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Davor Šuker: a passing whim, a giant among players, or something sinister?

On Arsenal.com Davor Šuker is a stat: 39 (15 starts, 24 as a sub) , 11 goals

For Real Madrid he was a more successful stat playing 109 games and scoring 49 goals.   As a Croatian he is an absolute hero and if you want to know what he means to Croatia take a look here

Davor Šuker was born 1 January 1968 in Osijek.  As a footballer in his prime he had all the skills and ability you could ever want.  He came to fame outside his country when he played in the Yugoslav under 20 side that won the world championship in 1987.

He played for Dinamo Zagreb from 1989 When the Balkan wars began he joined Sevilla and in 1996 moved to Real Madrid playing alongside Raul and Mijatovic, winning the European Cup and La Liga during his four years.

By the time he came to Highbury however his time seemed to have passed, although he was a substitute in the 2000 Uefa cup final in Copenhagen, coming on for Marc Overmars.  He was thus there at the end and took the first penalty after the scores ended even, and he missed.  Arsenal in the end lost 4-1 on penalties.   On 28 June 2000: Davor Suker joined WHU on a free.    After that he went to 1860 Munich.

Years Team League games Goals
1984–1989 Osijek 91 40
1989–1991 Dinamo Zagreb 60 34
1991–1996 Sevilla 153 76
1996–1999 Real Madrid 86 38
1999–2000 Arsenal 22 8
2000–2001 West Ham United 11 2
2001–2003 1860 Munich 25 5
Total 448 203

Internationally he was the top goal scorer in the 1998 World Cup getting six goals in seven games as Croatia came third, losing to France in the semi-finals.  He was also named third in the Fifa World Player of the Year that year.

And that’s Davor Šuker the player.  As his career wound down Šuker opened his own football school, the Davor Šuker Soccer Academy, with training camps in several Croatian cities.  In July 2012 he became president of Croatian Football Federation.

He also worked with Dino Pokrovac as a football agent until Poklrovac who was first attacked when he car was blown up, was subsequently killed on 11 June 2005 in what the excitable media called a mafia styled execution in Zagreb.  Some uncollaborated reports suggest Dino Pokrovac was involved also in money lending.  Davor Suker was inevitably questioned by police.

In a complete separate incident Davor Suker was reported on 5 October 2011 to have been fined in Munich anything between £7000 and £21,000 (depending on which report you read) for taking a collection antique coins off a plane after a passenger accidentally left them behind in February. He was caught after his friend asked an expert about their value.

3 comments to Davor Šuker: a passing whim, a giant among players, or something sinister?

  • ian morgan

    i met davor on a plane to las vegas in january. an absolute gentleman, gave 2 hours of his time chatting, a davor croatian shirt and his phone to go have a drink with him a few days later. not one hint of him being too big for mere supporters, a class act!

  • Josif

    Ah, Šuker…

    I remember watching him as a child when he had played for Dinamo Zagreb. He was recognized as a world-class talent from the very beginning but it is very questionable whether he would have played abroad before the age of 28 if there hadn’t been a war as Yugoslav regulations didn’t allow for domestic players to leave the country before 28th birthday.

    Šuker was Real Madrid’s top scorer in 1996-97 when they won La Liga – only Ronaldo (the real one) scored more that season. However, Fernando Morientes’ arrival at the big scene turned Šuker into a substitute so he was more or less a third-choice-striker when Real won their first European title after 32 years. He had a brilliant tournament in France 1998 with Croatia and was the only player to score against France from an open play. His repeated penalty against Romania was an interesting story as well – he had checked his pulse before scoring for the second time. The fact he had won the Golden Boot didn’t help him at Real Madrid – he was on the margines for the rest of his time at Santiago Bernabeu.

    World Cup 1998 wasn’t his first big tournament. He also scored two fantastic goals at EURO 1996 – an unforgettable lob against Schmeichel (3:0) and a clever finish against Germany (Croatia lost 1:2 because referees from Sweden thought they were 12th, 13th and 14th German player on the pitch). During EURO 1996 qualifiers he had knocked out Italy at Palermo with two goals.

    Off the pitch, he has been a very controversial person, the one I haven’t liked a bit. He took a picture at the grave of Ante Pavelić, who was the head of the puppet “Independent State of Croatia” that committed horrible and unthinkable crimes against Serbs, Jews, Romani and anti-fascists. That says enough.

  • Crovax

    A dead-set true Croatian hero on the pitch, and initially off the pitch. Later on, and now, proved to be as corrupt as the organisation which he represents – which, in truth, is no surprise as they are a member of fufa.

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