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Ivan Hitrec

Apr 13, 1911 - Oct 11, 1946(35)

A series of unfortunate events

The tragic end of one of the greatest Croatian football talents...

Ica's brilliant but too short football career was marked by injuries. The first fatal injury occurred in 1932 when Ico Hitrec played for the Swiss Grasshopper.

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Then he was "cut down" by the Austrian Tadler, and as a result Ico ended up in the hospital, in a plaster cast. The Swiss Grasshoppers lost the championship title in the last round of that season, and Ico was never as powerful as in the days when he was called "cannon legs". In fact, Ico had an incredible shot and speed. He ran a hundred meters in less than 12 seconds, which was a great result, considering how Jesse Owens, the multiple Olympic champion at the time, ran the same distance in 10 seconds and 30 hundredths.

But Ico recovered after those injuries and played again for Sparta. He later returned to his parent club HAŠK, with which he won the championship in 1938.

Another tragedy happened to him when he was returning from Marija Bistrica. Together with his wife Zita, he rode a motorcycle. They fell off the motorbike, but both of them had just peeled off. Ico continued on his motorcycle to the city, where he was hit by a truck in Gajeva Street.

The football world was shaken by his sudden and tragic death... He died in the Merkur hospital from a perforation of a stomach ulcer. For the greatest Croatian football player, koban was such a banal health problem.

Ici suddenly fell ill, so his brother Rudolf, an internist, took him to the hospital. There they were waiting for the surgeon who was supposed to operate on him. He was late for some reason, sepsis set in, and in a series of unfortunate circumstances, the beloved man from Zagreb died at the age of only 35.

In his honor, the Dinamo youth school was named after him, and incredible stories about his matches live on in the history of the favorite Zagreb club.

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