Home » Sport » Dalić on the late Ćiro Blažević: “Unrepeatable Ćiro was a genuine inspiration” 

Dalić on the late Ćiro Blažević: “Unrepeatable Ćiro was a genuine inspiration” 

Zlatko Dalić named the 4th best national team coach in the world 

Zlatko Dalić dedicated his bronze medal in Qatar to Blažević

Legendary Croatian football coach Miroslav ‘Ćiro’ Blažević, who led Croatia to bronze at the 1998 World Cup in France, passed away in Zagreb on Wednesday at the age of 87 after a long battle with prostate cancer.

If as a “student” he surpassed his teacher with his results at the helm of the Croatian national team, Zlatko Dalić always emphasised that Ćiro was the greatest.

“I express my deepest condolences to the family of our Ćiro, whose departure we all in football share great pain. Ćiro was unique – an unsurpassed motivator and speaker, in one second charming, the next rude. I remember him as a man with great style and an even bigger soul, and that’s why we everyone loved and respected him,” Dalić said, before adding

“As a coach, he had two extraordinary and historic successes, one with the national team that he brought to the top of the world, and one with Dinamo when that title meant much more than football. However, wherever he worked, he left a big mark , and so on me in Varaždin,” said Dalić, who worked under Ćiro at the Varteks Varaždin in the early 1990s.

“I can freely say that Ćiro was my football father, he was a true inspiration for everything I achieved in my coaching career. I am eternally grateful to him for that, and my prayers are dedicated to him and his family. To the coach of all coaches, rest in God’s peace!” Dalić concluded.

After Croatia beat Morocco to win Bronze at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, Dalić said the medal was for his old boss.

“This is bronze, but it has a golden sheen. I would like to dedicate this victory to one man, Ćiro Blažević. Boss, this is for you, this is your medal, I can win five medals, but you are the coach of all coaches,” said Dalić.

“On behalf of the Croatian Football Association, I express my deepest condolences to the family of Miroslav Blažević for this irreparable loss,” said HNS president Marijan Kustić.

“Although we were aware that he was bravely fighting a serious illness, this is still a shocking moment for all of us because Ćiro always seemed larger than life. As a coach, he signed two legendary successes: the 1998 Croatian bronze medal and Dinamo’s championship title in 1982, which is why he will always be remembered as the ‘coach of all coaches’. In addition to being a coaching vanguard, he was an extremely charming, intelligent, witty, and passionate person, and as such, we will all miss him tremendously. Ćiro was unique and inimitable, we will remember him as such, and the Croatian Football Association will always take care to carefully preserve the memory of one of the most significant individuals in the history of Croatian football. Rest in peace, dear Ćiro!”

Blažević was born in Travnik in Bosnia and Hercegovina and it was there he started playing football.

He enjoyed a playing career spanned from 1954 to 1966, during which he played for Dinamo Zagreb, Lokomotiva Zagreb, FK Sarajevo, HNK Rijeka and Swiss clubs FC Sion and FC Moutier. 

As a manager, he was in charge of Croatia from 1994-2000. He won bronze with Croatia at the 1998 World Cup and earned the title “coach of all coaches”. He managed Croatia in 72 matches and is still first on the list for being in charge for the longest period. 

He also managed the national teams of Switzerland, Iran, Bosnia and Herzegovina and China Olympic and had successful spells at FC Vevey, FC Sion, FC Lausanne-Sport, HNK Rijeka, GNK Dinamo Zagreb, Grasshopper Zürich, FC Prishtina, NK Osijek, NK Varteks, NK Zagreb, Shanghai Shenhua and FK Sloboda Tuzla.

He was named honorary coach of Croatian national football team in 2021.

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