Hajduk juniors and 10,000 fans off to Switzerland to make history, UEFA making documentary
- by croatiaweek
- in Sport
After the excellent victories over Shakhtar, Manchester City and Borussia Dortmund, Hajduk juniors now travel to Geneva for the UEFA Youth Champions League Final Four.
On Friday, they will face AC Milan in the semi-finals, and coach Marijan Budimir and the players are not hiding their ambitions in their quest for the title.
Exactly a month ago, the “Bili tići” felt what it was like to bring something big to Split. Tears were barely hidden by coach Budimir upon returning from Dortmund. And now, he and his players face the match of their lives.
“We feel fulfilled, we can’t wait for that game, we’re preparing for it, training for it, and we can’t wait to step out in front of a lot of our fans in Geneva and try to win, of course,” Mate Antunović, the team’s top striker, told Nova TV.
“We are not afraid of anyone!” he added.
Hajduk’s first obstacle in the UEFA Youth Champions League Final Four will be AC Milan. The other semi-final will be played between Sporting from Portugal and the Dutch club AZ. Although they are not doing great in the Primavera and are only 13th in the league, the Milanese eliminated Atletico Madrid on their way to the Champions League semi-finals.
“An excellent team, as soon as they are among the four in the semi-finals, it means they don’t have many bad sides. It will be difficult, it won’t be easy, but everyone is beatable, we are not afraid of anyone,” Antunović said.
[FOTO] Juniori se pripremaju za završnicu Lige prvaka mladih • https://t.co/zOkS9AyPVx #Hajduk pic.twitter.com/EQygZJQ24K— HNK Hajduk Split (@hajduk) April 18, 2023
Coach Budimir also highlighted an interesting fact. “I was amazed by Manchester City, not one of their players was born in Manchester. Likewise, Milan is full of internationals, Borussia Dortmund… We are the romantics here, he-he, and it’s great that we made it here and great that UEFA is following it like this, a big deal for the whole club, city and Croatian football.”
Budimir reminded of Hajduk’s recipe throughout history.
“Throughout history, Hajduk has always been the best when it had the majority of players from its football school, plus three or four strong reinforcements. I agree with you that young quality players should be the ones who will be the bearers of quality in Hajduk,” emphasized Budimir.
Hajduk travels to Geneva on Thursday morning, where they will have one more training session in the afternoon. The game of the generation with Milan is scheduled for Friday at 6:00 p.m. (CET time).
UEFA has also recognized this massive moment for the club, and today they will arrive in Split to make a mini-documentary about Hajduk’s youth side and the club. One of the main stars in it will be Luka Vušković, who, like Rokas Pukštas, was loaned from the first team for the Final Four.
UEFA Youth League: Hajduk protiv Milana u petak u polufinalu • https://t.co/7M6sIZC7Dv #Hajduk pic.twitter.com/VOLDfNNFUY— HNK Hajduk Split (@hajduk) April 18, 2023
Nova TV reporter Ivan Forjan asked coach Budimir if they have any special rituals or superstitions in the dressing room.
“We do, but we would keep that to ourselves, we wouldn’t want it to get out. Just hoping it works in the end,” the young coach on the bench of Hajduk juniors replied.
With around 10 thousand fans coming to Geneva, the chances of their hopes coming true are definitely increasing.