Nikola Kalinić: Wikis

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Nikola Kalinić
Personal information
Date of birth 5 January 1988 (1988-01-05) (age 22)
Place of birth Solin, SFR Yugoslavia
Height 1.87 m (6 ft 1+12 in)
Playing position Striker
Club information
Current club Blackburn Rovers
Number 22
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
2005–2009 Hajduk Split 59 (32)
2005–2006 Istra 1961 (loan) 12 (3)
2006–2007 HNK Šibenik (loan) 8 (3)
2009– Blackburn Rovers 20 (2)
National team
2003–2005 Croatia U17 20 (16)
2005–2006 Croatia U19 12 (11)
2007–2008 Croatia U21 3 (3)
2008– Croatia 3 (0)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 15:03, Saturday 13 March 2010 (UTC).

† Appearances (Goals).

‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 19:35, 5 September 2009 (UTC)

Nikola Kalinić (born 5 January 1988) is a Croatian footballer who is currently playing his club football for Blackburn Rovers as a striker in the English Premier League. He plays internationally for the Croatia national team and has received three caps for them since 2008. Croatia manager Slaven Bilić has described him as "the future of Croatian football".[1]

Contents

Club career

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Early career

Born in the small town of Solin, Kalinić started his career as a teenager in the Prva HNL at age 17, playing on loan and debuting against his initial club Hajduk Split on November 19, 2005. In his loan time at Pula, he had a slow but fair start considering his young age. Despite not playing all too regularly in a short single season with them, he still managed to adapt and find a goslacoring form, netting 3 goals in 12 league appearances. His first goals in the Prva HNL came in the 2-0 victory against Kamen Ingrad on September 23, 2006 as he netted a brace to give his side the victory. Upon ending his short time at Pula, manager Krunoslav Jurčić was largely impressed with him, stating he could become Sweden's Ibrahimović.[2]

Despite his intentions to stay at Pula, he returned to Hajduk and was immediately sent out on loan to HNK Šibenik where he saw occasional first team action and immediately impressed with all round performances and regular goalscoring ability, netting 4 goals in a mere 8 appearances.

Return to Hajduk Split

After clearly showing the ability to adapt well to the Croatian league, he returned to Hajduk and saw plenty of first team action immediately. He made his returning debut against Cibalia as a substitute, and gained his first 11 starting spot in the squad during the 2-1 victory against Osijek at the Poljud Stadium. His 17 league goals in his first season with Hajduk was only beaten by league topscorer Zelimir Terkes, who managed 21 goals.[3] However, it was a great achievement for the youngster who had initially set a target of scoring 15 goals, which he ended up exceeding. He finished his 2007/08 season at 5th place with Hajduk in the league,[4] also helping them reach the final of the Croatian Cup in the same season and ended with a total of 26 goals, receiving the coveted Swan d'or Award, from the Croatian Press Association.

He kicked off the next season of play by scoring the second goal in Hajduk's 4-0 away victory against Birkirkara FC, thus advancing them to the next round of qualification for the UEFA Cup.[5] In Hajduk's derby match over league rivals Dinamo Zagreb, Kalinić scored the first goal with a penalty kick. Hajduk went on to win the game 2-0 and overtake Dinamo in the league table. [6]

Kalinić went for a 1-week trial at English Premier League team Portsmouth F.C. in late July 2009, a fee thought to be in the region of £6 million was agreed. However the move fell through due to financial reasons. On 31 July the same year, Kalinić was heavily linked with another Premier League club Blackburn Rovers F.C.. Later that same day, the player's agent confirmed that the player had been at Blackburn's ground talking to the club on the 30th and 31st with regard to the deal to take the player to Ewood Park. The player's agent also confirmed that the fee was 7 million Euros should the deal be completed, the contract had been agreed, and that his client was due to sign for the club. The player also made light that the Lancashire-based club expected "big things" from the highly-rated Croat.[7] On 1 August 2009, the move stepped closer when Hajduk Split president Mate Peroš confirmed that Blackburn Rovers had an offer accepted by the club. An offer which was subsequently the best offer from any club. He also confirmed "Very quickly we finished the talks with the club (Rovers)." It is now understood that the move is now waiting for a Work Permit to be issued, and then Nikola will officially become a Blackburn Rovers player.[8]

Blackburn Rovers

On 3 August 2009 it was reported by Sky Sports News that Kalinić had signed for Blackburn Rovers from Hajduk Split on a four-year deal.[9] The transfer fee is believed to be in the region of £6 million.[10] On 10 August, Kalinić was successfully awarded a work permit and officially signed for Blackburn. However, his début was delayed as he had to return from Croatia to collect his permit, meaning he was not officially registered in time for Rovers' opening game of the season against Manchester City.[11] On 13 August, Kalinić was officially confirmed as a Blackburn Rovers player and was assigned the number 22 jersey for the 2009–10 season. He made his debut against Sunderland on 22 August. On 27 October Kalinić scored his first goal for Blackburn against Peterborough United in the League Cup.[12] He scored his second goal in the quarter-final of the League Cup against Chelsea, but missed a penalty in the shootout which Blackburn went on to win regardless.[13] He scored his third goal for Rovers in the FA Cup against Aston Villa on 2 January 2010.[14]

He then added his fourth and fifth goals for the season, with the two opening goals against Aston Villa in the second leg of the League Cup semi-final. The first being a header, and the second a close-range shot. He scored his first Premier League goal against Wigan Athletic with a header from a resultant corner taken by Morten Gamst Pedersen in the 76th minute in the 2–1 victory. Kalinić scored his second Premier League goal of the 2009-10 campaign against Bolton Wanderers on 21 February 2010.

International career

He was a key player in the Croatian national under-21 team during his younger youth playing years. He also represented his country at under 17 and under 19 youth level. He first made a name for himself at international level at age 17 during the 2004/05 UEFA European Championship when he finished the attempted campaign as the top scorer with 11 goals. At under 19 level, he managed another 5 goals during his sides preliminary round of the same tournament. He also scored a hat-trick against Lithuania in Croatia's 3-0 victory, which secured them a spot in the next elite round of the UEFA European Under-19 Championship in 2006.[15]

Initially supposed to be called up by head coach Slaven Bilić for the few remaining qualifying games of Euro 2008, Kalinić missed the chance due to injury and was instead replaced by Mario Mandžukić.[16] However, his constant impressive abilities earned him a place in Croatia's final squad for the Euro 2008 tournament. He will officially wear the number 9 jersey while he plays for Croatia.[17] Kalinić made his first appearance for the senior national team on May 24, 2008, coming on as a substitute in the 62nd minute of Croatia's 1-0 friendly win against Moldova.[18] He went on to make his first competitive appearance for his national side at Euro 2008 in Croatia's final group game against Poland, coming on as a substitute for goalscorer Ivan Klasnić in the 1-0 victory.

References

  1. ^ "Kalinić cool amid Hajduk crisis". UEFA. 2007-11-13. http://www.uefa.com/footballeurope/news/kind=2/newsid=618624.html. Retrieved 2008-05-24. 
  2. ^ http://www.nikolakalinic.com/biografija.html
  3. ^ "Croatian Leading Goal Scorers". 2008-05-10. http://www.soccerboards.com/scorers_detail.php?s=99. Retrieved 2008-05-24. 
  4. ^ "Croatian Football Federation". UEFA. 2008-05-10. http://www.uefa.com/footballeurope/countries/association=56370/index.html. Retrieved 2008-05-24. 
  5. ^ Croatians cruise in southern openers
  6. ^ http://www.croatiantimes.com/index.php?id=2857
  7. ^ Nikola closes on Rovers move - AGENT
  8. ^ Rovers close on Kalinic
  9. ^ Rovers sign Kalinic
  10. ^ Rekordan transfer: Kalinić u Blackburnu!
  11. ^ Kalinic work permit granted
  12. ^ "Blackburn 5 - 2 Peterborough". BBC Sport. 2009-10-27. http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/league_cup/8323055.stm. Retrieved 2009-10-27. 
  13. ^ "Blackburn 3 - 3 Chelsea". BBC Sport. 2009-12-02. http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/league_cup/8387299.stm. Retrieved 2010-01-02. 
  14. ^ "Aston Villa 3 - 1 Blackburn". BBC Sport. 2010-01-02. http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/fa_cup/8433987.stm. Retrieved 2010-01-02. 
  15. ^ "Neighbours sweep into next stage". UEFA.com. 2006-10-22. http://www.uefa.com/competitions/under19/news/kind=1/newsid=470965.html. Retrieved 2008-05-24. 
  16. ^ "Kalinić ruled out for Croatia". SkySports. 2000-05-05. http://www.skysports.com/story/0,19528,11095_2879650,00.html. Retrieved 2008-07-10. 
  17. ^ "Bilić names squad for EURO assault". euro2008.UEFA.com. 2000-05-05. http://euro2008.uefa.com/news/kind=1/newsid=692102.html#bilic+names+squad+euro+assault. Retrieved 2008-05-24. 
  18. ^ "Croatia beat Moldova in Euro 2008 friendly". AFP. 2008-05-24. http://afp.google.com/article/ALeqM5gT9XSyxoe1Nd1HvsENxohWuWujJA. Retrieved 2008-05-25. 

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