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Future Stars On The Move

January 26, 2021

Rocco Žiković


A new wave of Croatian footballers are on the horizon. Top-tier clubs are snatching the youngest Prva Liga talents left and right, solidifying the claim that the next generation of Croatian footballers will be the best yet. The Vatreni have always lacked depth, allowing just a few injuries to be problematic during a tournament run. Now that small clubs such as Gorica and Istra are producing their fair share of talent, Croatia should have nothing to worry about in the next decade.



Luka Sučić, one of Croatia’s highest rated talents, recently began getting starts for Red Bull Salzburg’s first team. The 18 year-old wreaked havoc against Bayern Munich in his Champions League debut, nearly scoring and providing a hockey assist against the reigning European champions. His magnificent Youth Champions League campaign caught the eyes of AC Milan and Juventus. AC Milan have become the front runner for Sučić, and have shown more interest in the young midfielder following his first games for Salzburg. Speaking of Salzburg, the Austrian club recently purchased 16 year-old Rocco Žiković from Istra for €2.5M – a club record fee for the Zeleno-Žuti. The young center-back stands at 186 centimeters tall and has two goals in two appearances for the U-17 national team. His story resembles Dominik Oroz – a former Salzburg product now playing for Vitesse. Oroz, 20 years of age, made his Eredivisie debut on January 12th, coming off the bench to seal a 1-0 victory over Utrecht.



HNK Gorica has had a shocking start to the Prva Liga season. Dario Špikić has led Gorica’s front line from the left wing position, and recently scored and assisted twice in his club’s 4-3 defeat against Dinamo Zagreb. The 21 year-old’s breakout season has caught the eyes of Atalanta and Lazio. Špikić’s height and strength suits him perfectly for the Serie A, along with his magnificent goal scoring ability from the wing. Špikić is not the only Gorica attacker expected to leave to the Serie A this winter. Kristijan Lovrić, Gorica’s 25 year-old target man, is expected to sign with Bologna in the coming weeks. Lovrić has 12 goals and 3 assists in 14 starts for Gorica this season.



Dario Špikić is not the only Croatian that Lazio is eyeing down as Domagoj Bradarić has caught the eyes of the Italian giants with his magnificent speed and skill. The left wing-back has been consistent for Lille this season, occasionally providing an assist as the club fights for the league title.



Croatians, as expected, will continue to play for Europe’s top clubs. But the real question is, can they succeed? With the talent that Croatia is producing at the moment, it would only take 25% of the players to find success in order for another great tournament run to take place int he upcoming decade.


Posted By: CroatiaU14 41 comments

  1. Medo says:

    Great article 👍🏼

  2. Zivot says:

    Is there any chance we land Igor Matanović?

  3. I don’t think that it’s likely we land Matanovic unless Germany deems him ‘not good enough’ and he becomes fed up and chooses us. There’s always that chance we do really well in tournaments and Germany doesn’t which motivates him to choose us. Right now he’s playing with the German youth national teams, but he has played for Croatia at U14 level if that means anything. We’ll have to just wait and see I guess. It could be a case of he plays in Germany so he feels like he won’t get chances at club level if he doesn’t play for the German national teams.

  4. Maminjo says:

    A 17 year-old 6’4″ striker who plays for a 2. Bundesliga side.
    How did this kid get under the radar? lol.
    The kid is still growing, and if he is skilled (likely, due to being a Croat), then he may likely end up being a 6’6″ striker with technical ability.
    We’ll have to see. Strikers either have the gift to finish, or they don’t. It’s a tough position to predict, if they’re not flat out scoring goals at every level they play in.

  5. Maminjo says:

    Also, I don’t think Rocco Žiković is a CB.

    I read that he was a CDM.

  6. Maminjo says:

    Oops, just checked Transfermarkt.
    It says CB.

  7. Slavonac from Canada Slavonac from Canada says:

    I didn’t see the Hajduk goal but holy cannoli…Orsic just scored a cracker!

  8. Anonymous says:

    Wouldnt you rather focus your attention on following croatian players, lets say ages 20-25 who are in decent leagues who maybe on the cusp of developing into a good footballer, than follow kids who have done nothing yet accept get pulled in modern football recruiting system?

  9. Slavonac from Canada Slavonac from Canada says:

    BTW for anyone that wants to watch this Hajduk vs Dinamo game, its live on Facebook…just go to the CROTV HD page. Its currently half time

  10. CroatiaU14 says:

    The Hajduk Dinamo game is also on YouTube, go to VelikiHajduk
    @anon everyone here knows about the big 20-25 year old youngsters. The purpose of the article was to put a few new names out there. These guys have potential to be Vatreni starters one day, probably more than 75% of the 20-25 year olds that we chat about on this site
    @Slavonac STOP THE COUNT! Orsic for Balon d or!!!

  11. Pero says:

    The chances of this Igor kid panning out are slim.
    We all love a 6’4” striker thinking they are the second coming of zlatan.
    I had high hopes for 6’4” stipe perica a few years ago but POOF he’s vanished!

  12. CroatiaU14 says:

    Sučić starting AGAIN today

  13. ar says:

    Rijeka win Derby della Ucka, naturally.

  14. ARMADA87 says:

    Rijeka win Derby della Ucka, naturally. Just need Croatia’s Team, Hajduk, to take some points off Dinamo today to keep any chance of a run to 1st open for Rijeka.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Like how come Jeremy Toljan is not considered for our national team? A right back (which n.t lacks in depth) playing in serie a for a good team, plays a respectable amount, but doesnt get any attention?

  16. ARMADA87 says:

    Caktas thinking he’s kicking a 25 yard FG on that free kick….

  17. ARMADA87 says:

    Majer goal, 83rd minute. 3-1 Dinamo. Ok, back to work.

  18. Maminjo says:

    Because Jeremy Toljan isn’t that good.
    He has struggled with every team he’s played with since he left Hoffenheim, and honestly, if you’re struggling at a Scottish league team (like Celtic) then you’re probably not NT material.
    I think he probably would have gotten a shot had he expressed interest in playing for anyone but Germany. But I think he thought he was better than he was, and wasn’t interested in playing for USA or Croatia.
    Now, I’m sure, he would love to play for either one.
    But I wouldn’t bother calling him up.
    Born and raised Croats should get priority. If you’re gonna call up any diaspora half-Croats, then you can make an exception for the cream-of-the-crop ones (like Ibra or Pulisic). But you don’t wanna make these exceptions for a role player caliber guy.

  19. Slavonac from Canada Slavonac from Canada says:

    unfortunate result for Hajduk today, I felt they played well and were unlucky at times. they’re a pretty good team and most likely raised their level of play for this derby. if they could maintain a high level and concentrate well each game, they should easily be a top 2 or top 3 team. the major difference I saw today wasn’t in the overall team play, it seemed to be with a few individuals that really made the difference for Dinamo. they have a few guys that can assert themselves and make that extra effort to score, Hajduk plays well and need a player or two (one striker, one midfield player) who can be the difference makers.

  20. Anonymous says:

    @Nikola Vukmanić

    Thank you Nikola!

    Is there any chance we land Jakov Šuver?

  21. Zivot says:

    That was me above, sorry.

  22. Markus says:

    I watched the Sucic game…. he was very decent, not his best match that’s for sure.

    He took 2 corners and a set piece that he rifled way over the bar, unfortunately it wasn’t even remotely dangerous. His passing was a bit inconsistent, he made most of them but there were a few that were very off target and a lot of back passing. I also found he looked flat-footed and less motivated than he usually does, however I took a very critical approach at watching him today. He is a very talented youngster and I think he will become huge for the NT and this was only one bad match (I’ve seen him play much much better before). Sofascore gave him an overall 6.8/10.

  23. CroatiaU14 says:

    I watched Sučić too. I thought he played decently, he hardly lost the ball. Tracked back on defense and moved the ball up the pitch. Very good from an 18 year-old. Gutted when he missed that chance at the end of his time on the pitch

  24. Markus says:


    Yeah there were definitely some positives and he was the youngest player on the pitch so for this to have been a decent game for him is very good. Saw that chance too, would have been a great way to end the game for him.

  25. Maminjo says:

    If Hajduk hired Bjelica, they would have won today.
    Osijek is doing so well right now. 11W-1L-2D is their record since Bjelica took over. The two draws were on the road against Hajduk and Rijeka. The loss was a road loss at Gorica.
    This guy’s good.

  26. Oluja says:

    Plavi Plavi!

    Who do the Hajduk fans blame for this?

    Mamic? lol

    Always our litle b.itches! )

  27. Poglavnik says:

    Thought that was a picture of a young Perišić

  28. Slavonac from Canada Slavonac from Canada says:

    Yes, Bjelica is very detailed and can identify weaknesses and strengths very well!

  29. Maminjo says:


    Or a younger Adam Driver

  30. @NV,

    Germany doesn’t do well in tournaments??

  31. BEĆAR says:

    I love the enthusiasm and pray that you’re right, but a 25% success rate would translate to World Domination #nothappening

  32. BEĆAR says:

    When will the new site be ready?

  33. Suba says:

    Hahaha looks like Forrest Gump
    Run Forrest run
    Is it zikovic or zivkovic
    Fuck if it’s zivkovic then the Serbs are claim him too saying his family moved to istria during the good ol juga days
    Slavonac are you ok I have never heard you be so complimentary to Hajduk
    You must be in a good mood
    Must have copped some action last night from your missus

  34. ARMADA87 says:

    I think they’re of the mindset already, but Osijek need to be all in on trying to win the HNL this year. Have no doubt that a bigger team from a bigger league will come in and try to scoop up Bjelica.
    Would also be good for the league. Yes, Dinamo is levels above every other team typically, but when you have the traditional 3rd best (Rijeka) and 4th best (Osijek) making charges at the title or winning it (Rijeka a few years back, Osijek potentially this year) that’s great for the league and for our nogomet in general. Dinamo does great things for our football, but I don’t ever want to see them go on another 11 year consecutive title streak where they win the league by 20+ points. Makes the league boring and every halfway decent player just wants to then move to DZG.

  35. BEĆAR says:

    Speaking of the future, we received a favourable draw today for the U21’s 2023 Euro qualifiers.
    Group A: Croatia*, Austria, Norway, Finland, Azerbaijan, Estonia

    Group B: Germany*, Poland, Israel, Hungary*, Latvia, San Marino

    Group C: Spain*, Russia*, Slovakia, Northern Ireland, Lithuania, Malta

    Group D: Portugal*, Greece, Iceland*, Belarus, Cyprus, Liechtenstein

    Group E: Netherlands*, Switzerland*, Bulgaria, Wales, Moldova, Gibraltar

    Group F: Italy*, Sweden, Republic of Ireland, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Luxembourg

    Group G: England*, Czech Republic*, Slovenia*, Albania, Kosovo, Andorra

    Group H: France*, Serbia, Ukraine, North Macedonia, Faroe Islands, Armenia

    Group I: Denmark*, Belgium, Turkey, Scotland, Kazakhstan

  36. Anonymous says:

    Does anyone know what a Lero is?

  37. Pero says:

    Yes …it’s how my Chinese neighbor says hello!

  38. Slavonac from Canada Slavonac from Canada says:

    Suba, if you’ve seen my comments about Hajduk then you’d know I have 1 opinion about their team and a separate one about many of their followers. I am the exact same when it comes to Dinamo and their fanboy org BBB!

    I love the sport and enjoy every aspect of each game, practice and preparation. I give very little value to BBB and Torcida. Especially when they meddle into the clubs business and give demands and cause all sorts of havoc. with that said, I also felt there’s a portion of Hajduk’s fan base that have lost all credibility because they constantly blamed Hajduk’s poor results and club issues on Mamic, Dinamo and the HNS…it just got so tiring to see the non stop blaming while the club itself were horrendous!

    I enjoy watching thye game and discussing the game.

  39. Maminjo says:

    Does Croatiaweek and Simunic read
    This article came out the next day:

  40. BEĆAR says:

    Don’t look now, but Sosa is making a serious claim for the A team. He’s been racking up the assists lately with quality cross delivery. He left early today with a knock, hopefully it isn’t serious. He’s really gaining steam. I hope he keeps it up.

  41. Anonymous says:

    Sosa is not NT material, he plays in a weaker league and today’s assist was against Mainz who are second last in that weaker league.
    No need to keep an eye on him until he leaves the weaker league he plays in now and actually does something worth talking about in a strong league.

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