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Stjepan Lamza

Jan 23, 1940 - Jan 12, 2022(82)

Ten for ten

- We will punish Stef, but he has to play. - said Zebec. The spectacular career of the blue ten was sealed by an accident.

Stjepan Lamza was a legend of Croatian football, and Maksimir remembers him for his incredible talent and skill on the field. He was born in Sisak, and his first club was Segesta from Sisak. He soon moved to Maribor where he played for the Slovenian club Branik Maribor.

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- As a boy, I liked to guard the better players, offensive players who showed talent and a tendency to score goals. I had the pleasure of clinging to a little 'Bobek' or 'Mitić' and then not letting him come to the fore - said Lamza about his beginnings. He was soon noticed by the scouts of the biggest club in Zagreb.

Stjepan came to Dinamo Zagreb in 1960. His talent flourished with the Blues, and soon he became the "Maradona" of Dynamo's fields. As journalist Tomislav Židak wrote, Lamza was a great desire of Red Star in his young days, and the leaders of Dinamo allegedly hid him around Zagreb so that the Belgrade club would not kidnap him.

During the seven years he spent in Dinamo, he delighted the fans with his football skills, dribbling "rarely seen" and goals that earned him the epithet "shooter-king". He played several positions, and over the years his unique dribbling, explosive start and sense of combinatorics made him one of the best players in the club.

The legendary match against Eintracht is most often mentioned as his greatest success. It was in the semi-finals of the Fair Cities Cup in 1967. For many fans of the club, this match is still one of the best performances by a local football player in Maksimir.

The excellent 4:0 for the home team was overshadowed by the accident that happened to Dinamo's star. Namely, during the celebration in the Rebak Štef villa, he had an accident. At that time, together with his coach Zebec, he was known as a bohemian, a man who liked good matches and liked to water well. Because of this, Zebec often wrote him punishments, but he also said: - We will punish Štef, but he has to play. –

That day, after a spectacular victory and a party with the boys, he got up quite early because he couldn't sleep. He went to the bar where, out of boredom, he drank a liter of rum. His teammates and his physiotherapist told him to sleep in his room. Someone then locked it.

When he got up, he pounded on the door to be let out. Since no one heard him, he went out on the balcony and shouted. Then he leaned on a rotten part of the balcony fence, the balcony gave way, and the famous football player fell from a height of five meters.

Later, an employee sitting under the balcony told him that he was lucky that he fell on her desk and not immediately on the hard concrete. This is how "only" his balance center was damaged, from which he never recovered. Nevertheless, he made peace with his fate and later said that his friends often teased him: - Štef, you're sitting too close to the balcony again! –

He later played briefly in Rijeka, Zagreb and French Chateauroux, while he ended his career in 1972 in Croatia from Melbourne. He made seven appearances for the national team of his former country.

However, he remained with Dinamo until the end of his life. He was a coach at the Zagreb football school, and he once said that he couldn't wait for his favorite club to qualify for the European spring so that the golden generation of 67 could finally be left alone!

He summed up his love for his profession and club in one sentence: - I loved Dinamo and I loved playing. –

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