The legendary blue nine
He was an outstanding player who, due to his purger charm, became almost the mascot of Dinamo...
Zlatko Kranjčar, one of the most famous Dinamo players in general, grew up in his native Zagreb. As a boy, he excelled in school. He was very interested in history, and he especially liked to read novels with a historical theme. His favorite authors were August Šenoa and Eugen Kumičić.
It is interesting that this excellent striker of the "Blues" was not named Kranjčar at all. Namely, he was born as a Krajnčar. When he went to pick up his identity card at the age of sixteen, the official entered the wrong last name in his personal documents. He did not notice the mistake, and when he registered in the football player register, he decided to stay in Kranjčar. And he got the nickname "Cico" when he was five years old. Namely, he could not wean himself off the pacifier, so as a joke, he became and remained Cico.
At the age of seven, he watched a football match for the first time. His father was a big football fan, so he took his son to the match between Dinamo and Greek Olympiakos. Then he fell in love with the club for which he soon played. Namely, the older guys from his neighborhood took him to the selection. The coaches immediately thought he was a child prodigy. At that time, he had not even reached the required ten years, but, showing enormous talent and with a little lie about his year of birth, he slipped into the team.
He entered the first team in 1974 when he played with the Blues against Hajduk. The brightest moment of his career was the legendary '82. The exciting match against Železničar was followed by more than fifty thousand fans. Thanks to Cica's goals, the "Blues" won the title of the champion of Yugoslavia, after a long twenty-four years of failure. This match was considered one of the best in history, and Zlatko then proved that he is an outstanding player. Thanks to his fast and dynamic game and his purger charm, he almost became Dinamo's mascot.
After several hundred games played, 98 goals scored for Dinamo and several titles won, in 1983, Cico signed a contract with Vienna Rapid, thereby achieving his first international engagement.
He played twice for the Croatian national team. He played for the first time in the match against the USA in 1990, and the second time against Romania when he also scored a goal. He was the captain of the team in both games and thus entered history as the first captain of the newly created Croatian national team.
After returning to Croatia in 1992, he entered the Higher Coaching School. As a coach, he first led Sisak's Segesta, and joined Dinamo in 1994. He led his team for two seasons, and then he was dismissed because they felt that someone more experienced should be in the position.
In 1998, he returned to the position of Dinamo's coach, and after defeats against Olympiakos and Porto, he was succeeded by his teammate from the legendary '82 team, Velimir Zajec. The 2001/02 season stands out as the peak of Cica's coaching career. when he was coach of Zagreb. Then Zagreb won the Croatian championship for the first time and broke through to the First League, which until then was dominated by Dinamo and Hajduk.
Thanks to this great success, he also became the coach of the national team in the qualifications for the 2006 World Cup. With that title, he took Croatia to Germany.
Then he went to Iran where he managed the Sepahan club. During the championship in 2012, he made a gesture that made him famous as an extremely honest coach.
Namely, Namely, after the ball was thrown out due to an injury to a player, Sepahan's player did not return the ball to the opponent, but rushed towards the home goalkeeper who knocked him down. The referee then marked a penalty kick, and the goalkeeper was sent off in the ensuing commotion.
Kranjčar then got angry because of his player's unsportsmanlike move. He signaled to the penalty taker from the bench to miss. The latter listened to him and just passed the ball to the goalkeeper. Despite the move, Sepahan won. With the club, Cico won the championship, which is why he was declared the best coach in Iran.
In June 2016, he returned to Dinamo for the third time. After losing three games in a row, he resigned and left his favorite club forever.
Zlatko went down in history as an unforgettable coach and one of Dinamo's best players. He won two cups and two championships with the club and led it to the Champions League, becoming the third most trophy-winning coach in the club's history. He received the "Franjo Bučar" award for his sports merits.