Ivan Leko is the new coach of Hajduk! On the last day of 2022, the 44-year-old expert from Split agreed to cooperate with the club until the summer of 2025. He will take over the Hajduk bench at the beginning of January 2023. The first official match of the former legendary and trophy-winning Hajduk captain is expected against Šibenik on January 22 at Poljud. Leko returned to his home club after more than 17 years and won the championship title as a Hajduk player in the 2004/2005 season.
He made his debut for Hajduk at 17 against Osijek under coach Ivan Katalinić. He made 187 official appearances in the white jersey, with 39 goals scored. He won the Cup with Hajduk in 2000, and as captain, he led the team to the championship title in 2000/2001.
In the summer of 2001, he signed for the Spanish club Malaga and returned to Hajduk again in the winter of 2005. In the same season, he won the league title. After that, he spent a large part of his career in Belgium playing for Club Brugge, Beerschot, and Lokeren, where he ended his playing career at 37. He made 13 official appearances for the Croatia national team.
“This moment is very special, emotional. I started playing football at Hajduk and knew the day would come when I would become Hajduk’s coach. I am thrilled and looking forward to it, and I hope many beautiful things await us. So many things can be done. The fact is that Hajduk has made huge progress in everything in the last two years. From day one, we will emphasize energy, emotion, and passion, and everything we do will be with that emphasis. I hope our fans will enjoy watching our games,” said Leko.
Leko was an assistant to Igor Tudor at PAOK, and as an independent coach, he managed the Belgian clubs Leuven, Sint-Truden, Royal Antwerp, and Club Brugge, with which he won the championship title, Cup, and Supercup and played in the Champions League group stage in 2018. He also sat on the bench of Al-Ain in the United Arab Emirates, and his last coaching engagement was with the Chinese Premier League club Shanghai Port, which he led for the previous two years.
The new year also means the beginning of the new Hajduk fan memberships. After the extraordinary 2022, which will be remembered for a record 90,480 members, this year expects even more.
Namely, in the 112th year of the club, Hajduk wants to reach 112,000 memberships!
“I think that is also impossible, but we have shown so many times that we are moving those boundaries; we can put that figure of 112,000 members to motivate us all together,” said Hajduk president Lukša Jakobušić.
Membership fees this year are 20 euros. If you are under 18 or older than 65, memberships are 10 euros. Family memberships also have a discount of 2 euros for each additional family member.
The new year also means transfer news, and Hajduk has already made some announcements that have surprised some fans.
Stipe Biuk has left Hajduk after 67 official appearances. The 20-year-old winger left Poljud to join American Los Angeles FC, realizing one of the most significant transfers in the club’s history.
As a captain and one of the most talented players of his generation, he led the Hajduk juniors in 2021 to their first junior title after nine years. He made his debut for the first team in March 2021 in a Cup match against Zagreb.
LASK Linz used the option to buy forward Marin Ljubičić, who went on loan to the Austrian club at the end of June this year. Immediately after arriving in Austria, Ljubičić became a standard first-team player and is currently the club’s leading scorer. He made 17 official appearances for LASK in the first part of the season. Marin played 44 official matches for Hajduk, scoring nine times and adding four assists.
HNK Hajduk will play four matches as part of final preparations for the spring season, which will be held in Novigrad, Istria.
The first team continued preparations on Monday at Poljud and will travel to Novigrad on Thursday, where they will stay until January 15.
NK Kalcer Radomlje – Hajduk (January 7)
MOL Fehervar – Hajduk (January 11)
Celje – Hajduk (January 14)
1. FC Slovácko – Hajduk (January 15)
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