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Aljoša Asanović (born 14 December 1965) is a retired Croatian footballer best known from his performances in the mid-to-late 90s when he played for Derby County and for Croatia during Euro 96 and World Cup 98. He was nicknamed "Vatreni Lakat" (meaning "fiery elbow") for his style of running with elbow pointed out, moving opposing players.

Aljoša Asanović
Aljosa Asanovic 300410.jpg
Asanović in 2010
Personal information
Date of birth (1965-12-14) 14 December 1965 (age 53)
Place of birth Split, SFR Yugoslavia
Height 1.85 m (6 ft 1 in)
Playing position Midfielder
Youth career
Hajduk Split
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1984–1990 Hajduk Split 139 (36)
1990–1991 Metz 35 (13)
1991–1992 Cannes 28 (7)
1992–1994 Montpellier 43 (10)
1994–1996 Hajduk Split 33 (8)
1995–1996Valladolid (loan) 8 (1)
1996–1997 Derby County 38 (5)
1997–1998 Napoli 15 (0)
1998–2000 Panathinaikos 44 (9)
2000–2001 Austria Wien 0 (0)
2001 Sydney United 4 (1)
2002 Hajduk Split 1 (0)
Total 388 (90)
National team
1987–1988 Yugoslavia 3 (0)
1990–2000 Croatia 62 (3)
Teams managed
2006–2012 Croatia (assistant)
2012–2013 Lokomotiv Moscow (assistant)
2015 Dunajská Streda (Technical Director)
2017–2018 Melbourne Knights FC
2018–2019 Al-Ittihad (assistant)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only


Club careerEdit

Early daysEdit

Born in Split, SR Croatia, SFR Yugoslavia, Asanović started his professional career with Hajduk Split in 1984. This was first of the three spells he had with Hajduk, as he came back to play for the club in 1994 and 2001 respectively. In his first spell with Hajduk, he played until the 1990, when he was signed by the French club FC Metz.

French clubsEdit

He spent one season with FC Metz, during which he made total of 35 appearances and scored 13 goals. In the summer of 1991, he moved to another French club, AS Cannes, where he also spent only one season. In the beginning of the 1992/93 season he was signed by his third club in France: Montpellier HSC. He appeared in total of 43 matches and scored 10 goals in the process. He stayed with the club for two seasons, until the summer of 1994.

Hajduk SplitEdit

After four season in France, he was summoned by his native club Hajduk Split in 1994. The club signed Asanović and several other important players such as Igor Štimac, Tonči Gabrić and FC Barcelona youngster Goran Vučević, as they were eager to qualify for 1994–95 UEFA Champions League for the first time since Croatian independence. Asanović scored two goals in 2nd leg of qualifier against KP Legia Warsaw and Hajduk Split qualified for 1994–95 UEFA Champions League. Asanović added another goal in the group stage match against Steaua Bucureşti. Hajduk went on to reach the quarterfinals of 1994–95 UEFA Champions League where they were eliminated by eventual champions AFC Ajax. During 1994-95 season with Hajduk, Asanović won Croatian league and Cup, appearing in 33 domestic league matches and scoring 8 goals.

In the summer of 1995, he was loaned to Spanish La Liga team Real Valladolid.

Derby CountyEdit

In July 1996 Asanović was signed by Premier League club Derby County, where he played alongside his former Hajduk teammate Igor Štimac. He spent one and a half seasons with Derby County and appeared in 38 domestic league matches.

At the start of the 1997–98 season, with the 1998 FIFA World Cup looming in the summer, he was not a regular in the Derby side and decided to leave the club in December 1997 in order to find his form for the summer tournament in France.


In winter of 1997, Asanović changed clubs again. After playing for several clubs in Croatia, France, Spain and England he moved to his 5th different professional football league. This time he moved to Italy, as he signed with S.S.C. Napoli. He established himself in the team quickly and managed to make appearance in 15 Serie A games during his 6 months spell with the club, but failed to score a single goal.


After some impressive performances at 1998 FIFA World Cup, he signed with Panathinaikos F.C. in Greece. In two seasons with Panathinaikos he appeared in 44 league matches, scoring 9 goals.

Late careerEdit

In 2000, he moved to Austria Wien. In 2001, he moved to Australia to sign with National Soccer League side Sydney United 58 FC, a side formed and backed by Croatians in Australia. After a short spell with Sydney United, he returned to his hometown club Hajduk Split and finished his career.

International careerEdit

Asanović was one of the most important players for the Croatian football team during their golden age from 1994 to 1998. He was arguably Croatia's most intelligent player in midfield, yet lacked the complete package of skills possessed by his fellow midfielder Robert Prosinečki. In his national team debut on 17 October 1990, in a 2–1 victory against the USA which also was Croatia's first international since the independence from Yugoslavia, Asanović even netted the first goal.

He participated in the Euro 1996 as well as the 1998 FIFA World Cup, where Croatia won the bronze medal. In semi-final of the world cup, Asanović made the assist to Davor Šuker from the centre of the field with a loop pass, for Croatia to take the lead against the host France.

His last international match was a 28 May 2000 friendly against France. In total he was capped 62 times, scoring 3 goals, thus ranking among the top five Croatian national players.[1] Asanović ended his active career in 2002 while with Hajduk Split, the club in which his career had started almost twenty years earlier.

Management careerEdit

In 2006, he became assistant manager of the Croatia national football team. He held this role from 2006 until 2012, working alongside Slaven Bilić who was the head coach. He departed when Bilić was replaced by Igor Štimac.

After his departure from the national team, Asanović took up another assistant role, this time in Russia, following Slaven Bilić to FC Lokomotiv Moscow. Asanović departed the club at the end of the season.

In 2015, Asanović became the new technical director of DAC Dunajská Streda.

In October 2017, Asanović took up a job in Australia, becoming the head coach of National Premier Leagues Victoria side Melbourne Knights FC.[2]

Personal lifeEdit

His son Antonio, who was born in France while he was playing for Cannes is also a footballer.[3]

Career statisticsEdit

International goalsEdit

Goal Date Venue Opponent Score Result Competition
1 17 October 1990 Maksimir, Zagreb   United States
1 – 0
2 – 1
2–3 8 June 1997 Olympic, Tokyo   Japan
1 – 3
3 – 4
2 – 3



  1. ^ Mamrud, Roberto (24 November 2003). "Aljosa Asanovic - International Appearances". RSSSF. Retrieved 15 October 2009.
  2. ^ "Asanovic and Racunica commit to Knights for 2018". Melbourne Knights FC. Retrieved 7 October 2017.
  3. ^ "Asanović je pred potpisom ugovora za francuskog prvoligaša Valenciennes". Slobodna Dalmacija (in Croatian). 2 November 2012. Retrieved 8 October 2017.
  5. ^ "PREDSJEDNIK TUDJMAN ODLIKOVAO HRVATSKU NOGOMETNU REPREZENTACIJU" (in Croatian). Archived from the original on 8 November 2016.

External linksEdit