Wednesday, March 30, 2022

Montenegro Greatest All-Time Team

This blogger Artur Yanturin of Russia copied many of my blog teams.  This blog was one of them.  It was my Russia All-Time Team here.  His team was written in 2020, but mine was uploaded in 2014.   His Spartak Moscow All-Time team entry was published in October 2020, but mine was uploaded in 2017.  His entry of the Dutch-German rivalry between Real Madrid and Barcelona was written in 2020, but mine was uploaded in 2014.  He also copied many many of my blog entries.

His Facebook and Instagram

Montenegro national team in 2021

On January 26, 2007, Montenegro was granted full membership in UEFA, marking an important milestone for their national team. Shortly after, on March 24, 2007.  Prior to 2006, Montenegro was a part of Yugoslavia. Milovan Jakšić holds the distinction of being the first player from Montenegro to participate in a World Cup, serving as the Yugoslav goalkeeper in the 1930 tournament. Since then, Montenegrin players, such as Dragoljub Brnović, Dejan Savićević, and Predrag Mijatović, have been well-represented in the Yugoslav and Serbia and Montenegro teams, establishing themselves as some of the most prominent Yugoslav players of all time. In recognition of his Montenegrin heritage, Dragoslav Šekularac's father, he has earned a spot on this team.

Following the breakup of Yugoslavia, Serbia and Montenegro continued to compete under FR Yugoslavia before briefly adopting the name Serbia and Montenegro national football team. They participated in the 1998 World Cup Finals and the 2000 European Championship.

According to a report in 2020, Montenegro has 627,809 citizens.  As comparison to other European countries, Luxembourg has a population of about 604, 245 while Cyprus has 1.1 million.  It is the smallest among the former republics of Yugoslavia.  North Macedonia has about 2 million citizens.

This is my all-time team for Montenegro. If there were an All-Time World Cup, this would be the 23 players I would bring to the tournament.  

GK: Milovan Jakšić (Yugoslavia)
Remembered mostly as "El Grande Milovan", the nickname he earned for his excellent saves in the game that Yugoslavia won against Brasil in the First World Cup in Uruguay 1930 FIFA World Cup. He is considered one of the major contributors for Yugoslavia reaching the semi-finals in that tournament.  He played 17 times for Yugoslavia.  For his club career, he played for FK BASK.  He played  for SK Ljubljana and ND Ilirija at the end of his career.
Milovan Jakšić 
GK: Dragoslav Jevrić (Serbia and Montenegro)
Jevrić was born in Ivangrad, SR Montenegro, SFR Yugoslavia which is now Berane, Montenegro. He started playing with FK Ivangrad, and then with FK Rudar Pljevlja and FK Priština. before moving to Belgrade top-league sides FK Obilić and Red Star. He was a member of Serbia and Montenegro for the 2006 FIFA World Cup. Jevrić was the only player on the team born in Montenegro as Mirko Vučinić withdrew before the tournament due to injury

GK: Zoran Simović  (Yugoslavia)
In his professional career, Zoran Simović played for Napredak in Serbia, NK Hajduk Split in Croatia and Galatasaray in Turkey. He was named Yugoslav Footballer of the Year in 1983. He is best remembered as one of the most legendary goalkeepers of Galatasaray S.K., where he played between 1984-1990. He won two championships with Galatasaray in seasons of 1986-87 and 1987-88.  He played 10 times for Yugoslavia between 1983 and 1984.

RB: Zeljko Petrovic (FR Yugoslavia)
Zeljko Petrović made his debut with Budućnost in 1987. He later played for Dinamo Zagreb, Sevilla, Den Bosch, Waalwijk, PSV and Urawa Red Diamonds.  Petrović made his debut for Yugoslavia in 1990. Due to Yugoslavia's international ban, he would play for Yugoslavia again five years after his debut.  He went to the 1998 World Cup Finals.

RB: Adam Marušic (Montenegro)
In 2010, Adam Marušic started with Voždovac in the third tier of the Serbian football pyramid.  In 2014, he joined  joined K.V. Kortrijk.  After two seasons, he went to h K.V. Oostende.  In 2017, he went to Italy to play for Lazio.  Although Marušić was born in Belgrade, he accepted an invitation to play for the Montenegro national team. He made his debut for Montenegro on 27 March 2015.  At the time of writing, he was capped 47 times.
Adam Marušic 
CB: Branko Rašović (Yugoslavia) 
Branko Rašović played five years in Partizan, from 1964 until 1969. The peak of his career was the 1966 European Cup Final in Brussels, when Partizan played in the final agains Real Madrid. In 1969, he moved to Borussia Dortmund, where he played from 1969 to 1974. He was capped 10 times, helping the team to qualify for the 1968 European Championship.

CB: Marko Baša ( Serbia and Montenegro/Montenegro)
Marko Baša started with Trstenik.  Between 2000 andn 2005, he played for OFT Belgrade. In 2005, he moved to Le Mans in France/ , He quickly received the captain's armband in Le Mans.  He joined tLokomotiv Moscow and signed a four-year contract. In July 2011 . went to the French champion Lille, where he remained until 2017.  He was capped 3 times for  Serbia and Montenegro, and another 37 times for Monetenegro. 

CB: Stefan Savić (Montenegro)
Stefan Savić started his career at Brskovo, before moving to BSK Borča, and then to FK Partizan. He won the double with Partizan, and then joined Manchester City in 2011, winning the Premier League title in his only season there. In 2012, he was transferred to Fiorentina, before signing with Atlético Madrid in 2015, where he won the Europa League in 2018. Since 2010, he has played over 50 times for Montenegro.

CB: Ljubomir Radanović (Yugoslavia) 
Ljubomir Radanović started with Lovćen in the Yugoslav Second League. He moved to Partizan in 1981, where he played until 1988.  He later played for Standard Liège in Belgium, Nice in France, and Bellinzona in Switzerland.  Radanović earned 34 caps for Yugsolavia and scored three goals for Yugoslavia between 1983 and 1988. He attended Euro 1984 in France.  He won the bronze medal at the 1984 Summer Olympics.
Ljubomir Radanović 
LB/CB: Budimir Vujačić  (Yugoslavia)
Vujačić began his career with local outfit OFK Petrovac. In 1985, he moved to SC Freiburg.  Then, in 1988, he returned home with FK Vojvodina.  From 1989 to 1993, he played for FK Partizan, where he was an important player as they won the league. .He then joined Sporting CP and in Japan with Vissel Kobe.  From 1989 to 1996, he played 12 times for Yugoslavia.  He was included on the Euro 1992 that was banned for the Finals due to the war.

LB: Slobodan Marović  (Yugoslavia) 
Slobodan Marović was born in Bar, SR Montenegro. He started his career with NK Osijek.  He played for Red Star Belgrade between 1986 and 1991. With Red Star Belgrade, he was part of their European Cup victory in 1991.  Later, he played for IFK Norrköping, Silkeborg IF and Shenzhen. For his national team career, he earned four caps for the Yugoslavia national football team between 1987 and 1989.

DM: Branko Brnović (Yugoslavia) 
Branko Brnović started with local club Budućnos and signed with Partizan in 1991.  In 1994, Brnović joined RCD Espanyol and played there until 2000.  Then, he played a season with Koln in Germany.  From 1989 to 1998, he played 27 times for Yugoslavia.  He was selected for the 1998 World Cup in France.   He was a member of the talented Yugoslav under-20 team that won the 1987 FIFA World Youth Championship.
Branko Brnović 
DM/RB: Refik Šabanadžović (Yugoslavia)
Refik Šabanadžović  began with OFK Titograd before he moved to Sarajevo's Željezničar in 1983.  He helped the club to reach the UEFA Cup semifinals in the 1984–85 season. He played for Red Stars Belgrade from 1987 to 1991, where he won the European Cup in 1991.  With AEK, he won three league championship in the 1990's.   He also played for Olympiacos and Kansas City Wizards.  He was capped 8 times.  He played 4 games at the 1990 World Cup Finals.

CM: Dragoljub Brnović (Yugoslavia)
Dragoljub Brnović played for OFK Titograd, Budućnost Titograd, and Partizan, winning the Yugoslav Cup with the Crno-beli in the 1988–89 season. He subsequently moved to France and joined Metz. Before retiring from the game, Brnović also played professionally in Sweden and Luxembourg.  His younger brother Branko also represented Yugoslavia.  He himself earned 25 caps for Yugoslavia from 1987 to 1990. He went to the 1990 World Cup, where he played in most games.

AM: Dragoslav Sekularac (Yugoslavia)
Dragoslav Sekularac was considered one of the best player in Red Star Belgrade history, where he played from 1955 to 1966.   He is the second (and one of only five players) to have been awarded the Zvezdina zvezda status. 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 earned 41 caps for Yugoslavia.  He played in the 1958 and 1962 World Cup Finals, where his team reached the semifinal in 1962.  

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.
Dejan Savicevic
LW/FW: Ilijas Pašić (Yugoslavia)
Ilijas Pašić started playing football at Romania, but at the age of 18 he made a move to FK Željezničar. He is one of the best goalscorers in history of the club.   He joined Dinamo Zagreb in 1959, scoring 31 goals in period of three seasons. However, injury stopped his career to rise even more. He later played in Austria and Switzerland.  He had 8 caps for Yugoslavia.

FW: Vojin Božović  (Yugoslavia)
Vojin Božović was among the best players in the history of Montenegro and during the Kingdom of Yugoslavia.  Since 1931, he played for Budućnost Podgorica, SK Jugoslavija, SK Obilić, SK Jugoslavija and SK Anastas. His best years were spent while playing in BSK Belgrade where, alongside the best country's players Aleksandar Tirnanić, Đorđe Vujadinović, Moša Marjanović, and Svetislav Glišović. After the end of World War II, he played for SR Montenegro.  He played 8 matches for the Yugoslavia national football team, having scored five goals. 

AM/FW: Stevan Jovetić (Montenegro) 
Stevan Jovetic began his career with FK Partizan, winning the double of Serbian Superliga and Serbian Cup in 2008. He spent 5 seasons with Forentina.  With Manchester City, he won the League Cup and the Premier League. He then played for Inter Milan, Sevilla and AS Monaco. He made his senior international debut in 2007, in Montenegro's first international football match as an independent country. He is their all-time leading scorer.
Stevan Jovetić 
ST: Vojin Lazarević (Yugoslavia)
Lazarević started out at Sutjeska Nikšić. He was the Yugoslav Second League (Group East) top scorer on three occasions, before moving to Red Star Belgrade in 1966. He subsequently moved abroad and played for RFC Liège (Belgium) and Nancy (France), before returning to Red Star Belgrade in 1972. In the 1972–73 season, Lazarević was the league's joint top scorer with 25 goals, as the club won the title.  He represented Yugoslavia internationally, earning five caps 

FW: Mirko Vucinic (Montenegro)
Mirko Vučinić started out at his hometown club Sutjeska Nikšić before joining Italy's Lecce in 2000.  From 2006 to 2011, he played AS Roma.  Then, he played 3 seasons with Juventus.  He played a single season with Al Jazira in UAE.  He played 3 times with Serbia and Montenegro between 2005 and 2006.  An injury kept him out of the 2006 World Cup team. Then, he opted to play for Montenegro where he played 45 times from 2007 to 2017. He won the Player of the Year in Montenegro 7 times.
Mirko Vučinić 
FW: Zoran Filipović (Yugoslavia)
Zoran Filipović made his name with Red Star Belgrade, during more than ten seasons at the club (5 June 1969 to 29 June 1980). He played a total of 520 games for the club scoring 302 goals.  He played for Club Brugge in Belgium before joining Benfica in 1981. Benfioca finished runner-up in the UEFA Cup in 1983.  Filipović ended his career with Boavista FC (1984–1986). From 1971 to 1977,  he played 13 times for Yugoslavia.

ST:  Predrag Mijatović (Montenegro)
At club level, Predrag 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. He played in the 1998 World Cup Finals.
Predrag Mijatović 

Honorable Mentions
Ivica Kralj, Dragoje Lekovic, Vasilije "Čiko" Radovic, Niša Saveljić, Mladen Božović, Vukašin Poleksić, Nikola Jovanović, Duško Radinović, Elsad Zverotić, Miodrag Krivokapić, Miljan Zeković, Ante Miročević, Anto Drobnjak, Sreten Banović, Nikola Vukčević, Duško Radinović, Milutin Pajević, Dejan Damjanović, Lazar Radovic, Fatos Bećiraj, 

Squad Explanation
-- Montenegrin players were included in my blog Northern Macedonia/Monetenegro/Kosovo all-time team.  In March/April, 2022, I decide to create separated teams for each country.  
Montenegro is the smallest among the former republics of Yugoslavia.  The population of the country is about  627,809 citizens.  North Macedonia has about 2 million citizens. So the player pool is small.   As comparison to other European countries, Luxembourg has a population of about 604, 245 while Cyprus has 1.1 million. 
-- Because ethnicity is a sensitive issue in the region, I use various criteria for eligibility.  All the players from Yugoslavia era were selected through ethnicity and birth place. Many footballers had a multi-racial background.  This has given me plenty of head aides. I tried my best not to be offensive to people. After the breakup, I used the "cap-tied rule" with national team as the criteria.  
--  Dragoslav Sekularac, Predrag Mijatović and Dejan Savicevic are on my Yugoslavia All-Time Team.   They were the automatic selections on this blog team.  Dragoslav Sekularac was born in modern day Northern Macedonia to a Montenegrin father.  Since I considered ethnicity an important factor, I ruled him eligible.   
Dragoslav Sekularac
-- Mirko Vucinic is probably the best player from here after the independence of Montenegro.  However, I only selected Mijatović and Savicevic to my Yugoslavia after the breakup team.  Both played their prime before and after 1992.
-- The first player from Montenegro to play in a World Cup was Milovan Jakšić who was the Yugoslav goalkeeper at 1930 World Cup. 
-- Yugoslavia's Golden Generation of the 1990's was much talked about.  Four Montenegro-born players were on the 1990 World Cup team.  They were Refik Šabanadžović, Dragoljub Brnović, Dejan Savićević and Dragoje Leković.
--  Yugoslavia was banned for the Euro 1992 Finals.  However, they released an official squad.  That team included 6 Montenegrins: Predrag Mijatović, Dejan Savicevic, Duško Radinović, Budimir Vujačić, Duško Radinović and Dragoje Lekovic.  The first four names are on this team while Radinović and Lekovic are on honorable mention.
-- FR Yugoslavia featured Predrag Mijatović, Dejan Savicevic, Željko Petrović and Branko Brnović at the 1998 World Cup Finals.
-- IFFHS created a Dream Team All-Time team for this country.  Their lineup was as followed Dragoje Leković, Branko Rašović, Budimir Vujačić, Ljubomir Radanović, Slobodan Marković, Željko Petrović, Ante Miročević, Dragoljub Brnović, Dejan Savićević, Zoran Filipović and Predrag Mijatović.
-- Milovan Jakšić played a crucial role for Yugoslavia during their journey to the semi-finals in the 1930 World Cup Finals. His outstanding performance in the group match against Brazil earned him the nickname "El Grande Milovan." This match held significant importance in the tournament, as Brazil was seen as a potential semi-final opponent for host nation Uruguay. The victory was celebrated by local fans.  He was also one of the founders of Red Star Belgrade, further cementing his contributions to the sport.
-- Dragoje Lekovic is widely regarded as one of Montenegro's most notable goalkeepers. He helped Yugoslavia to win the 1987 World Youth Cup. He was expected to be the starting goalkeeper for the national team in Euro 1992, but unfortunately, Yugoslavia faced a ban from participating in the tournament. However, throughout his club career, he failed to make a significant impact anywhere.  He performed adequately during his time with Kilmarnock in Scotland, his departure from the club was marked by an awkward situation stemming from a contractual loophole. 
-- Instead,  I took Dragoslav Jevrić. He was a member of Serbia and Montenegro for the 2006 World Cup Finals. He was the only player on the team born in Montenegro after Mirko Vučinić withdrew before the tournament due to an injury. He did sit on the bench for Serbia in a single game, but he never entered the field.  Officially, he was not cap-tied to them.
-- Zoran Simović was named the Yugoslav Footballer of the Year in 1983. He also won the Turkish Footballer of the Year award for three consecutive years (1985, 1986, and 1987).  He is on my Galatasaray All-Time Team.  He was often listed as one of the greatest goalkeepers ever played in the Turkish league.
-- Ivica Kralj was well-known because of the 1998 World Cup Finals, but his club career outside of FK Partizan was mainly as a backup. Vasilije "Čiko" Radovic only earned 3 caps for Yugoslavia.  I did not know how good he was. He was a year younger than Milutin Šoškić and a few years older than Ilija Pantelić.  So his chance with the national team must have been limited. Vukašin Poleksić also captained the national team 6 times with over 30 caps.  Mladen Božović played in the UEFA Euro 2012 qualifying rounds. They made honorable mentions.
-- Marko Baša was born in Serbia, but he chose to play for Montenegro.  He won Montenegrin Footballer of the Year in 2014.  He is extremely appreciated by Lille OSC fans. He edged out Niša Saveljić (Montenegro) who played 34 times for FR Yugoslavia.  
-- Branko Rašović was known for his career with Partizan Belgrade, in which his club reached the Final of the 1966 European Cup. He earned 10 caps, but missed the European Championship of 1968.  Ljubomir Radanović (Montenegro) scored the winning goal at the stoppage time against Bulgaria in the Euro 1984 qualifier, which helped Yugoslavia to qualify for the Finals in France.  He also earned 34 caps.
-- At the time of writing, Stefan Savić has been named Montenegrin Footballer of the Year 5 times.  He also firmly established in La Liga for many years.  He is probably the best central defender from here.
Stefan Savić 
-- Nikola Jovanović made a high profile transfer to Manchester United in 1980, but he was a flop there.  He is known for being first player from outside the British Isles to join Manchester United.  His transfer fees was Red Star's and Yugoslav First League record transfer fee at the time. Nevertheless, he was a well-known central defender from Montenegro.  Dusko Radinovic from the banned Euro 1992 team was also seriously considered.  I put them on honourable mentions.
-- Željko Petrović was probably their greatest rightback.  Elsad Zverotić is Montenegro's second most capped player, but instead, I chose Adam Marušic. He had a long career with Lazio in Italy.  He was born in Serbia, but chose to play for Montenegro. Duško Radinović who helped Red Star Belgrade winning the 1992 European Cup made honourable mention.  He was also on the Yugoslavian team that was banned for the Euro 1992 Finals.
-- With an HPI of 55.53, Budimir Vujačić is the 10th most famous Montenegrin footballers.  He could operate as a central defender.  The second leftback was between Miljan Zeković and Slobodan Marović  Both starred for Red Stars Belgrade. Slobodan Marović was voted as their second best leftback for the club in a poll I found online, but polls tended to favour contemporary players.  Miljan Zeković was on the 1954 World Cup team, but did not play.  In the end, I took Marović because his name was mentioned more frequently.
-- I also studied Miodrag Krivokapić closely.  He could play both as a leftback and a central defender. 
-- Ethnicity and eligibility were big problems for me in all of my all-time teams for the former Yugoslavia.  Dragoslav Sekularac and Refik Šabanadžović were the two footballers in question for this team. Dragoslav Sekularac was often listed as a Serbian footballer.  He was born in modern day Northern Macedonia to a Montenegrin father and a Macedonian mother.  He grew up in Belgrade, but I used ethnicity and birthplace for eligibility.  He was nicknamed "King of Dribble".  He made the Team of the Tournament in Euro 1960, where Yugoslavia finished second, and Yugoslavia also reached semifinal of the 1962 World Cup.  He was one of the best ever players from Yugoslavia.
Refik Šabanadžović, a Bosniak by ethnicity, was born in Montenegro. Despite his birthplace, I made the decision to also include him in my Bosnia and Herzegovina All-Time team.
--Dejan Savicevic stands as one of the most underrated players in history and was among the world's best players in the 1990's. However, due to the ban on international football for Yugoslavia, he missed out on the opportunity to participate in the 1992 European Championship and the 1994 World Cup Finals. In 1992, Denmark emerged victorious in the European Championship, effectively replacing Yugoslavia in Sweden. This could have been a defining moment for Savicevic. Nonetheless, he managed to contribute to AC Milan's victory in the European Cup in 1994, showcasing his exceptional talents on a different stage.
-- Stevan Jovetić was Montenegro Player of the Year twice.  He is also their all-time leading scorer.  He was an attack midfielder or secondary striker.
-- Ante Miročević holds the distinction of being the first football player from a Montenegrin club to represent the Yugoslav national team. He was also the captain of the Olympic team that won fourth place in Moscow in 1980.  Although Miročević became the first Yugoslav player to venture into English football, his time at Sheffield Wednesday was underwhelming, despite being the club's record signing. Besides, I already had Dragoslav Sekularac, Dejan Savicevic and Stevan Jovetić.
-- Branko and Dragoljub Brnović are brothers.  Both earned over 20 caps for FR Yugoslavia.  They played in 1990 and 1998 World Cup Finals respectively.  Branko Brnović was a right wingback at one point.  Branko Bošković, distinguished as an attacking midfielder, merits an honorable mention. It is important not to confuse him from Branko Brnović.
Dragoljub Brnović 
-- I did not select any right winger, but Dejan Savicevic played as a right winger while Mirko Vučinić could play on either side of the flank.
-- Ilijas Pašić was sometimes listed as the first ever international footballer from FR Bosnia and Herzegovina largely because he was one of  FK Željezničar Sarajevic's greatest players.  He was born in Herceg Novi, modern day Montenegro. By birth right, he is eligible for this team.  And I needed a left winger.
-- In my opinion, Predrag Mijatović, Mirko Vucinic, and Zoran Filipović were the top forwards. Here are some notable achievements for each player. Mijatović attained legendary status during his time with Real Madrid, particularly for his decisive goal against Juventus in the 1998 Champions League Final. This goal secured a 1-0 victory for Real Madrid, marking their first triumph in the tournament since 1966. Vucinic, who won the Player of the Year award in Montenegro an impressive seven times, played a crucial role during a period when Montenegro achieved its best results since gaining independence. Filipović excelled as the top scorer in the UEFA Cup during the 1982-1983 season while representing Benfica. Although Benfica finished as runners-up in the tournament, the final marked their third loss in a final since the inception of the infamous "curse of Bela Guttmann."
-- Vojin Božović's career was sandwiched between the Second World War.  He was considered one of the best players in the history of pre-war football in Montenegro and one of the best strikers in Yugoslav football until 1941.
-- Vojin Lazarević scored over 130 goals for Red Stars Belgrade.  He is their 6th highest ever scorer.
-- Anto Drobnjak helped Lens to win the league in the 1997-1998 season.  He was their top scorer.  However, he was not selected to Yugoslavia's final squad for the 1998 World Cup.  Fatos Bećiraj is the most capped player for Montenegro.  Both made honourable mention only.
-- Dejan Damjanović is AFC Champions' League All-Time leading scorer.  In his prime, he was probably one of the best foreign players playing in Asia. I only put him on honourable mention.

Mirko Vucinic could operate on the left. Refik Šabanadžović played with Dragoljub Brnović at the 1990 World Cup Finals, but I chose to start Branko Brnović. Something in me wanted to start a pair of brothers.  Dejan Savicevic was also on that team.  He was subbed out for Dragoljub Brnović on the first match against West Germany.  I almost started Željko Petrović as my rightback.

Thursday, March 17, 2022

Yugoslavia after the breakup All-Time 23 member team

This blogger Artur Yanturin of Russia copied many of my blog teams.  This blog was one of them.  It was my Russia All-Time Team here.  His team was written in 2020, but mine was uploaded in 2014.   His Spartak Moscow All-Time team entry  was published in October 2020, but mine was uploaded in 2017.  His entry of the Dutch-German rivalry between Real Madrid and Barcelona was written in 2020, but mine was uploaded in 2014.  He also copied many many of my blog entries.

His Facebook and Instagram

Croatia World Cup 2018

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

Historically, Yugoslavia was loaded with football talents, but they did not perform as well as they should have. I have created a Yugoslavia All-TimeThis is the all-time team for Yugoslavia after breakup.  Only players whose career existed around 1992  were eligible. I chose the year 1992 because it was when Croatia and Macedonia became FIFA members. The country Yugoslavia was no longer intact. Players from FR Yugoslavia were also included. I put players before the breakup on my Yugoslavia All-Time Team over here. 

The national teams of Slovenia, Croatia and Macedonia were born in 1992. Serbia and Montenegro continued to play under FR Yugoslavia until 2006. The national team of FR Yugoslavia continued to exist until 2003 when it became Serbia and Montenegro.  In 2006, Serbia and Montenegro separated into two national teams.  Meanwhile, Bosnia and Herzegovina came into being in 1995. Kosovo became a FIFA member in 2018. 

Croatia had the best record since Yugoslavia broke up.  They finished as runner-up at the 2018 World Cup Finals as well as finishing 3rd at the 1998 and 2022 World Cup Finals.  At the time of writing, Serbia, Slovenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Northern Macedonia had qualified for a major tournaments. Croatia met FR Yugoslavia for the first time in 1999 during the qualifying round for Euro 2000. Both matched were heated battles.  Due to the historical background of the two countries, the Croatia-Serbia rivalry is one of the most intense in European football.  Meanwhile, Slovenia qualified for their first major tournament in 2000.  They were on the same group as FR Yugoslavia, and they played each other on the first match. The match ended in 2-2 tie.
Croatia vs FR Yugoslavia Euro Qualifiers in 1999

GK: Jan Oblak (Slovenia)
Jan Oblak made his debut for Olimpija Ljubljana at hime in the 2009–10 season aged 16 before joining Benfica in 2010.  Starting in 2014, he plays for Atletico Madrid in Spain. At the time of writing, he has won La Liga's Zamora Trophy three times for their best goalkeeper.  At the international level, he became the first-choice goalkeeper of the national team after the international retirement of Samir Handanović at the end of 2015.

GK: Samir Handanović (Slovenia)
From 2004, Samir Handanović was capped over 80 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 mainly played from Inter Milan where he started in 2012.  He was voted the best goalkeeper 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.
Samir Handanović 
GK: Danijel Subašić 
Danijel Subašić made his name with Hajduk Split between 2009 and 2012.  In 2012, he joined Monaco in France, winning Ligue 1 Goalkeeper of the Year: 2016–17. Between 2010 and 2018, he earned 44 caps for Croatia.  He was the starting keeper at Euro 2016.  He was a hero of the 2018 World Cup team, where he saved 4 penalties in two penalty shootouts in the knockout stage as Croatia reached the Final.

RB: Darijo Srna (Croatia)
Darijo Srna was one of the best wingbacks of his generation. He started Hajduk Split in 1999. He was best remembered for playing over 10 years for Shaktar Donetsk and winning the UEFA Cup with them in the 2008-2009 season.  He is both captain for his club and country.  He played 134 times for Croatia, having represented his country at the 2006 and 2014 FIFA World Cups, as well as at UEFA Euro 2004, 2008, 2012 and 2016.

RB: Branislav Ivanović (Serbia)
Ivanović began his career with FK Srem. He later played with OFK Beograd and Lokomotiv Moscow. In January 2008, he joined Chelsea.  He won nine major honours with Chelsea, including the Champions League and the Europa League. He is only five foreign players to appear in over 300 matches for the club. He has the most appearances for the Serbian national team in its history, having played 105 matches. He went to 2010 and 2018 World Cup.

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 defence that conceded just one goal during the 2006 World Cup qualification campaign.
Nemanja Vidic 
CB: Robert Kovac (Croatia)
Robert Kovac had 84 caps for Croatia.  He represented them in two World Cup Finals, 2002 and 2006, and has also participated at two European Championships, 2004 and 2008.  He was the captain of the national team after his brother Niko retired.  He made his name with Bayer Leverkusen. He played a few of the biggest clubs in the world, notably with Bayern Munich and Juventus.  He ended his career with Dinamo Zagreb.

CB: Miroslav Djukic (Serbia)
Miroslav Djukic spent 14 years of his professional career in Spain, notably at the service of Deportivo de La Coruña and Valencia, amassing La Liga totals of 368 games and 11 goals, and winning six major titles for the two clubs combined. In 1994, Đukić missed a penalty kick in the game's last minute (eventual 0–0 draw) for Deportivo. As a result FC Barcelona were crowned champions instead. He had 48 caps and  played at Euro 2000 for Yugoslavia.

CB/DM/LB: Sinisa Mihajlovic (Serbia)
Sinisa Mihajlovic was capped 63 times between 1991 and 2003 for Yugoslavia.  He won the European Cup with Red Star Belgrade. In 1992, he moved to Italy and became was one of the best defender in Serie, notably played for Roma, Sampdoria, Lazio and Inter Milan.  With Lazio, he won UEFA Cup Winners Cup: 1998–99. He was part of the golden generation of Yugoslav players who won the 1987 FIFA World Youth Championship in Chile.
Sinisa Mihajlovic
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 in England and Italy.

LB: Aleksandar Kolarov (Serbia)
Aleksandar Kolarov began his career at Red Star Belgrade, but he moved onto Čukarički in 2004. Two years later, he joined OFK Beograd before signing for Lazio in Serie A. In 2010, he joined Manchester City, with which he won two Premier League titles, the FA Cup and the League Cup. He now plays for AS Roma in Italy. He has over 70 caps for Serbia. Kolarov was a member of Serbia's squads for the 2010 and 2018 World Cup Finals. He was named Serbian Player of the Year in 2011.

DM: Nemanja Matić  (Serbia)
Nemanja Matić began his career at Kolubara, before joining Slovak side Košice in 2007. He moved to Chelsea in 2009. With Benfica, he won the Primeira Liga Player of the Year award.  He returned to Chelsea in 2014. He was named in the PFA Team of the Year for the 2014–15 season. In 2017, he joined Manchester United. With Serbia, he has over 48 caps since 2008. He went to 2018 World Cup. He was the Serbian Player of the year twice.

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, 2016-2017 and 2017-2018 seasons.  He also played with Dinamo Zagreb and Tottenham Hotspurs.  He played in the World Cup Finals of 2006 and 2014, as well as the European Championship of 2008, 2012 and 2016. He was voted the best player of the World Cup Finals in 2018 as Croatia finished second.
Luka Modric
CM: Ivan Rakitic (Croatia)
Born in Switzerland of Croatian background, Rakitic started his career with FC Basel. He played with Schalke 04 from 2007 and 2011.  Then, he moved to Sevilla in 2011.  At Sevilla, he won the Europa Cup in 2014.  He moved to Barcelona.  For Croatia, he earned 100 caps at the time of writing. He played in the midfield with Luka Modric as Croatia reached the Final of the 2018 World Cup Finals.

AM/CM: Zvonimir Boban (Croatia)
Zvonimir Boban was the captain of the national team that finished third at the World Cup in 1998.  He was also an important player of the highly talented Yugoslavia under-20 team that won the 1987 FIFA World Youth Championship. He was also remembered for his career with AC Milan with whom he won four Serie A and one UEFA Champions League titles. He also played Bari and Celta Vigo at the club level.

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.  He was a key player for winning the 1993–94 UEFA Champions League. He represented Yugoslavia at the 1990 and 1998 World Cups.  However, his international career was limited by the FIFA ban on Yugoslavia during his prime.  He did not appear in the European Championship of 1992 as a result.
Dejan Savicevic
AM: Robert Prosinecki (Croatia)
Robert Prosinecki was considered one of the most talented players from Yugoslavia in the 1990's.  In 1987, Prosinečki was named the tournament's best player as Yugoslavia won the World Youth Championship.  He then played for Yugoslavia at the 1990 World Cup and for Croatia at the European Champion in 1996, and both of the 1998 and 2002 World Cups.  For his club career, he played for both Real Madrid and Barcelona, but he failed to establish himself at neither club.

RW/RB: Hasan Salihamidžić (Bosnia and Herzegovina)
Hasan Salihamidžić is best remembered for playing 9 seasons with Bayern Munich.  With Bayern, he won the 2001 Champions' League final, scoring one of the penalties in the shootout win in the Final. He also played for Juventus and Wolfsburg. At the international level, he earned 43 caps and scored six goals for the Bosnia and Herzegovina national team. He is regarded by many as one of the most successful Bosnian football players in recent times.
Hasan Salihamidžić 
LW: Ivan Perisic (Croatia)
Ivan Perisic is a product of the Hajduk Split and Sochaux youth academies, he played for Club Brugge, where was named Belgian Footballer of the Year for 2011. He later played for Borussia Dortmund and Wolfsburg before joining Inter Milan in 2015.  For Croatia, he had over 111 caps.  He played in Euro 2012 and 2016, and the World Cup Finals of 2014 and 2018.

STEdin Džeko (Bosnia and Herzegovina)
Edin Dzeko is probably the most famous player for Bosnia and Herzegovina not from the era under Yugoslavia. He has played over 80 times for his country and scored 52 goals since 2007, becoming the highest Bosnia and Herzegovina goalscorer of all time. He led Bosnia and Herzegovina to qualify for the World Cup in 2014.  He had a great career with Wolfsburg and moved to Manchester City in 2011.  At the time of writing, he plays for Roma, helping the club to reach the semifinal of the Champions' League in 2018.
Edin Džeko
ST:  Alen Bokšić (Croatia)
Alen Boksic won the 1992–93 UEFA Champions League, and was voted fourth in the 1993 European Footballer of the Year poll. That same year, he was named Croatian Footballer of the Year. He also won two Serie A titles in 1997 and 2000 with Juventus and Lazio respectively, and is regarded as one of the best foreign players in the history of Serie A since 1980's.  He played for both Yugoslavia and Croatia.  He missed the 1998 World Cup Finals due to an injury.

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.

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, the club's 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. He played in the 1998 World Cup Finals.
Predrag Mijatović 
Honorable Mention
Asmir Begovic (Bosnia and Herzegovina), Stipe Pletikosa (Croatia), Vladimir Stojković (Serbia), Dražen Ladić (Croatia), Stefan Savić (Montenegro), Josip Šimunić (Croatia), Domagoj Vida (Croatia),  Dario Šimić (Croatia), Dejan Lovren (Croatia), Neven Subotić (Serbia), Niko Kovač (Croatia), Igor Tudor (Croatia), Vedran Ćorluka (Croatia), Igor Štimac (Croatia), Ivica Olić (Croatia), Sergej Milinković-Savić (Serbia), Dragan Stojkovic (Serbia), Niko Kranjčar (Croatia), Zlatko Zahovič (Slovenia), Dušan Tadić (Serbia), Vladimir Jugović (Serbia), Miralem Pjanić (Bosnia and Herzegovina), Darko Kovačević (Serbia), Mateja Kežman (Serbia), Savo Milošević (Serbia), Marcelo Brozovic (Croatia), Goran Pandev (North Macedonia), 

Squad Explanation
-- Any player who played international football for any of the former Yugoslavia republics after 1992 the year where most republics broke off from Yugoslavia are eligible.  Serbia and Montenegro remained with Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FR Yugoslavia) and played under that name until 2003.  Players from FR Yugoslavia are eligible for both Yugoslavia All-Time Team and this team.  The definition of this team is after the breakup of Yugoslavia in 1992.  FR Yugoslavia in reality consisted of two republics.  They were Serbia and Montenegro in another name.  The players in question were in the same generation as some of the players selected from Croatia, Slovenia, etc.  I did not want to exclude them.  However, I also included them on my Yugoslavia All-Time Team because they still officially played under the banner of Yugoslavia until 2003.  
-- I placed emphasis on careers after 1992.
-- I am opened to players who played for national teams not from one of Yugoslavia's former republics. Many footballers were refugees from the war who did not a chance to represent their "home" countries.  However, contribution to the national team was a big factor in my selection process.  I set a higher standard for evaluation. Zlatan Ibrahimović was born in Sweden.  Both of his parents left Yugoslavia long time before the breakup of Yugoslavia.  I did not consider him. 
-- Sinisa Mihajlovic, Dejan Savicevic and Predrag Mijatović are also on my Yugoslavia All-Time Team.  All three of them played for FR Yugoslavia.  Dragan Stojkovic was arguably one of the best players from Yugoslavia and Serbia.  However, I felt that his prime ended around 1991 when he became injury prone.  His international career did last until 2001.  
-- Eleven players were from Croatia and six from Serbia. Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Slovenia had two each.  Both of Slovenia's players were goalkeepers.
-- Luka Modric, Ivan Perisic, Ivan Rakitic and Danijel Subašić helped Croatia to finish second at the 2018 World Cup Finals.  A few of them again helped Croatia to finish third in the 2022 World Cup Finals. Zvonimir Boban, Robert Jarni, Davor Suker and Robert Prosinečki came from the 1998 World Cup team.  Alen Bokšić was also from that generation, but he missed the World Cup due to an injury.
-- No one would know about the potential of Yugsolavia playing in Euro 1992. Many people had written about them. I have created a hypothetical imaginary Yugoslavia 1994 World Cup team.  Alen Bokšić, Zvonimir Boban, Robert Jarni, Davor Suker, Robert Prosinečki, Siniša Mihajlović, Predrag Mijatovic, Dejan Savicevic and Miroslav Djukic are on my team.
 -- At the time of writing (2022), Jan Oblak has been one of the best goalkeepers in the world. He won Ricardo Zamora Award a record 5 times in 6 years. Samir Handanović was one of four non-Italian goalkeepers to have won the Serie A  Goalkeeper of the Year. 
-- When I created the original Yugoslavia All-Time Team (including players from former republics in 2014, I included Asmir Begović, but I probably overrated him.  At the time, he was a goalkeeper on the rise with Stoke, but his career after 2015 seemed stalled.  But when I separated that team into two teams, namely Yugoslavia and this Yugoslavia after the breakup in 2022, I felt that Danijel Subašić might deserve more.  He helped Croatia to finish second at the 2018 World Cup Finals, including winning two penalty shootouts.  He was also a top goalkeeper with Ligue One for many years.
-- Stipe Pletikosa performed well for Croatia, but he did not have a great run in a big tournament.  Dražen Ladić also deserved some credit for the 1998 World Cup Finals and Dominik Livaković also for the 2022 World Cup run.
-- The four fullbacks were all well-established.  Branislav Ivanović (Serbia), Robert Jarni (Croatia) and Aleksandar Kolarov (Serbia) were household names in the world. Darijo Srna was lesser known due to playing mainly in Ukraine. He was probably one of Shaktar Donetsk's greatest players.  Vedran Ćorluka (Croatia) made honorable mention.
--  Nemanja Vidic was one of the best centerbacks in the world during his prime.  Siniša Mihajlović was a top defender in Serie A at the time when the league was the best in the world.  He could also play in multi-position.
-- Stefan Savic had been underrated. I wanted to take him, but Miroslav Đukić established himself with both Deportivo La Coruna and Valencia at the time when both clubs were among the best in Europe.  SW Igor Štimac was also a serious candidate.
-- The Kovac brothers were well-known players because they played in the Bundesliga.  Both brothers played more than 80 times for Croatia.  Niko was a long time captain of the national team, but Robert was a better player. Robert was not a leader like his brother in the locker room of Croatia, but he lasted for ten years at the highest level of club football, proving himself in Bayern and Juventus while Niko did not establish himself with Bayern Munich.  His peak was with HSV Hamburger and Hertha Berlin.  So I took Robert Kovac over his brother Niko.
Robert Kovac
-- Igor Tudor spent 9 seasons with Juventus. He was a part of the mighty defensive unit of Juventus from 1998 to 2007, but he was not a starter.  Dejan Lovren was also on the shortlist. 
-- Injuries kept Neven Subotić (Serbia) from greatness.  He was one of the best in Bundesliga for a few seasons with Borussia Dortmund. He only managed to play 36 times for Serbia.
-- Luka Modric was one of the main reason why Real Madrid won four Champions League in 5 years.  He led his country to the World Cup Final in 2018 while winning the Golden Ball award as well as the following Ballon d'Or.  No other player form the former Yugoslavia could claim that.  He is the greatest ever from the former Yugoslavia.  
-- Dejan Savicevic was among the best player in the world.  Along with Zvonimir Boban, he helped AC Milan to win the Champions' League in 1994.  They destroyed Barcelona's "Dream Team" in the Final. His performance in the Final was one of the greatest individual displays seen in the competition.  
-- Dragan Stojkovic and Robert Prosinecki were big question marks.  Stojkovic was a better player than Zvonimir Boban, but Boban was in his prime in the post-1992 period while Stojkovic's club career stalled. His best stint was playing in Japan. Robert Prosinecki's injury situation while he was with both Real Madrid and Barcelona affected my opinion of him.  He ended up journeying across Europe throughout his career in the mid-1990's. Boban was a star with AC Milan.  He also captained the 1998 World Cup team for Croatia.  After Luka Modric, Dejan Savicevic and Zvonimir Boban occupied three spots for attack midfielders,  I did not have spots for Stojkovic and Prosinecki (see below for the 23rd player). Niko Kranjčar, Zlatko Zahovič and Vladimir Jugović were also top attack midfielders from the former Yugoslavia after 1992. 
-- Both Ivan Rakitić and Dejan Stankovic were versatile players, but I saw them as box-to-box midfielders rather than playmakers. Miralem Pjanić was comparable.  He was on the Serie A Team of the Year in 4 straight years. Stankovic was selected into Inter Milan Hall of Fame, but I took Rakitić over Pjanic because of his careers with Sevilla and Barcelona as well as his role with Croatia's 2018 World Cup run.
-- Yugoslavia did not have enough candidates for defensive midfielders. Siniša Mihajlović could be a ball winner in the midfield, but this team needed a few more defensive midfielders.  
-- Both Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitić were decent defensively, but at the 2018 World Cup Finals, they had Marcelo Brozovic securing their backs.  For their club careers, Modric and Rakitić had Casemiro and Sergio Busquets respectively.  This team could not depend on the pair for defensive cover.  If I could not trust the two of them, how could I select Miralem Pjanić or Dejan Stankovic for this role?  So I needed a real defensive midfielder.   Marcelo Brozovic and Nemanja Matić were the only realistic candidates.
-- Marcelo Brozovic was an unsung hero for Croatia at the 2018 World Cup Finals, but his exposure outside of the World Cup Finals was limited. He was great with Inter Milan, but Serie A was at its weakest point in history.  He became a even more serious candidate after the 2022 World Cup Finals. Matic was on the Premier League team of the Year for the 2014-2015 season.  He was one of the best defensive midfielders in England or even in Europe for about three seasons. So I took him over Brozovic.
-- On wings, I selected Hasan Salihamidžić (Bosnia and Herzegovina) and Ivan Perisic (Croatia).  Salihamidžić had a glory career with Bayern Munich that lasted 9 seasons.  Ivan Perisic was sensational at the 2018 World Cup Finals.
-- At the end of the selection, I had one more spot left.  Dragan Stojković, Dejan Stankovic, Robert Prosinecki, Mario Mandžukić, Marcelo Brozovic and Miralem Pjanić were in contention for the last spot.  I probably needed another defensive midfielder, but I went with the best player left.  Before I started this team, I never thought that Dragan Stojkovic and Robert Prosinečki would not make the team.  Both players had some issues with injuries after 1992.  In the end, I took Prosinečki because he was one of the standout players at the 1998 World Cup Finals.  He was probably the most talented midfielders of his generations.  Stojkovic was one of the greatest players from Yugoslavia, but his prime was at the 1990 World Cup Finals as well as his career with Red Star Belgrade.  Furthermore, I already honoured him with a spot on the Yugoslavia All-Time team.  I know this was a ludicrous reason, but I felt bad for Prosinečki being left off from both teams.
-- Predrag Mijatović won the 1998 Champions' League with Real Madrid.  He scored the winning goal in the Final against Juventus. Davor Suker, of course, was the hero of the 1998 World Cup Finals, where he was the top scorer.  
Davor Suker
-- After helping Marseilles to win the European Cup, Alen Bokšić came fourth in the 1993 Ballon d'Or.  He was the French Ligue Foreign Player of the Year and Croatia Player of the Year for the same year.  In his prime, he was as good as Davor Šuker.  Davor Šuker went to the World Cup Finals and became the top scorer while Bokšić stayed home.  Edin Džeko was the Bundesliga Players' Player of the Year for the 2008–09 season.  He was top scorer in two different leagues, namely Serie A and Bundesliga. Bokšić and Džeko edged out Mario Mandžukić.  He did not have those individual awards to back his credentials.  Otherwise, he was a top player for the region.
-- Mario Mandžukić was on the shortlist for the 23rd player.  I took Robert Prosinečki even through I already had three other attack midfielders.  Prosinečki's club career after 1992 was subpar as compared to Mandžukić.  However, most people recognised Prosinečki  as one of Croatia's greatest ever players.  Mandžukić on the other hand was very underrated.  He spent most of his career as a starter on a big club.  He scored one of the greatest goal ever in a Champions' League Final.  
-- Darko Kovačević, Mateja Kežman, Goran Pandev and Savo Milošević were all considered. Darko Pančev's peak was around 1991 when he played for Red Star Belgrade.  
-- Brazil-born Eduardo da Silva might have been a strong candidate if he never suffered a serious injury in 2008.
Bosnia and Herzegovina World Cup 2014