Monday, November 24, 2014

Yugoslavia Greatest All-time team

Yugoslavia at World Cup 1990

Please also see my All-Time World Cup Team Index.

This is the all-time team for the former Yugoslavia.  I have also create an all-time team for Serbia and Croatia.  I also create one for Bosnia and HerzegovinaMacedonia/Montenegro/Kosovo and Slovenia.

Historically, Yugoslavia was loaded with football talents, but they did not perform as well as they should have. They only reached two European Championship Final in the 1960's and an Olympic Gold Medal in 1960.  The most memorable result probably came in 1987 when they won the U-20 World Cup.  The backbone of the team helped Red Star Belgrade to win the European Cup in 1991.  The players went on to star in major clubs throughout Europe.

Rest of the former Yugoslavia without players from Croatia and Serbia.  
Yugoslavia World Cup 1994
Yugoslavia World Cup 2018

European Championship in 1976

GK: Vladimir Beara  (born in Croatia of Serb enthicity)
Vladimir Beara played on three World Cups; 1950, 1954 and 1958.  He was considered one of the greatest keepers from the Warsaw Pact.  With Hajduk Split , he won the Yugoslav league title in 1950, 1952 and 1955. In 1955, he moved to Belgrade's Red Star, where he won even more Yugoslav league titles, in 1956, 1957, 1959, 1960, and won the Yugoslav Cup in 1958 and 1959. He ended his career in German clubs Alemannia Aachen and Viktoria Köln.

GK:  Milutin Soskic  (Serbia)
Milutin Soskic  was a legend with FK Partizan between 1955 and 1966.  In 1966, Partizan  reached the Final of the European Cup, where they lost to the Ye-Ye team of Real Madrid. He later played for Koln in Germany from 1966 to 1971, winning the German Cup in 1968.  He was capped by Yugoslavia for 50 times between 1959 and 1966.

GK: Samir Handanović (Slovenia)
From 2004, Samir Handanović  was capped over 70 times for Slovenia.  He went to the World Cup Finals in 2010.  For club football, he was best remembered as a top keeper in Serie A.  He was voted the best keeper for 2013 in Italy.   He is one of only three non-Italian keepers to be named Serie A Goalkeeper of the Year, winning the honor twice. He is nicknamed Batman due to his acrobatic saves.

RB: Milutin Ivković (Serbia)
Milutin Ivković played 39 times for Yugoslavia.  He played for them at 1928 Summer Olympics and FIFA World Cup 1930, where they reached the semifinal. He is considered the best rightback in Yugoslavian football history.  He obtained a medical degree in 1931 while serving as an active player.  During the War, he was an active in resistance movement. He was executed by firing squad in 1943.
Milutin Ivković (R)
RB: Branko Stanković (born in Bosnia of Serb ethnicity) 
Branko Stanković  was best remembered for his career with Red Star Belgrade, where he won 4 league titles and established himself as one of the best defender in Yugoslavian football history.  He participated at two World Cups and twice at Olympic Games. Stanković is one of the most elegant defensive players of his time. Because of his playing style, he earned his nickname Ambassador. 

CB:  Josip Katalinski  (Bosnia and Herzegovina)
Josip Katalinski was capped 41 times for Yugoslavia.  He went to Euro 1976.  He scored the winning goal for the game against Soain that helped Yugoslavia to qualify for the World Cup in 1974.  He played for FK Željezničar from 1965 to 1975. He made more than 250 league appearances and, although he was a defender, he scored 48 league goals.  In 1975, he joined Nice in France. 

CB: Nemanja Vidic (Serbia)
Nemanja Vidic spent 9 seasons as the starting center-back at Manchester United from 2006 and 2014, where he won every major trophy and established himself as one of the best center-backs of his generation.  He also played for Red Star Belgrade and Spartak Moscow.  He went to the World Cup Finals in 2006 and 2010. He was part of the "Famous Four" Serbian national team defense that conceded just one goal during the 2006 World Cup qualification campaign
Nemanja Vidic 
CB: Ivica Horvat (Croatia)
Horvat gained 60 caps.  He played in both 1950 and 1954 World Cup Finals and won a silver medal at the 1952 Summer Olympics.  In the Final, they lost the legendary Hungarian team of the 1950's. Horvat played from 1945 until 1957 for Dinamo Zagreb. In 1957 he moved to Germany to Eintracht Frankfurt, where he stayed until the end of his career.
CB: Velibor Vasovic (Serbia)
Velibor Vasovic was a legend at FK Partizan.  He lost the European Cup to Real Madrid in 1966.  A year later, he later joined Ajax and established himself as one of the best defenders in Europe.  In 1971, he captained Ajax as they won their first European Cup, playing alongside Johan Cruyff.  He is considered one of the greatest Ajax defenders. He played 32 times for Yugoslavia.

LB: Robert Jarni (Croatia)
Robert Jarni was a member of Yugoslavia's Golden Generation of the 1990's.  He went to the World Cup Finals in 1990 with Yugoslavia and later, represented Croatia at the World Cup Finals in 1998, where they reached the semifinal.  Professionally, he began Hadjuk Split had played in big clubs such as Juventus and Real Madrid as well as Real Betis where he played the longest.  He also played club football in England and Italy.
Robert Jarni

RB/LB: Fahrudin Jusufi (Gorani born in Kosovo)
Fahrudin Jusufi was the greatest fullback in Yugoslavian football history.  He played at the 1962 FIFA World Cup and at the 1960 Summer Olympics, where his team won the gold medal.   During his career, he played for FK Partizan, Eintracht Frankfurt, Germania Wiesbaden and FC Dornbirn, retiring in 1972. He was part of the Partizan squad when they became vice-champions of Europe after losing the 1966 European Cup Final against Real Madrid.

LW/LB/CB: Branco Zebec (Croatia)
Zebec was one of the greatest players ever from Yugoslavia. In his heyday the player from FK Partizan and Red Star Belgrade fascinated the world with his performances at the World Cups in 1954 and 1958. With Partizan he won 3 Yugoslav Cups (1952, 1954, 1957). With Red Star Belgrade he won the national championship in 1960. He led Yugoslavia to second-place at European Champion in 1960. 
Branco Zebec
CM: Luka Modric (Croatia)
Luka Modric is one of the greatest playmakers of his generation. He earned more 90 caps for Croatia.  He currently plays for Real Madrid and won the Champions' League for the 2013-2014,  2015-2016 and 2017-2017 season.  He also played with Dinamo Zagreb and Tottenham Hotspurs.  He played in the WC Finals of 2006 and 2014, as well as the European Championship of 2008, 2012 and 2016.  In 2018, he led Croatia to finish 2nd at the World Cup Finals, where he was voted as the best player of the tournament.
Luka Modric
CM: Zlatko Čajkovski (Croatia)
Zlatko Čajkovski was considered one of the best Yugoslavian players ever.  He played for FK Partizan before moving to play for Koln in Germany. Internationally, he played twice for the Independent State of Croatia, and between 1946 and 1955 he played 55 times for the Yugoslavia, scoring 7 goals. Participating at the Olympic Games 1948 and 1952 he won the silver medal on both occasions.  He also participated in the World Cups of 1950 and 1954. 

RW/AM: Dejan Savicevic (Montenegro)
Dejan Savicevic was a part of the Red Star Belgrade team that won the 1990–91 European Cup before joining A.C. Milan in 1992. With Milan, he won three Serie A titles and the 1993–94 UEFA Champions League, beating Barcelona 4-0 in the Final. He represented Yugoslavia at the 1990 and 1998 FIFA World Cups.  However, his international career was limited by the FIFA ban on Yugoslavia during the prime of his career. He did not appear in the European Championship of 1992 as a result.

AM: Dragan Stojkovic (Serbia)
Dragan Stojkovic is considered one of the best players in the history of Yugoslavian and Serbian football. He starred for Yugoslavia at the 1990 FIFA World Cup (where he was named in the World Cup All-Star Team) and 1998 FIFA World Cup where he captained the team. He was a star player at Red Star Belgrade, but he was playing for Marseille when Red Star Belgrade beat Marseille in the 1990 Final of the European Cup.
Dragan Stojkovic
AM: Dragoslav Sekularac (Serbia)
He was considered one of the best player in Red Star Belgrade history.  He later played for Independiente Santa Fe in Colombia for five seasons, before transferring to Millonarios from Bogotá and ending his playing career in the German Bundesliga with Karlsruher SC.  He played in the 1958 and 1962 World Cup Finals, where his team reached the semifinal in 1962.  
RW: Aleksandar Tirnanić (Serbia)
He played 50 times for the Kingdom of Yugoslavia between 1929 and 1940.  He went to the WC Finals in 1930, where he became among the youngest goal-scorer in history.  Tirnanić spent most of his senior club career with BSK Beograd for which he appeared in 500 matches. He later played for SK Jugoslavija, BASK, Jedinstvo  and Sloga .

LW: Dragan Dzajic (Serbia)
Dragan Džajić is viewed by some football experts as perhaps one of the most underrated players in European football, partly because he played in Yugoslavia. He is considered one of the greatest left wing in history of the game.  He played most of his career with Red Star Belgrade.  He was capped 85 times for Yugoslavia between 1964 and 1978.  He was voted the best player at Europran Championship in 1968, where Yugoslavia finished second behind Italy.
Dragan Dzajic
LW/FW: Bernard Vukas (Croatia)
In 2000, Bernard Vukas was voted by the Croatian Football Federation as the best Croatian player of all time.  He had 59 caps.  He was also a part of the Yugoslavia team in the 1950 FIFA World Cup and 1954 FIFA World Cup.  With Yugoslavia he won 2 silver medals in the Olympic games: 1948 and 1952. His career was associated with Hajduk Split, but he also played in Italy and Austria.

FW:  Stjepan Bobek (Croatia)
He played for Partizan between 1945 and 1959 helping them win two Yugoslav First League titles and four Yugoslav Cups, and was named the club's greatest player in history in 1995. Internationally, he is the all-time top scorer for Yugoslavia, scoring 38 goals in 63 appearances between 1946 and 1956, He won two Olympic silver medals (in 1948 and 1952) and played in two World Cups (in 1950 and 1954).

ST:  Predrag Mijatović (Montenegro)
At club level, Mijatović played for six different clubs: Budućnost Podgorica, Partizan, Valencia, Real Madrid, Fiorentina and Levante. He is best remembered for scoring the winning goal against Juventus as Real Madrid won the 1998 Champions' league, its first title since 1966.  He played 73 times for Yugoslavia.  In 1997, Mijatović was runner-up for the Ballon d'Or, behind Ronaldo and ahead of Zinedine Zidane.
Predrag Mijatović 
ST: Davor Suker (Croatia)
Davor Suker was a part of Yugoslavia's Golden Generation in the 1990's.  He later played for Croatia, where he is the all-time leading scorer.  He is best remembered for finishing the top scorer at the World Cup Finals in 1998, where Croatia reached the semifinal.  For his club career, he won a Champions' League in 1998 with Real Madrid.  He also played with Sevilla, Arsenal, West Ham and 1860 Munich. He was Croatian Footballer of the Year: 1992, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998.
Davor Suker
Honorable Mention
Safet Susic (Bosnia and Herzegovina), Zvonimir Boban (Croatia), Robert Prosinecki (Croatia), Darijo Srna (Croatia), Bernard Vukas (Croatia), Ivan Ćurković (Bosnia and Herzegovina), Hasan Salihamidžić (Bosnia and Herzegovina),  Dejan Stankovic (Serbia), Vladimir Jugovic(Serbia), Blagoje Marjanović (Serbia),  Bora Kostic (Serbia), Aleksandar Tirnanić (Serbia), Jan Oblak (Slovenia), Asmir Begović (Bosnia and Herzegovina).

Squad Explanation
-- I am including players who did not play for Yugoslavia and were not active during the existence of the country.
--  Vladimir Beara, Dragan Dzajic, Branko Stanković, Branco Zebec, Luka Modric, Bernard Vukas, Dragan Stojkovic and Dejan Savicevi are automatic selections.  No explanation is needed.
-- Ironically, many members of the Golden Generation in the 1990's were not automatic selection.  Their careers in the West did not stand out. In fact, Zvonimir Boban and Robert Prosinecki did not make the team. Five other members of the Golden Generation of the 1990's made the team.  Dragan Stojkovic, Dejan Savicevic, Robert Jarni, Predrag Mijatović and Davor Suker. 
-- In 2014, I selected Asmir Begović as my third goalkeeper.  He gained name recognition because he played in the modern era and in the Premiership. In August, 2019, I replaced him with Samir Handanović. Samir Handanović was one of four non-Italian goalkeeper to have won the Serie A Player of the Year.  Jan Oblak also has a strong case of getting onto the team.
-- Velibor Vasovic's career was defined by being a pioneer for Total Football when he played with Ajax.  He was credited for changing the way the game was played.
-- I selected two modern players.  Luka Modric and Nemanja Vidic proved themselves that they could be playing in the best club sides in the world.  Modric is one of the main reason why Real Madrid won four Champions League in 5 years.  No other player form the former Yugoslavia could claim that.  He helped Croatia to reach the Final of the 2018 World Cup Finals.  After the end of Yugoslavia, Nemanja Vidic is the most well-known player from Serbia.  He was one of the best centerbacks in the world during his prime.
-- Luka Modric is probably the greatest ever player from the region after his performance at the 2018 World Cup Finals.  Before 2018, I would say Dragan Dzajic or Dejan Savicevic were the greatest ev er players from the region.
-- In 2000, Bernard Vukas was voted by the Croatian Football Federation as the best Croatian player of all time.
--- The former republics of Yugoslavia have too many great attack midfielders. I could not find space for Safet Susic, Zvonimir Boban and Robert Prosinecki. Dragan Stojkovic and Dejan Savicevic got into the team over them.
-- Robert Prosinecki was well know in his prime, but his peak was too short.  He never lived up his expectation while playing club football in the Western Europe. His career with both Real Madrid and Barcelona were very limited. Safet Susic's career was limited by not playing outside the West during his prime.
-- Zvonimir Boban spent a fruitful career with AC Milan, but the former Yugoslavia had too many attack midfielders.
-- I admitted the selection of Dragoslav Sekularac over them is strange.  Perhaps, he was a super idol in Yugoslavia, but unknown in the West.  The unknown factor actually helped him.
-- Dejan Savicevic is probably one of the most underrated players in history.  In the early 1990's, he was among the best player in the world, but he could not play in a World Cup Finals because of the ban on international football for Yugoslavia.  In 1992, Denmark won the European Championship, replacing Yugoslavia in Sweden.  That could have been his crowning moment. Instead, he helped AC Milan to win an European Cup in 1994.
-- Blagoje Marjanović supposed to be great. And I admitted not knowing why he is not on this team. I brought Predrag Mijatović and Davor Suker to team largely because they had good name recognition.  Both were established players with Real Madrid.  Davor Suker, of course, was the hero of the 1998 World Cup Finals, where he was the top scorer.  Predrag Mijatović won the 1998 Champions' League with Real Madrid.  He scored the winning goal in the Final against Juventus.  Stjepan Bobek is the all-time top scorer for Yugoslavia.  Blagoje Marjanović had good players with storied careers ahead of him.
Yugoslavia at the World Youth Cup, 1987

Starting Lineup
Formation: 4-2-3-1
For tactical reasons, Luka Modric could operate as a deepy lying playmaker.  Cajkovski would anchor the midfield. The wingbacks supported the attacks. Savicevic was a winger while playing for Red Stars Belgrade.


  1. Hi, I am so impressed with your blog. My father played for Hajduk Split in 1952-54 number 9, then went to Opataja 1955 and played through Europe. He was 16 years when he began with Hajduk. I have tried for years to find anything I could. His name is Ivica Barisic born April 15th 1936. If you could help me or send any information of him Id be most appreciative.