Category: Sport

Rising Croatian Tennis Star Switches Allegiance to Australia

CroatiaRising Croatian tennis player Ajla Tomljanović will no longer play under the Croatia flag after it was reported that she would take up Australian citizenship, reports the Sydney Morning Herald..

The Zagreb-born 21-year-old will now compete under the Australia flag, starting at the 2014 US Open in September. Tomljanović, who has risen to number 56 in the world in a short space of time, will represent Australia at all grand slam events until she receives an Australian passport and residency status, which will then enable her to represent Australia also at the WTA level.

The reason for Tomljanović’s switch of allegiance looks like it is connected with her new coach, Australian David Taylor.Tomljanović has been based in Florida since the age of 13, and joining forces with Taylor and the renowned training facilities and support services at Melbourne Park’s National Tennis Centre are seen as the main reasons.

“Tomljanovic will play as an Australian at grand slam tournaments, effective immediately, and at Tour events once her citizenship is finalised. Tennis Australia welcomes Ajla to the Australian tennis family and wishes her well,” Tennis Australia said to the Sydney Morning Herald.

The Croatian Tennis Association have said that they have had no official confirmation from the player or Tennis Australia, but would contact the family to confirm.

Locals Dominating Croatian World Games

CroatiaIt is the local Croatians who are dominating the Croatian World Games which started this week in the capital Zagreb…

Over 700 athletes with Croatian heritage from 24 countries are competing this week in 16 sports, including athletics, bowls, judo, karate, basketball, football, indoor soccer, volleyball, beach volleyball, swimming, rugby, handball, tennis, table tennis, taekwondo and water polo, and it is the locals who are dominating after medals were awarded in five sports.

The team from Croatia won the handball tournament, with teams from Bosnia and Herzegovina and Austria in 2nd and 3rd place respectively. In the games taekwondo event it the medal winners were Ivana Džeko (-57kg, B&H), Damir Šunjić (+80kg, B&H), Juraj Stinčić (-80kg, Croatia) and Gabrijel Puklin (-68kg, Croatia). Zdravko Ferenčina (+60 years, Croatia), Mišel Mladima (-60 years, Croatia), Marko Stanić (-50 years, B&H), Boris Knezović (-30 years, B&H), Petra Orlić (-17 years, B&H) and Valentin Perić (-17 years, Croatia).

The locals also won the tennis event, with Romana Kovačević and Renata Šašak from Croatia winning the women’s and Mladen Častek, Mladen Lukić, Zlatko Blagaj and Vanja Mrazovac all from Croatia winning medal, as well Nenad Jandrić from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Miren Ivanković from America and Ivo Beliš from Slovenia. Hrvoje Šimunović from Croatia won the bowls event, whilst father and son pairing Nebojša and Marko Gabrić from Serbia won the table tennis event.

Modrić Now Most Expensive Midfielder in the World

CroatiaReal Madrid’s Croatian international Luka Modrić is the most expensive midfielder in the world, according to the latest valuations by renowned German-based website transfermarkt

According to the football info site, Modrić is valued at 55 million euros, making him the 9th most expensive player in the world, and the top midfielder. Modrić’s value has jumped 10 million euro since May when transfermarkt released their last valuations.

Lionel Messi (120 million euros) is number one, followed by Ronaldo (100 million euros) and his Real Madrid team-mate Gareth Bale (80 million euros). Fellow Croatian Ivan Rakitić is valued at 30 million euros, whilst Mario Mandžukić has dropped from 30 to 22 million euros.

Most Expensive Players in the World
1. Messi (Barcelona) 120 million €
2. Ronaldo (Real) 100 million €
3. Bale (Real) 80 million €
4. Neymar (Barcelona) 70 million €
5. Rodriguez (Real) 60 million €
6. Suarez (Barcelona) 60 million €
7. Falcao (Monaco) 60 million €
8. Cavani (PSG) 60 million €
9. Modrić (Real) 55 million €
10. Di Maria (Real) 50 million €

(pic: Drago Sopta / HNS)

New Club for Vrsaljko, Whilst Mourinho Sends Pašalić Out on Loan

CroatiaCroatian international defender Šime Vrsaljko’s move to the Italian side Sassuolo was made official yesterday…|

After a season-long spell at Serie A side Genoa FC, 22-year-old Vrsaljko, who has 9 international caps for Croatia, now joins fellow Italian cub Sassuolo. Sassuolo finished 17th in last season’s Serie A. Meanwhile, former Hajduk Split playmaker Mario Pašalić, who signed for Chelsea, has been sent out on loan by Jose Mourinho to Spainish side Elche for one season. (pic: Drago Sopta / HNS)

Rijeka Deny Racism Allegations from Manchester City

Croatian club HNK Rijeka have denied allegations that one its players racially abused a Manchester City U-21 player during the club’s pre-season tour of Croatia…

Manchester City Under-21s coach Patrick Vieira ordered his team from the pitch after an incident involving French midfielder Seko Fofana. Fofana was shown a red card for an off-the-ball clash, promoting Vieira to march his side off the park with Rijeka juniors leading 1-0.


A Manchester City player (blue) clashes with a Rijeka player in yesterday’s match

“Fofana was sent off because inside one minute there were two brutal tackles on our players. Manchester City coach Patrick Vieira then entered the field, something was discussed with the referee, and then to the amazement of a well-filled stadium he took his team off the pitch. What are the reasons? They are known only to him.” Ranko Buketa from HNK Rijeka said, before adding.

“Maybe Vieira was expecting an opponent that they would dominate on the field and be an easy warm up for his side, that was not the case against Rijeka,” reported 24sata.

Manchester City officials claim that Fofana was racially abused and have asked the Croatian FA to look into the matter. (pic: HNK Rijeka)

Danish Champions Next as Dinamo Zagreb Sniff UEFA Champions League Spot

CroatiaCroatian champions Dinamo Zagreb will face Danish champions Aalborg in the UEFA Champions League 3rd round qualifying after they brushed aside Lithuanian side Zalgiris Vilnius 2-0 (4-0 agg) last night…

Goals in the second half by Algerian international Soudani and Croatia centre back Josip Šimunić saw Dinamo repeat the result from the 1st leg in Zagreb a week ago.

“I congratulate the guys on the win and advancing through to the 3rd qualifying round of the Champions League which was thoroughly deserved,” said coach Zoran Mamić, before adding.

“We were nervous in the first half with passing and finishing, but when we opened the second half with an early goal the victory was never in doubt.”

Dinamo Zagreb face Aalborg home and away over the next two weeks to try to win a spot in this season’s Champions League. (GNK Dinamo)

Kovač Has Faith in New Keeper

If Croatia’s last two goal keepers are anything to go by, then Danijel Subašić can look forward to a truck full of international caps in the up coming years…

Croatia coach Niko Kovač was left searching for a new stopper this week after 114-cap veteran Stipe Pletikosa called time on his international career, and it is Subašić (29) who is first cab off the rank.

Danijel Subašić (right) and predecessor Stipe Pletikosa (pic: Drago Sopta / HNS)

Danijel Subašić (right) and predecessor Stipe Pletikosa (pic: Drago Sopta / HNS)

“Subašić for his club and country has shown that he is a keeper that we can count on with complete faith. He has patiently waited his chance and now he will get it in the EURO 2016 qualifiers,” said Kovač about the Monaco number one.

Croatia has had the benefit of having two fine glovemen over the past two decades. Dražen Ladić, who played 59 times for Croatia, left a hole in the side when he retired in 2000 at the age of 37, but Croatia was fortunate enough to find a replacement in Pletikosa, who went on to represent Croatia at five major tournaments (EURO 2008, 2012, World Cup 2002, 2006, 2014).

“Stipe always provided stability and security to the side, he will depart as one of the greats.” said Kovač. (pic: Drago Sopta / HNS)

Rising UFC Star Stipe Miočić to Visit Parent’s Homeland for the First Time

MMA: UFC 146-Miocic vs Del RosarioOne of the rising stars of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) will visit the land of his parents for the first time next month…

American-born Stipe Miočić, who is ranked number 7 currently in the UFC and is a big star of the sport, will visit Croatia for the first time next month where he will meet his Croatian fan base.

Miočić will hold a press conference in Zagreb on 4 August organised by the Fight Channel, where he will be presented to the Croatian media and will reveal more the motive for his arrival. After Zagreb Miočić will head to Karlovac, the town where his mother was born, before heading off to the coast. Miočić’s father was born near the Dalmatian town of Zadar.

Miočić, was a former Golden Gloves champion and NCAA Division I wrestler, he debuted in MMA winning his first 5 fights by knockout. (Photo Credit: Ron Chenoy-US PRESSWIRE)

3rd Croatian World Games Open in Zagreb

Croatia116The 3rd Croatian World Games will be opened today by Parliament President Josip Leko in a ceremony on the main Ban Jelačić square in downtown Zagreb…

More than 800 Croatian athletes from more than 37 nations around the globe will compete this week in 16 sports, including athletics, bowls, judo, karate, basketball, football, indoor soccer, volleyball, beach volleyball, swimming, rugby, handball, tennis, table tennis, taekwondo and water polo. Although it is not mandatory that athletes belong to an official sports or cultural organisation, they must be over 16 years of age and have Croatian ancestry.

The games, which are organised by the Croatian World Congress and are held every four years, will end on 26 July. The last time the event was in Croatia was in 2006 when it was held in the coastal town of Zadar.

Lovren to Liverpool, Strinić to West Ham

CroatiaThere will be another Croat playing this season in the English Premier League with news that Croatia defender Ivan Strinić is in London where he is set to sign a deal with West Ham United…

The 27-year left back will undergo a medical today in London before putting pen to paper, according to the British press. The West Ham squad are currently in New Zealand as part of their pre-season preparations. Meanwhile Dejan Lovren’s transfer to Liverpool is expected to be confirmed this week. It has been reported by local media that the Saint’s centre-back will move to Anfield Road for 20 million euros.