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Branko Ivanković
Branko Ivanković
Personal information
Date of birth February 28, 1954 (1954-02-28) (age 55)
Place of birth    Čakovec, SR Croatia, Yugoslavia
Club information
Current club Shandong Luneng Taishan
Senior career1
Years Club App (Gls)*
NK Varteks 263 (31)   
Teams managed
NK Varteks
NK Segesta
NK Rijeka
Croatia (assistant)
Hannover 96
Iran (assistant)
Iran U23
NK Dinamo Zagreb
NK Dinamo Zagreb
Shandong Luneng Taishan

1 Senior club appearances and goals
counted for the domestic league only.
* Appearances (Goals)

Dr. Branko Ivanković (Croatian pronunciation: [ˈbraːŋkɔ ˈiʋaːŋkoʋitɕ]; born February 28, 1954 in Čakovec) is a Croatian football coach and also a former player. He holds a PhD in physical education. He is now the manager of former Chinese Super League champion Shandong Luneng Taishan.[1]


Playing career

He spent his entire 12-season-long playing career at Varteks Varaždin, appearing in a total of 263 matches and scoring 31 goals. He then continued to work at the club by first being their secretary and then starting his coaching career.

Managing career

He was the head coach of Varteks Varaždin between 1991 and 1995. He then moved for one season to Segesta Sisak, and went on to coach Rijeka in the 1996-97 season.


Croatian national team

Ivanković then became the assistant coach to Ćiro Blažević, who led the Croatian national team to a sensational third-place finish at the 1998 FIFA World Cup finals in France.[2]

In the 1999-2000 season, he coached German club Hannover 96, which was playing in the Second Bundesliga at the time. He briefly returned to the Croatian national team as the assistant to Mirko Jozić during the qualifications for the 2002 FIFA World Cup, before he took over the Iranian national team where he replaced Blažević, who had managed them since 2001.

Iranian national team

Ivanković was appointed to the head of the Iranian team on January 29, 2002, and reappointed on October 3, 2003. Ivankovic is considered, overall, a failure for his team's often stagnant displays. This despite Iran fielding its best ever generation of players. Having qualified to the World Cup in one of the easiest qualification routes in Asian football history, his team garnered last position in its group at 2006 FIFA World Cup, where most fans considered beating Angola a minimum. His success at national team level occurred years prior at the 2004 AFC Asian Cup where Iran, being led by eventual Asian Footballer of the Year Ali Karimi, could go no further than the Semi-Finals.


His defensive tactics and being unwilling to take risks had been criticized by sections of Iranian fans and the Iranian media. He was especially criticized by some for purportedly using a relatively inflexible starting line-ups, formations and tactics. Portions of fans and the media accused him for an apparent failure to fix the tactical problems and avoiding the call up of some top performing Iranian players. He was also accused of avoiding strong opponents in friendly games before the World Cup. He was also heavily criticised for not returning to Iran after the 2006 Fifa World Cup to meet with the disappointed fans and media.

World Cup 2006

Iran, at their opening game at the World Cup, showed a scintillating first half performance against Mexico, but conceded two goals to collapse in what many call the 'coaches half'. The second match against Portugal was not successful either, with Iran conceding two late goals to lose 2-0 and being left without any chances of advancing to the second stage of the tournament, as Mexico drew against Angola on the previous evening and left Iran unreachable four points behind. So, the third group match against Angola became insignificant for Iran and their performance was not satisfying once again, with Angola putting themselves into the lead with the opening goal after one hour of playing. The Iranians managed to equalise fifteen minutes later, eventually scoring their only point at the 2006 World Cup since the match ended in a 1-1 draw. This point was, however, only enough for Iran to occupy the last place in their group. Ivanković withdrew from coaching the team as promised on June 8, 2006, claiming constant pressure from the Iranian media. Iran's dismal performance at the World Cup finals in Germany led to a change in the presidency of Iranian Football Federation by government authorities. According to officials belonging to the Iranian Sporting Organization (body that oversees sports in Iran), Ivanković's contract would have been nullified even if he had not resigned.

Dinamo Zagreb

On November 6, 2006, Ivanković replaced Josip Kuže as the head coach of Croatian club Dinamo Zagreb. He led the club to the Double in 2007 without losing a single competitive match. On January 14, 2008, Branko resigned as a coach of Dinamo mostly due to his differences with the club's executive vice-president Zdravko Mamić. He was linked back to Iran and Sepahan Esfahan.

Ivanković returned as manager of Dinamo Zagreb on May 21, 2008. He is replacing Zvonimir Soldo, who resigned immediately after Dinamo won the domestic double.[3]

In July 2009, He was offered the role of Persepolis Manager in Iran, but he rejected the offer.[4][5]



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