary goalkeeper Stipe Pletikosa, knowing Jurić from their early days, pointed him out as most likely to have a tremendous coaching career, and it seems that Pletikosa was right.

We should mention that Crotone has one of the lowest budgets in Italian Serie B, some 3 million Euros, making this success even larger. Jurić is 41 years old, and he has plenty of time to gain more experience, and if he continues in the manner he started, maybe the Croatian Football Federation could consider him for a role in Croatian football.


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