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Velimir Zajec
Personal information
Date of birth February 12, 1956 (1956-02-12) (age 53)
Place of birth    Zagreb, SFR Yugoslavia
Playing position Defensive midfielder
Senior career1
Years Club App (Gls)*
Dinamo Zagreb
238 0(13)
067 0(11)   
National team
1977–1988 Yugoslavia 036 00(1)
Teams managed
Dinamo Zagreb

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

Velimir Zajec (born 12 February 1956) is a former Croatian footballer and manager.

Zajec began his career at Dinamo Zagreb in 1974, aged 18. During 10 years at the club, he helped them to two domestic cup wins, as well as the league title, their first title honour in 24 years. He then transferred to Greek club Panathinaikos, for whom he was tremendously successful, playing over 100 games.

His performances at club level had seen Zajec capped by Yugoslavia, whom he represented 40 times, many as captain.

Following retirement, he spent two years (1989-1991) as Director of Football at former club Dinamo Zagreb before returning to Panathinaikos to run their academy. Before long, he was promoted to head coach of the club. After a period he again, he returned to Zagreb, this time as head coach, before moving once more back to Panathinaikos in 2002 to become Director of Football. In 1998, he led Dinamo in three matches of the UEFA Champions League and remained undefeated with two wins and a draw. Dinamo nevertheless did not manage to advance to the quarter-finals after finishing second in their group (only first-place finisher advanced at the time).

In 2004, he moved to English club Portsmouth to take up a position as executive director. He took over as temporary team manager following the resignation of Harry Redknapp in November 2004 and was confirmed as the new manager on 21 December 2004.[1] Five months later, he reverted to his intended director's role, following the arrival of Alain Perrin. He resigned from his position at Fratton Park on 10 October 2005 due to personal reasons.[2]

He is referred by Panathinaikos fans as "the Rabbit".


  1. ^ Zajec named as Pompey boss, BBC Sport, 21 December, 2004
  2. ^ Zajec resigns from Portsmouth job, BBC Sport, 10 October 2005

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