Selasa, 10 Februari 2009

Davor Suker

Davor Suker

Full name: Davor Suker
Born: 01.01.1968
Born in: Osijek, Croatia
Nationality: Croatia
Height: 183 cm
Weight: 78 kg

Statistic Club Career

07/2001 - 06/2003 ==> TSV 1860 München, Germany
07/2000 - 06/2001 ==> West Ham United, England
07/1999 - 06/2000 ==> Arsenal FC, England
07/1996 - 06/1999 ==> Real Madrid, Spain
07/1991 - 06/1996 ==> Sevilla FC, Spain
07/1989 - 06/1991 ==> Dinamo Zagreb, Croatia
07/1984 - 06/1989 ==> NK Osijek, Croatia

Career in Spain

Suker made his Primera División debut for Sevilla on November 17, 1991, coming off the bench as a last-minute substitute in their 1-1 away draw at RCD Espanyol de Barcelona. In the following match, at home against Real Sociedad, he made his first appearance from the beginning and went on to score a brace to secure his club a 2-2 draw. He finished his first Sevilla season with 6 goals in 22 appearances, but the following season he improved his record to 13 goals in 33 matches. Especially successful for him was Sevilla's first match of the season, away at Albacete Balompié, where scored his first Primera hat-trick and helped his club to drive home a 4-3 victory.

In the 1993-94 season, he turned into one of the best players in the Spanish Primera and became the second-best goal scorer of the league with 24 goals, six less than FC Barcelona's Romário. He made a total of 34 Primera appearances that season and also netted five braces and one hat-trick. After this, he played another two seasons for Sevilla, scoring 33 goals in 64 appearances in the Spanish Primera. Suker also played with Maradona at Sevilla that time (1992-1993).

He went on to move to Real Madrid for the 1996-97 season, in which he repeated the success of scoring 24 goals, only he made 38 appearances that season and was third-best goal scorer of the league, behind FC Barcelona Ronaldo and Real Betis Alfonso Pérez. During the same 1996-97 season, he managed to score three hat-tricks in the Primera and led Real Madrid to winning the league title. The realization of his dream of capturing major trophies continued the following season, when he won the Champions League with Real Madrid, although he only played a couple of stoppage-time minutes in the Final against Juventus. In the Primera, he scored 10 goals in 29 appearances that season. In the 1998-99 season, his role at Real Madrid nevertheless became largely diminished, despite the fact that he performed well at the 1998 World Cup that preceded the season, and he only scored 4 goals in 19 Primera appearances. By the end of the season, he decided to leave the club after three seasons of playing for them.

His decision to leave Real Madrid also marked the end of his eight-season-long career in the Spanish Primera, which ended with a total of 114 goals in 239 appearances.
Ivan Suker, Croatia's Finance Minister (left), and Davor Šuker (right)

Moving to England

For the 1999-2000 season, Suker decided to make a move to the English Premiership and signed with Arsenal. He made his league debut on August 221999 in Arsenal's 2-1 defeat to Manchester United at Highbury, coming on as a substitute for the final 15 minutes. He subsequently played another two matches as a substitute before finally making his first start in Arsenal 3-1 home victory over Aston Villa, where he scored his first two goals in the Premiership. He scored 8 goals, including three braces, in 22 Premiership appearances for Arsenal before moving to West Ham United for the 2000-01 season. With Arsenal, he also played in the 2000 UEFA Cup Final as an extra-time substitute. Arsenal lost the Final to Turkish side Galatasaray on penalties, with Suker missing his.

At West Ham, he never managed to find his place in the first team for a longer period and only made 11 Premiership appearances for the club throughout the season, scoring twice. His career in England ended with the end of that season as he decided to make a move to German side 1860 Munich for the 2001-02 season.

Last two seasons in Germany

At 1860 Munich, Suker did not manage to make his Bundesliga debut until the 15th matchday of the season on December 1, 2001, when he played all 90 minutes in the club's 1-0 home victory over Energie Cottbus. His first goal for the club came in their first match after winter break, a 3-0 home victory over 1. FC Köln, where he scored the third goal with a header. His highlight of the season came on the final matchday in a 4-2 away victory over Borussia Mönchengladbach, where he netted his only brace in the Bundesliga. He finished his first Bundesliga season with a modest record of 4 goals in 14 appearances.

In his last season in 2002-03, he once again only occasionally played for the club and only scored once in 11 Bundesliga appearances throughout the season. He scored his last goal on November 2, 2002 in 1860 Munich's 3-1 home victory over Arminia Bielefeld and the last match of his professional career was on March 16, 2003 in his club's 1-0 home defeat to VfB Stuttgart. In two seasons of playing Bundesliga football, he only scored five goals in 23 appearances. In this two seasons with 1860 Munich, he also made a total of five German Cup appearances in which he managed to score three goals.

International Career

World Cup 2002, Japan/South Korea : Team Croatia
World Cup 1998, France : Team Croatia
World Cup 1990 Italy : Team Yugoslavia
Friendlies 2000 : Team Croatia
EURO 1996 England : Team Croatia

Already in his youth, Suker made 25 international appearances and scored 15 goals for various Yugoslav youth national teams.He was the second best scorer on World Youth Championship in Chile 1987 and Yugoslavia won the title.Yugoslavia also set a new FIFA World Youth Championship scoring record (which still stands today): they banged in an average of 2.44 goals per game, finishing with 22 goals for and 9 against and the best attack was Yugoslavian which scored 17 goals on tournament with Suker domination (6 goals, second scorer of tournament and won an adidas golden shoe award). In 1990, he was named to the Yugoslav national team's 22-man squad for the 1990 World Cup finals in Italy, but did not receive any playing time during the tournament.

On December 22, 1990, he made his debut for then newly founded Croatian national team in their friendly match against Romania. In 1991, he nevertheless also won his only two caps for Yugoslavia (on 27/02/91 against Turkey, and 16/05/91 against Faroe Islands), since Croatia was registered with neither FIFA nor UEFA at the time, and scored his first international goal with the team (against Faroe Islands). In his second match for Croatia, a friendly against Mexico in 1992, he scored a brace in Croatia's 3-0 victory. He then led Croatia to their first major international tournament, the 1996 European Championship, with a then record of 12 goals in 10 matches during the qualifying tournament.

At the final tournament in England, he scored three goals in four matches, including two in the 3-0 group-stage win over defending champions Denmark, where he set the final score with an unforgettable looping shot over Denmark's keeper Peter Schmeichel. It is still remembered as one of the greatest goals in EURO history, which also earned him a place in the EURO 96 Team of the Tournament.

He then went on to help Croatia to qualify for their first World Cup as he scored five goals in nine appearances during the qualifying for the 1998 finals in France. He went on to claim the Golden Boot at the tournament, scoring six goals in seven matches and leading the Croatian team to their sensational third-place finish in the country's very first World Cup appearance since becoming independent. He netted one goal in every match where Croatia scored, also scoring the winning goals in 1-0 victories over Japan in the group stage and Romania in the round of 16 as well as in the 2-1 success against the Netherlands in the third-place play-off. He also brought the team to the doorstep of the Final by scoring the opening goal of the semifinal against France before Lilian Thuram switched the lead with his only two international goals and gave France a 2-1 victory for a place in the Final.

After the 1998 World Cup, Suker continued to play for Croatia in their unsuccessful qualifying campaign for the 2000 European Championship as Croatia just missed out on qualification. Davor was however remembered as he kept Croatia's hopes of qualification alive when he scored a 94th minute winner against Ireland at the Maksimir Stadium in Zagreb. The win ensured Croatia would have a strong chance of qualifying, but would unfortunately miss out due to their final qualifying game, a 2-2 draw at home to his previous teammates of Yugoslavia. He did manage to score a late goal which was later disallowed, and would have sent Croatia through had it been counted. He finished his qualifying campaign that year with four goals in seven matches. He was also part of the Croatian team at the 2002 World Cup finals in South Korea, but only played 63 minutes in their unsuccessful opening match against Mexico, which ended in a 1-0 defeat for Croatia. In the qualifying for the tournament, he only scored once in six matches. After the 2002 World Cup, he retired from international football but went on to be an icon for many children around the world, but mostly in Croatia where he is still seen as a national hero.

Suker won a total of 71 international caps during his professional career, 2 for Yugoslavia and 69 for Croatia, and scored a total of 46 international goals. With 69 international caps, he is currently the sixth most-capped player in the Croatian national team, but his goalscoring record of 45 goals for the team will probably remain unbeaten for decades as it has been since his retirement, since no other player has scored even 20 goals for Croatia (as of June 2008).

His 12 goals during the qualifying campaign for Euro 96 was a record until beaten in 2007 by Northern Ireland's David Healy during qualifying for the 2008 European Championships as the Northern Irish star managed 13 goals.

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