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Future Star: Antonio Marin

May 10, 2020




Today’s future star for Croatian soccer: Antonio Marin. Marin is arguably the most talented young Croatian player. The tall winger has a wide variety of skills in his bag and is a great finisher and creator. The 19 year-old plays for Dinamo Zagreb and has made a few appearances for the first team this season; as well as five total appearances for the Croatia U-21 side. His dribbling skills are pristine, and has been given the nickname “Croatian Neymar”. Many big European clubs – such as Manchester City, Chelsea, AC Milan – have attempted to buy him from Dinamo Zagreb already.






Ante Kvartuč
Posted By: Ante Kvartuč 25 comments

  1. Anonymous says:

    I watched him a while ago against Liverpool. He was the only young player in that game I thought might be something special!

  2. Maminjo says:

    We’ll have to wait and see with Marin.

    Football has changed.

    Every player needs to play on both offense AND defense.
    And the best players have BOTH technical AND physical ability.

    We’ve had a lot of technical super talents like Marin, but what will dictate his career is if he has the ability and willingness to run tirelessly and apply pressure on opposing defenders when he’s not dancing up the wing with the ball.

    It’s the reason why guys like Rebić and Brozović have become integral players for us, while somebody more talented than both (in Kramarić) is considered a surplus.

    I’m hoping that Dinamo pressures this kid into focusing on his physical fitness and his defensive fundamentals.

    I’m not interested in gaining another talented pussy player like Halilović or Ćorić.

    Marin easily has ability to become a star player with his skill. Needs to become a complete player.

  3. Slavonac from Canada says:

    Oh yeah, what is going on with Coric?

    I have lost all hope for Halilovic, his attitude and lack of good performances have really set him back. I was curious how he was captain of our younger National Team?

    Coric fell off the map! I remember his ranting and crying on social media about Mamic screwing his playing time and forcing him to sign a contract and now where the hell is he?

  4. Slavonac from Canada says:

    If the soccer Gods are kind, we will hopefully one day see a confident and explosive Pjaca again. I really did enjoy watching him play. The guy definitely has a lot to learn but he also had some very nice talent that made him an interesting player. He has great skills, amazing balance, his explosiveness was beautiful to watch and he could dribble very well at high speeds, which is not that easy to do. I know his injuries have set him back but he still does have a chance to get close to where he was.

  5. Maminjo says:


    Coric and Halilovic are just bouncing around from team to team. Just like Ivano Balic.

    These guys are all to physically weak and lack the endurance to be effective nowadays. Yes, they have excellent talent with the ball, but are too easily taken out of the play with a tiny bit of physicality.

    Unfortunately for them, the days when players their size could simply flop at every moment they lose the ball (and get an automatic foul) are gone.

    People confuse players like this as “the next Modric” simply because they kinda look like him.

    Luka Modric is technically very gifted and “small”, but he is the opposite of physically weak.
    He’s “small” like Wolverine from the X-men is small.
    Modric is incredibly strong, and has bigger calves than any player in football (google this if you wanna see a freakshow)
    He’s a tireless runner, and cannot be pushed off the ball.

    Guys like Coric or Halilovic simply cannot play like Modric. It doesn’t matter how skilled they are in dribbling. It’s only one element of Luka Modric. They are flops and won’t succeed until they ‘man up’ and play like men (which I dobut they ever will).

    This is why Rebic is so good, and why Pjaca was looking like a superstar (he was Rebic, but with better finishing & technical ability). I hope that Pjaca can come back, but he’s had too many injuries to be hopeful. He may have lost that explosiveness, and it definitely messes with you mentally too.

    The good news for Antonio Marin is that he is 6-feet tall and 170lbs (which is pretty good size for a footballer).
    He will probably look like Perisic physically, so he won’t be some runt like Halilovic.

    He likely doesn’t get easily neutralized when venturing into the opposing box and (hopefully) isn’t afraid to mix it up physically (but I gotta see more of this kid).

    I only see the numerous highlights of him on offense (which is very impressive, especially his free kicks)…but I really want to watch a few games of his to see what he does when he DOESN’T have the ball.

    Does he walk around and do nothing on defense?
    Does he get gassed easily, and disappears for long periods?
    Is he easily neutralized when targeted physically?

    He needs to be called up (as an end of the bench non-playing member) and hang out with players like Rebic and Vlasic. I like seeing when young players are surrounded by good influences.

    Not sure if he’s getting that as much at Dinamo, but guys like Perisic, Modric, Rebic, etc would be very positive exposure.

    Hopefully they save like 2-3 nonplaying roster spots for the Euros and World Cup and put players like him and Nikola Moro to practice with the team and learn.

  6. Maminjo says:

    @Miloš Hvar

    Really? To Dortmund?

    Even though Dortmund is great for player development…
    I’d prefer he just stay at Dinamo for the next year or two.

    The WORST thing that could happen is us going into yet another tournament with an out-of-form goalkeeper.

    We’ve had poor goalkeeping for most of our tournaments, and even though Livakovic isn’t really some worldbeater, he’s at least a young in-form keeper who is gaining more and more experience as the years pass.

    It would be terrible if he transferred to another club, only to end up on the bench and then we go into the Euros next year without a keeper who plays regular football.

  7. Slavonac from Canada says:

    Maminjo, although I somewhat agree with your assessment of Coric and Halilovic, I’m not sure I’d agree they suffer because of their “size” but more so because of their abilities or lack thereof.

    We can debate this over and over. Soo many Spanish players, Italian, South American players, even other European players that are not physically big are incredibly effective. The difference is in their “will” to compete. Modric’s calves aren’t what make his strong, its his preparedness when he goes into a tackle or when he’s holding off his opponents. He played in a very very tough league when he was at Zrinjski where those guys would break your leg without a second thought. I think getting to that next level has more to do with being mentally ready and physically not shying away that it does with physical stature in most cases.

    Anyone that can get to their level should be able to hold off an opponent, win tackles and be a fighter, the question is how much are they willing to sacrifice?

  8. Maminjo says:

    Yea, I know.

    The fact that Andrija Balic could not play more that 60 minutes a game when he was at Hajduk (due to his fitness) was unacceptable, especially since he was young and should easily be running all game.

    This pointed to the fact that he didn’t have the discipline or devotion to taking those next steps to improve his endurance.

    Halilovic has a size disadvantage.
    Guys like this need to prepare even more than physically stronger players. He can’t go into games, just playing his game, then flop the moment someone bodies him.

    The second issue (lack of preparation) is bigger than the first issue (small size).

    I think these guys just refuse to evolve as players.

    Things were great when everyone was in their youth teams and players were all a bunch of small 15 year old kids.

    But now it’s time to play with unskilled 30 year old dudes who are paid money to stop you.

    When I look at Halilovic and Coric, I get this sense of entitlement from them. Like they are owed something, and should be just granted minutes from their coach and granted fouls from the ref. The way they carry themselves on the field and the comments they make suggest this.

    They want to continue to play their game, the same way they did when they were youth stars, but it’s a different environment now.

    You’re not the star player, you’re not going to get automatic playing time because you’re a youth star, and you’re not going to get calls for someone slightly pushing you.

  9. Slavonac from Canada says:

    YES…100% BANG ON!

    If they had more fight or ‘muda”, they’d be far better but both those guys are definitely “entitled” as you mentioned!

    In many cases we will find the smaller and light weight players, like Modric, Tevez (5’6″), Sergio Aguero (5’6″), David Silva (5’7″), Xavi (5’5″), Messi, Baggio…..we can go on and on about these guys and several thousands of others. The difference is the “will” these guys bring to the game vs that of the typical prima donna!

  10. Maminjo says:

    I get some of this from Kramaric too.

    He seems like a good guy, but he’s just selfish and refuses to change his game for the betterment of the team.

    I was surprised to see him on the bench at the World Cup, after scoring those goals against Ukraine and Greece to get us through to the World Cup in the first place…but it makes sense.

    Despite being our most lethal finisher (this is without question) he still doesn’t get a guaranteed place in our starting lineup.

    A part of me wonders if this has anything to do with a privileged upbringing.

    Kramaric’s family has money. They’re not poor, and that’s why it was easy for them to tell Mamic to eff off.

    Halilovic is also a privileged youth player who’s dad was Dinamo’s youth team coach.

    I don’t know much about Coric, but this kid is a Hercegovac living in Zagreb. Those kids are usually the most privileged, lol.

    Part of me wonders if this causes a bit of that mentality they have.

    When I see players like Modric (who’s family was affected by the war) and Perisic (who’s dad is a brokeass deadbeat) succeed the way they do, it makes me wonder.

  11. Slavonac from Canada says:

    Yes I agree with that!

    You describe Krama the way I see him as well. The only reason he isn’t a full-on starter is because he isn’t a team player BUT, he scores goals even by being very selfish! I can’t imagine players enjoying playing with him though and thats another problem.

  12. crnkovic says:

    i like the look of marin. reminds me of kaka. I watched him a couple of times for dinamo and he was pretty anonymous, coudn;t get into the game, couldn’t effect the game. nice touches but not great game sense or work rate. so ive learnt my lesson from halilovic and coric and im not getting carried away just yet

  13. BZ says:

    Regarding Halilovic:

    I think his lack of size doesn’t fit our PROVEN winning formula (Big, motivated forwards who are talented AND press)

    I think at best he can be a Samuel Castillejo, which is probably not good enough to start for us, even after Perisic and Rebic are gone. He would be probably be good enough to come off the bench in games we are trailing.

    Halilovic got a raw deal at the u21 euros. He should not have been benched.

    Halilovic was on a roll at his new club, then the Chinese flu hit. Kid cannot catch a break, but in the grand scheme of things, he should just be happy he has his health.

  14. BZ says:


    No offense, I despise the term “privileged.” Way too subjective.

    It is a term being used to bring down smart, successful members of society, including many Croatian diaspora. My cousin recently lost his job, basically because a group of losers called him “privileged.” Imagine that, somebody who survived the war, being called “privileged” because he worked his ass off to achieve greatness.

    Sorry for the rant, but I just can’t hop on board the “privileged” bandwagon.

  15. Maminjo says:

    When I say privileged, I actually use it appropriately.

    I don’t base it off of skin color or sex.

    I use it in cases where kids don’t have to have their grandparents shot in front of them (like Modrić) or have to move to another country as a teenager to pay their dad’s debts (like Perišić).

    I get what you’re saying though. Too many spoiled kids in America attacking each other with this term even though they’re all privileged for living in the States, being able to work if they want to, and never having to worry about stepping on a land mine.

  16. Soul Champ says:

    @ Svima

    I feel privileged to be connected to this crew as I always enjoy posting conversation.

    This one is particularly accessing a level of group genius.

    For me elite athletic excellence is delicate combination of all the factors well articulated throughout this thread above.

    The embodiment of a champion is deeper than physical gifts but genetics play a role to an extent.

    Maradona/Aguero/Messi/Tevez all have that Argentina ghetto/hood street in them .. but also have powerful legs that make their height irrelevant.

    Yes Modrić has been through war and battle on and off the pitch but is lower leg power is a gift that sets him apart.

    It seems that Dinamo has created its own set of “privilege,” by being so dominate in youth academy.

    The kid who is playing with an elite crew with all the best players and receiving all the early success develops a complex of how good he is as opposed to our good he can become.

    Excellence is way of life.

    Modrić being cut from Hajduk may of been the toughest step in his whole career.

    You are from Zadar and you get cut from Hajduk off a two week trial as a young teenager, that is ego shattering.

    You got to dig deep inside you to respond to that.

    Jordan cut as a 10th grader.
    Brady not recruited but anyone in HS.
    Lewondoski cut at 17 from legia Warsaw.

    These dudes are all the greatest ever in:

    American throw ball
    Polish football

    Entitlement seems to thwart excellence.

    Seems all these young nogometaši who flop suffer from entitlement weak fragile egos.

    Plus it seems that their genetics get exposed as well.

    Emotionally no fight to train beyond the box to maximize limited genetics is the recipe for BUST!

    @ Slavonac

    I pray Pjaca can make it back.

    As he had that combination of agility and explosive speed that seemed to shift the field like no other for us.

    @ Estonia “friendly” lumpy pitch!!


  17. Maminjo says:

    Pjaca is already 25 and plays for a mid-table Belgian team.

    He doesn’t even start for them.

    Always nice to hope for the best, but this is pretty bad.

    Rebic was left for dead after his career took at dive in his early 20s, but he never had multiple knee injuries and he was already bouncing back at the age of 23.

    We need to focus on our other younger wingers anyway like Brekalo.

    Brekalo’s development is much more tied to any future success for the National Team than Pjaca.

    Brekalo, Rebic and hopefully this Marin kid will become our wingers after Perisic retires.

    Pjaca is a nice to have, but I can’t see him surpassing the talents we currently have on the wing.

  18. Poglavnik says:

    Watching the Last Dance and seeing Kukoc and Divac going up for a tip in ’98. Wonder how bad their blood was in that series? Dont think they mentioned it in Once Were Brothers.

  19. Soul Champ says:

    @ Maminjo

    Pjaca is just getting off rehabbing his second knee operation.

    He looked pretty good for that Belgian team.

    My rule is never write off a nogometaš till he is 28.

    Prso was fixing cars in Zadar before he came back from knee issues.

    Pjaca may develop better timing like Olić did after knee injury.

    Russell Westbrook came back as explosive as ever after two knee surgeries and he is an all star NBA point guard.

    I like what I saw from Pjaca last time he played for Anderlicht.

    He also turned 25 just last week.

    He is owed a chance considering HNS set him up for injury at BS Estonia friendly.

    He has full season to show where he is at.

  20. CroatianPerson85 says:

    @ Poglavnik from what I understand Kukoc is not the most well liked Cro bball player at least in North America when it comes to what Croat level you are lol I’m sure it’s different in Croatia. He has a more quiet demeanor.

    For any Chicago Croats – this may be a rumor. A family friend who has relatives in Chicago told him he’s been invited to Cro events in Chicago and has never showed up. I know at the tourney here in Toronto in either 94 or 95 people were rubbed the wrong way by him. It could be more to do with the fact that he is to himself and apparently was still on OK terms with Divac. Meanwhile Petrovic (half Serb or Crnogorac I’ve even heard) took a stand.

    I don’t know, these are just things that people say, no idea how true any of this is. Has anyone else heard anything?

    Also, I think sometimes diaspora expect our players to be ultra nationalistic when really some guys either aren’t or just don’t want to jeopardize their career. Thoughts?

  21. Poglavnik says:

    Kukoc gets a pass from me. He earned his right to come to the States and make a good living and not have answer to anyone. I wouldnt want to show up to most of those Cro events either if I was him and if I did it would be unannounced. And of course Hrvati are gonna talk shit. He could give away 90% of his cheques and go to every event and theyd still have something negative to say. He seems like a nice and mellow dude. Probably values his privacy more than a lot of attention seeking athletes.

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