Two friends from the Argentinian city of Rosário have perhaps one of the biggest collections of Croatian football shirts in the world.
Javier Santich and Ivan Grbac, who were both born in Rosário and have Croatian heritage, are two football-mad mates with an impressive collection of over 300 shirts from Croatia and the Croatian diaspora.
Whilst Ivan knows every detail about shirts, Javier is the expert when it comes to knowing all about Croatian teams from the diaspora. Soon as the pair discover a new team they will go out of their way to get the shirt to add to the growing collection.
Along with a selection of old Croatian national team shirts, Javier and Ivan also have shirts from teams in the Croatian first, second and third division, as well as from Croatian clubs in Australia, Canada, USA, Germany, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Austria, Sweden, Switzerland and more.
It is not only shirts either, but the friends also collect scarfs, flags, tracksuits, hats, and books from the clubs as well.
“We get them in a variety of ways, but we mostly buy them online. We have received many as gifts from friends and relatives as well which excites us – that people give us our own shirts just to be in our collection, which is incredible,” Javier told Moja Hrvatska.
Javier and Ivan say they will never forget the summer when on the island of hear they were given 7 shirts from local amateur clubs.
“We have to thank all our friends around the world because they are our suppliers. It is unbelievable the number of Croatian institutes involved in football around the world. Every week we discover a new club,” they add.
Currently, the pair has around 100 Croatian national team shirts, 120 Croatian league shirts and 60 from clubs in the Croatian diaspora and the collection is growing.
“Around 80% of shirts from the Croatian diaspora have checkers. A lot of our friends are surprised with our collection and even collectors from Croatia have congratulated us on it. It is nice to exchange details with friends from all over the world,” Ivan said.
Javier and Ivan say that their main goal is to present their collection in the homeland.
(Text: Stella Hubmayer/Moja Hrvatska)