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Niko Kranjčar
Niko Kranjčar.jpg
Personal information
Full name Niko Kranjčar
Date of birth 13 August 1984 (1984-08-13) (age 25)
Place of birth Zagreb, SFR Yugoslavia
Height 1.88 m (6 ft 2 in)
Playing position Attacking Midfielder, Winger
Club information
Current club Tottenham Hotspur
Number 21
Youth career
Dinamo Zagreb
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
2001–2004 Dinamo Zagreb 84 (19)
2004–2006 Hajduk Split 45 (12)
2006–2009 Portsmouth 83 (9)
2009– Tottenham Hotspur 21 (4)
National team
Croatia U21 3 (0)
2004– Croatia 55 (10)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 18:22, 16 March 2010 (UTC).

† Appearances (Goals).

‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 22:33, 14 November 2009 (UTC+1)

Niko Kranjčar (Croatian pronunciation: [ˈniːkɔ ˈkraɲtʃaːr]; born 13 August 1984) is a Croatian footballer who currently plays as a midfielder for Tottenham Hotspur and the Croatia national team. His main traits are his vision, close control, range of passing, set piece prowess and his superb technique

He previously represented two of the biggest clubs in his homeland, playing for Dinamo Zagreb before sparking controversy by making a move to their fierce rivals Hajduk Split in 2005.[1] A transfer to England with Portsmouth soon followed in August 2006,[2] and after several years of attempting to hold on to their key players,[3][4][5] Portsmouth decided to sell him at the start of the 2009–10 season, opening the way for a move to Tottenham in September 2009, where he was reunited with his former manager at Portsmouth, Harry Redknapp.[6]

Hailed as the next Robert Prosinečki, Kranjčar was given his international debut by his father Zlatko in August 2004.[7] As of November 2009, Kranjčar has won 54 caps for the Croatia national team.


Club career

Early years

Kranjčar spent most of his youth playing for Dinamo Zagreb, and later became the youngest captain of the squad for the first time at the age of 17. He also became one of the youngest goalscorers in the Prva HNL as he scored on his league debut for Dinamo at the age of 16 before helping them win the double of a Croatian cup and a league title in 2003 and then the Croatian cup again the following season.[8] Such abilities and assistance led him to become a fan favorite, he began to receive comparison to French football legend Zinedine Zidane.[9] However, in early 2005, he experienced a disagreement with the management, leading to a surprise transfer to Dinamo's biggest rivals, Hajduk Split.[10] Nevertheless, he still managed to focus on his new club as he helped them to the Croatian title in his first season.[7]

After the 2006 World Cup, the world press hailed him for his talents, and several clubs immediately showed interest in the young star. Among such clubs were Stade Rennais and the Spanish Club Celta Vigo. In August 2006, Rennes bid 4.5 million for Kranjčar, which Hajduk rejected, stating they felt they should get more for the player. Later on the same day, however, Kranjčar then moved for a reported £3.5 million (€5.2 million) to Portsmouth on 31 August 2006.[11][12]


Kranjčar made his Premier League debut for Portsmouth on 1 October 2006 as he played all 90 minutes in their 2–1 away defeat to Tottenham Hotspur. He scored his first Premier League goal on 31 March 2007 at Fulham, giving Portsmouth an early 1–0 lead in a match that eventually ended in a 1–1 draw.[13] He made a total of 24 appearances and scored two goals in his first Premier League season.

He gained credential for helping Portsmouth to the FA Cup title in 2008.[14]

At the beginning of the 2008–09 season, AS Monaco apparently had a bid of £12 million rejected for Kranjčar,[15] however this was denied by Monaco.[16][17] On 12 February 2009, with Portsmouth battling relegation, Kranjčar publicly declared his desire to quit Portsmouth and move to a bigger club.[18] Arsenal and AS Monaco have previously been linked with moves for the Croatian International.[19][20] Everton manager David Moyes also expressed an interest in signing Kranjčar as a replacement for long-term absentee Mikel Arteta.[21] In August, Kranjčar stated: "For now I am staying, but we have not strengthened like I would have liked us to. That's why I will not sign a new contract. It's one more season for me and then I'm off".[22]

Tottenham Hotspur

On 1 September 2009, Kranjčar joined Tottenham Hotspur from Portsmouth after the two clubs agreed a transfer fee of around £2.5 million. The deal was completed just before the transfer deadline passed.[23] It was reported that Everton had made a late bid to sign Kranjčar, but the player opted to sign for Spurs, stating that: "Everton is also a big club but, in the end, the tradition and greatness of Tottenham made the difference. I also knew manager Harry Redknapp, and Luka Modrić and Vedran Ćorluka told me great things about the club".[24] Kranjčar made his debut for Tottenham as a substitute in the 3–1 defeat to Manchester United at home.[25] On 26 September 2009, Kranjčar made his first Premier League start for Tottenham in a 5–0 home thrashing of Burnley.[26] He scored his first goal for the club in a Premier League match away to Bolton Wanderers on 4 October 2009.[27] On 22 November 2009, Kranjčar scored for Tottenham in a 9–1 home thrashing of Wigan Athletic, with Jermain Defoe scoring a record equalling five.[28] On 16 December 2009, Kranjčar grabbed a brace in a 3-0 home victory over Manchester City.[29]

International career

Kranjčar was previously a part of the Croatian national Under-16, Under-17, Under-19 and Under-21 teams before advancing to the senior national team. His senior debut for Croatia came on 18 August 2004 in a friendly match against Israel. He was a regular for Croatia during their qualifying campaign for the 2006 World Cup, making nine appearances and scoring two goals, including a brilliant single effort against Bulgaria. Niko was then chosen for "Young guns firing for World Cup glory" on with some of the greatest talents in the world, such as Lionel Messi, Lukas Podolski and future Pompey team mate Sulley Muntari. He went on to play in all of Croatia's three group stage matches at the final tournament, proving to be a prestigious player for his impressive performances.

With the departure of his father as national team manager, Kranjčar became a regular for Croatia in their qualifying campaign for the Euro 2008, having appeared in all 12 matches, scoring two goals. The most famous of such was his long range opener for Croatia during their final match away to England. Croatia eventually won the game 3–2, resulting in England's failure to qualify for the final tournament.[30] He then scored in a friendly match against Scotland with a spectacular effort just from inside the penalty area in a match played that ended 1–1, the equalising goal coming from Kenny Miller.

During the final Euro 2008 tournament, Kranjčar was hardly mentioned as he remained fairly quiet during Croatia's run, combined with three disappointing misses after being given golden opportunities to score against Germany and Turkey, the latter of such eventually led to Croatia's exit from the competition.[citation needed]

International goals

# Date Venue Opponent Score Result Competition
01. 4 June 2005 Vasil Levski Stadium, Sofia  Bulgaria
3 – 1
3 – 1
Q 2006 World Cup
02. 17 August 2005 Poljud, Split, Croatia  Brazil
1 – 0
1 – 1
03. 7 September 2005 Ta' Qali Stadium, Ta' Qali, Malta  Malta
1 – 0
1 – 1
Q 2006 World Cup
04. 07 June 2006 Stade de Geneve, Geneva, Switzerland  Spain
1 – 2
1 – 2
05. 12 September 2007 Estadi Comunal, Andorra la Vella, Andorra  Andorra
4 – 0
6 – 0
Q Euro 2008
06. 21 November 2007 Wembley Stadium, London, England  England
1 – 0
3 – 2
Q Euro 2008
07. 26 March 2008 Hampden Park, Glasgow, Scotland  Scotland
1 – 0
1 – 1
08. 11 February 2009 Steaua Stadium, Bucharest, Romania  Romania
2 – 1
2 – 1
09. 14 October 2009 Astana Arena, Astana, Kazakhstan  Kazakhstan
2 – 1
2 – 1
Q 2010 World Cup
10. 3 March 2010 King Baduoin Stadium, Brussels, Belgium  Belgium
1 – 0
1 – 0


Dinamo Zagreb
2001, 2002
2002, 2003
Hajduk Split

Personal life

Kranjčar is married to Simona Fistrić and the couple live in Portsmouth, where Kranjčar formerly played.[31]


  1. ^ "Croatian Dilemmas for the World Cup - Kranjcar & Kranjcar: In The Name Of The Son". soccerphile. Retrieved 1 September 2009. 
  2. ^ "Pompey snap up three". 31 August 2006. Retrieved 01 September 2009. 
  3. ^ Sandy Macaskill (24 February 2009). "Niko Kranjcar's Portsmouth future in doubt". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 1 September 2009. 
  4. ^ "Kranjcar coy on Portsmouth future". BBC Sport. 20 May 2008. Retrieved 1 September 2009. 
  5. ^ "Redknapp eager to keep Kranjcar". BBC Sport. 3 April 2007. Retrieved 05 September 2009. 
  6. ^ "Spurs sign Kranjcar from Pompey". BBC Sport. 01 September 2009. Retrieved 05 September 2009. 
  7. ^ a b "Niko Kranjcar Profile". ESPN Soccernet. Retrieved 05 September 2009. 
  8. ^ "Niko Kranjcar, Croatia". Live Football Online. 04 June 2008. Retrieved 18 July 2008. 
  9. ^ T.O. Whenham. "Croatia World Cup 2006 Team Information/Outlook Page". Doc's Sports Services. Retrieved 05 September 2009. 
  10. ^ "Kranjcar completes Hajduk move". CNN. 21 January 2005. Retrieved 05 September 2009. 
  11. ^ "Pompey complete Kranjcar signing". BBC Sport. 31 August 2006. Retrieved 29 August 2007. 
  12. ^ Darren Lewis (31 August 2006). "KRANJCAR & COLE IN AS HARRY GETS BUSY". Retrieved 29 August 2007. 
  13. ^ "Fulham 1-1 Portsmouth". BBC Sport. 31 March 2007. Retrieved 05 September 2009. 
  14. ^ "Portsmouth win FA cup". 17 May 2008. Retrieved 05 September 2009. 
  15. ^ Jason Burt (18 July 2008). "Redknapp rejects £12m Monaco bid for Kranjcar". The Independent. Retrieved 05 September 2009. 
  16. ^ "Monaco deny £11.8m bid for Pompey's Croat star Kranjcar". Daily Mail. 24 July 2008. Retrieved 05 September 2009. 
  17. ^ "Monaco deny Kranjcar approach". Metro. 24 July 2008. Retrieved 05 September 2009. 
  18. ^ "Kranjčar seeks Pompey exit". Sky Sport. 12th February 2009.,19528,11661_4915182,00.html. Retrieved 09 September 2009. 
  19. ^ Neil Moxley (24 February 2009). "Portsmouth playmaker Niko Kranjcar puts Arsenal on red alert after admitting he may leave Fratton Park this summer". Daily Mail. Retrieved 09 September 2009. 
  20. ^ "Kranjcar dismisses Monaco rumours". ESPN Star. 20 June 2008. Retrieved 09 September 2009. 
  21. ^ "Moyes Targets Kranjcar". Daily Star. 25 February 2009. Retrieved 09 September 2009. 
  22. ^ "Kranjcar: I'm off next summer". The News. 10 August 2009. Retrieved 02 September 2009. 
  23. ^ "Kranjcar Completes Deal". Tottenham Hotspur Official Website. 1 September 2009. Retrieved 2 September 2009. 
  24. ^ "Spurs sign Kranjcar from Pompey". BBC Sport. 1 September 2009. Retrieved 2 September 2009. 
  25. ^ Jonathan Stevenson (12 September 2009). "Tottenham 1 - 3 Man Utd". BBC Sport. Retrieved 13 September 2009. 
  26. ^ Jamie Lillywhite (26 September 2009). "Tottenham 5-0 Burnley". BBC Sport. Retrieved 27 September 2009. 
  27. ^ Lyon, Sam (03 October 2009). "Bolton 2–2 Tottenham". BBC Sport. Retrieved 03 October 2009. 
  28. ^ Fletcher, Paul (22 November 2009). "Tottenham 9-1 Wigan". BBC Sport. Retrieved 22 November 2009. 
  29. ^ Dawkes, Phil (16 December 2009). "Tottenham 9-1 Wigan". BBC Sport. Retrieved 16 December 2009. 
  30. ^ Samuel, Martin (22 November 2007). "Inescapable truths that must not be screened by the Scott Carson horror show". The Times. 
  31. ^ "Niko and Fistrić Simone big wedding in Zagreb" (in Croatian). 18 July 2008. Retrieved 12 September 2009. 

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