SPLIT, 7 February 2022 – Hajduk Split have announced the signing of former Croatian international Nikola Kalinić today.
Kalinić returns to Poljud stadium after more than 12 years and will wear the number 9 shirt again. The 34-year-old arrives as a free agent after terminating his contract with Serie A side Hellas Verona.
Kalinić grew up in the Hajduk system, going through all age categories at the club’s academy and becoming one of its most recognisable products in the recent history.
He played a total of 79 official matches for the first team and scored 44 goals. He left Poljud in 2009 in a then record transfer to English club Blackburn.
Over the past 13 season he also played for the Ukrainian side Dnipro, Italian Serie A clubs Fiorentina, AC Milan and Roma, and for the Atletico Madrid in Spain. In his career, he scored over 170 goals. He also represented Croatia 42 times, scoring 15 goals.
“We all know very well what a accomplished footballer he is, he played for some of the world’s biggest clubs in the strongest leagues at the highest level of football. Nikola is now returning to his club, full of motivation to help us in the fight for trophies. That says enough about what kind of person he is, because despite more generous offers and the opportunity to stay in Italy, he chose to return to his football home. His appearance, personality and, in the end, the most important thing, and that is football quality, will bring a lot to our team. Not only in terms of football, but also in terms of being a role model, leader and he will help the whole team to rise to a higher level,” sports director Mindaugas Nikolicius said for Hajduk.hr.
“Returning to Hajduk is a special moment in my life. I signed contracts with many clubs, big clubs, played for them, but Hajduk is the greatest for all of us who grew up here and we are emotionally attached to it. This is where I grew up, the place where I gained my football affirmation, in the end this is where I was born and this is where my people are. I will do my best to cheer up everyone who breathes for Hajduk and keep this moment and the emotion around the club as long as possible,” said Kalinić, who will presented at Poljud stadium today.
Hajduk also released a video introducing the signing.