Croatia has an abundance of young football talent working their way quietly through the youth system.
There are a number of Croatian teenagers destined for big careers in football but there is one particular teen who is attracting attention from some of Europe’s biggest clubs at the moment after a string of impressive performances.
Dinamo Zagreb attacking midfielder and play-maker Antonio Marin is a name to remember.
Brilliant performances in the Youth Champions League and Premier League International Cup this only confirming what many insiders in Croatia know, that the 18-year-old has what it takes to be a star in the game.
Marin was instrumental for Dinamo Zagreb in victories over Liverpool, West Ham, Tottenham and last week against Southampton where he set up all three of his team’s goals in the semi-final victory. He also scored both of Dinamo Zagreb’s goals in their penalty shoot-out loss to Chelsea in the Champions League quarterfinal this month.
His performances against the Premier League youth teams has not gone unnoticed in England. UK media reports that Pep Guardiola and Manchester City are interested in the Croatian. He has also already been linked with AC Milan and Juventus.
Marin was one of two Croatian players named by The Guardian newspaper on their annual list of the best 60 young football talents in the world.
“One of those natural talents to whom the eye is instantly drawn because of the energy, superior coordination and high confidence he displays, wreaking havoc in defences with his rapid changes of direction, dribbling skills and ability to shoot with both feet. A Croatian Neymar in the making, if you will. Best suited for the role of inside forward, he made his debut for Dinamo’s senior squad in May. Has been drawing the interest of top European clubs for years,” The Guardian wrote.
Born in Zagreb, Marin started his youth career with the renowned Dinamo Zagreb academy in 2009. He signed a three-year long professional contract with the club when he was 16. He made his first team debut as a 17-year-old. He is currently in the Croatia under-19 team and has represented his country at under-15, 16 and 17 level.
Marin will be hoping to help his Dinamo Zagreb team next win the Premier League International Cup. They meet Bayern Munich in the final next month.