Their greatest ever achievement in the UEFA Champions League was making the quarter finals, but it has been a long time between drinks for Croatian football club Hajduk Split, with their last appearance in the competition in 1995. It could well have been different for the Split-based club had their scouts been a bit more astute, as Goal.com reveals…
The list of players the club has turned down for one reason or another reads like a who’s who of the football world. Here are some of the more well-known names the clubs let go.
– Luka Modrić arrived at Hajduk Split as a 14-year-old boy for trials only to be told that he was ‘too small’ and to come back next year. The following year he went to rival club Dinamo Zagreb. Modrić went on to star for Tottenham Hotspur and Real Madrid.
– Zvonimir Boban turned up for trials at Hajduk Split, but was told that his legs were ‘too thin’ for him to make it. Boban, like Modrić, moved north to the capital and signed for Dinamo Zagreb. Boban went on to become a hero at AC Milan.
– Davor Šuker was set to move from his hometown of Osijek to Hajduk Split in 1989. The club was due to pay 70,000 marks for the promising striker, but the club deemed the amount too much. Šuker, who also played for Dinamo Zagreb, went on to play for Sevilla, Real Madrid, and Arsenal among others, and was the Golden Boot at the 1998 World Cup.
– Mateo Kovačić was 12-years-old when he turned up at Hajduk Split. Management told him to come back in a year or two when he got ‘stronger’. Mateo went on to play for Dinamo Zagreb, before signing last season for Italian giants Inter Milan.
– Whilst playing for Bosnian side Željezničar, Edin Džeko, was offered to Hajduk and Dinamo for sale. Both clubs turned them down for a reported 50,000 euros.
– Dado Pršo attended the Hajduk Split academy in 1992. After a check-up revealed that he has some deficiencies with his heart, his was let go by Hajduk Split who said he would never be fit to play serious football. Pršo moved to France where he was a star for Monaco and Rangers in Scotland.