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Dejan Lovren (Croatian pronunciation: [dějan lǒʋren];[4][5] born 5 July 1989) is a Croatian professional footballer who plays as a centre back for Premier League club Liverpool and the Croatia national team.

Dejan Lovren
Dejan Lovren 2018.jpg
Lovren with Croatia at the 2018 FIFA World Cup
Personal information
Full name Dejan Lovren[1]
Date of birth (1989-07-05) 5 July 1989 (age 30)
Place of birth Kraljeva Sutjeska, SFR Yugoslavia[2]
Height 1.88 m (6 ft 2 in)[3]
Playing position Centre back
Club information
Current team
Liverpool
Number 6
Youth career
BSC Sendling
1999–2002 NK Ilovac
2002–2004 NK Karlovac
2004–2006 Dinamo Zagreb
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
2006–2010 Dinamo Zagreb 37 (1)
2006–2008Inter Zaprešić (loan) 50 (1)
2010–2013 Lyon 72 (2)
2013–2014 Southampton 31 (2)
2014– Liverpool 122 (5)
National team
2004–2005 Croatia U17 18 (2)
2006 Croatia U18 2 (0)
2006–2008 Croatia U19 10 (1)
2007–2009 Croatia U20 5 (0)
2007–2010 Croatia U21 19 (3)
2009– Croatia 53 (2)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 08:29, 14 May 2019 (UTC)
‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 21:10, 11 June 2019 (UTC)

Lovren began his career at Dinamo Zagreb before moving to Olympique Lyonnais in January 2010. He spent three-and-a-half seasons with the Ligue 1 team and won the 2012 Coupe de France before he signed for Southampton in 2013. After one season with Southampton, he joined Liverpool for £20 million and has since made over 150 appearances for the club, being part of the squad that won the UEFA Champions League in 2019.

Having previously represented Croatia at various youth levels, he made his senior debut in 2009 and has since gone on to make over 40 appearances for his country. He was selected in Croatia's squads for the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil and the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, the latter of which were beaten finalists against France.

Contents

Early lifeEdit

Lovren was born to Croatian parents in the village of Kraljeva Sutjeska,[2] near the city of Zenica, SFR Yugoslavia (now Bosnia and Herzegovina).[6] His family fled from Yugoslavia to Munich to escape the Bosnian War when Lovren was three years old, and he spent the next seven years in Germany.

His family eventually had to leave as they did not possess necessary documentation to reside in Germany and settled in Karlovac, Croatia, 50 kilometres southwest of the capital city of Zagreb.[7] Lovren initially found settling in Croatia difficult, and struggled in school for a couple of years due to his unfamiliarity with the Croatian language.[7] His younger brother Davor is also a footballer.[8]

Club careerEdit

Dinamo ZagrebEdit

Lovren first played football in Germany with Munich-based BSC Sendling.[9] After moving to Croatia, he played for local teams NK Ilovac and NK Karlovac as a youth before joining GNK Dinamo Zagreb in 2004.

On 10 May 2006, he made his debut for Dinamo in a Croatian First Football League match against NK Varteks Varaždin. On 17 July 2006, Lovren was loaned to NK Inter Zaprešić for two seasons where he made 50 league appearances and scored one goal. Following his return from loan Lovren regularly featured in Dinamo's starting XI, appearing in 38 matches throughout the 2008–09 season and scoring three goals. In the 2009–10 season, he featured in all four of Dinamo's UEFA Champions League qualifiers against Pyunik Yerevan and Red Bull Salzburg, and managed to score a header against Pyunik.[10]

LyonEdit

 
Lovren playing for Lyon in 2010

In January 2010, Lovren signed for French Ligue 1 club Olympique Lyonnais for €8 million plus €1.5 million in incentives on a four-and-a-half-year contract.[11] He made his competitive debut on 24 January 2010 in their 2–1 defeat at AS Monaco in the Coupe de France, playing the full match. His Ligue 1 debut came on 31 January in Lyon's 2–1 win at home against Paris Saint-Germain, once again playing the full 90 minutes. During the second half of the season, he made 10 appearances, mostly as a substitute. He was not allowed to participate in Lyon's matches in the UEFA Champions League that season as he had already played in the competition for Dinamo Zagreb.

Lovren's playing time increased during the 2010–11 season following the departure of two other defenders, Jean-Alain Boumsong and Mathieu Bodmer, in the summer of 2010. During the season, he gradually established himself as a first team regular starter, playing as a centre-back alongside Cris as well as being used as a right or left full-back, demonstrating himself as a versatile defender.[12] In November 2010 Lovren was listed in the Don Balón list of the 100 best young players in the world.[13]

On 23 January 2012, Lovren extended his contract with Lyon for two more seasons, signing with the French club until 2016. He started for Lyon in the 2012 Coupe de France Final, a 1–0 win over Quevilly, but was substituted after 18 minutes for Bakary Koné.

SouthamptonEdit

On 14 June 2013, Lovren signed for Southampton on a four-year contract for an undisclosed fee,[14] which was estimated at £8.5 million.[15] He made his debut on 17 August 2013, in a 1–0 win against West Bromwich Albion.[16] He scored his first goal for Southampton against Liverpool at Anfield on 21 September 2013, a goal which proved to be the winner.[17] On 19 October, he assisted Adam Lallana for the equalising goal against Manchester United in a 1–1 draw at Old Trafford.[18] He added a second league goal in a 2–2 away draw against Sunderland on 18 January 2014,[19] but was stretchered off late in the game and required hospital treatment after the match.[20] On 23 January, it was announced that along with midfielder Gastón Ramírez, Lovren would be out for six-to-eight weeks with ankle ligament damage.[21]

At the conclusion of his first season in the Premier League, Lovren was named in Bloomberg Sports' Power 50 list, which provides statistical rankings of performances from players in Europe's top five leagues.[22] He was the fifth-highest ranked player from the Premier League in 31st position.[23] After much speculation regarding Lovren's future following the departures of Adam Lallana, Luke Shaw and Rickie Lambert from Southampton, the Liverpool Echo reported on 25 July 2014 that Southampton had agreed a fee with Liverpool for the sale of Lovren, who was set to undergo a medical at the Merseyside club after reportedly handing in a transfer request at Southampton.[24]

LiverpoolEdit

 
Lovren playing for Liverpool in 2014

On 27 July 2014, Lovren became the third Southampton player that transfer window to join Liverpool, after Rickie Lambert and Adam Lallana. He signed a four-year deal for a reported fee of £20 million, becoming the most expensive defender in Liverpool's history until Virgil van Dijk joined the club in 2018.[25][26]

On 10 August 2014 he made his debut in a friendly for Liverpool against Borussia Dortmund at Anfield, scoring the second goal in a 4–0 victory,[27] and made his competitive debut on 17 August in the club's opening game of the Premier League season, playing the full 90 minutes in a 2–1 win over former club Southampton at Anfield.[28] He scored his first official goal for Liverpool on 28 October, when he headed in the game-winner from a free-kick in a fourth round League Cup 2–1 victory over Swansea City.[29] However, following his poor performance in a Champions League defeat to Basel, Lovren was dropped from the first team.[30] As the last penalty taker, Lovren put his attempt over the crossbar as Liverpool lost in a penalty shootout to Beşiktaş on 26 February 2015 as they were eliminated from the last 32 of the UEFA Europa League.[31] The Telegraph website included Lovren in a feature about the 2014–15 Premier League's 20 worst signings which remarked on the number of his errors that resulted in opposition goals.[32]

Lovren regained his place in the lineup for the first three games of the 2015–16 season and performed well securing three clean sheets and seven points. However, following a pair of defeats to West Ham United and rivals Manchester United in which the defence conceded six goals, Lovren again lost his place to Mamadou Sakho.[33] On 8 November he came on as a substitute for Sakho in a 2–1 defeat to Crystal Palace at Anfield, with Sakho sustaining a knee injury that ruled him out for two months.[34] On 13 December, in a 2–2 draw against West Bromwich Albion, Lovren was stretchered off the pitch in the 79th minute due to injury and was replaced by Divock Origi.[35] The following 14 April, Lovren scored a stoppage-time winning goal in a 4–3 Europa League quarter-final win over Borussia Dortmund.[36] Having endured a difficult start to his career at Liverpool, by the end of the 2015–16 season under Jürgen Klopp, Lovren was described as having transformed into a "calm and composed" leader on the pitch by the Liverpool Echo.[37]

On 28 April 2017, Lovren extended his contract with Liverpool, until 2021.[38]

 
Lovren (right) playing for Liverpool in 2017

On 17 December 2017, Lovren scored his first goal of the season in a 4–0 win over Bournemouth; a result which saw Liverpool become the first team in Premier League history to win four consecutive away league matches by a margin of at least three goals.[39] After Virgil van Dijk's arrival on 1 January, he and Lovren built a steady partnership at the heart of Liverpool's defence.[40] On 14 January 2018, Lovren captained Liverpool for the first time in a 4–3 win against Manchester City.[41] On 13 May, Lovren scored his second goal of the season in a 4–0 win over Brighton and Hove Albion, which secured Liverpool's qualification for the UEFA Champions League next season.[42]

International careerEdit

 
Lovren with Croatia at the 2018 FIFA World Cup

Lovren has made 54 appearances and scored six goals for various Croatian youth national teams.[43] He received his first call–up to Croatian national team in August 2009 by manager Slaven Bilić, who included the player in his match squad against Belarus. Lovren was an unused substitute, but still was reportedly delighted with the new experience.[44] He made his debut against Qatar on 8 November 2009, coming on as a substitute for Danijel Pranjić.

On 2 September 2011, Lovren scored his first international goal, against Malta in a UEFA Euro 2012 qualifying match. He was included by manager Slaven Bilić in the preliminary 23-man squad for UEFA Euro 2012 but had to withdraw because of injury one week before the tournament.[citation needed] Lovren scored his second goal for Croatia on 26 March 2013 in a 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifying match against Wales at Liberty Stadium in Swansea. It was an equalizer that leveled the match after Gareth Bale had given Wales the lead from a penalty which Lovren conceded. Croatia eventually won the game 1–2.[45][46]

In May 2014, Lovren was named in manager Niko Kovač's provisional 30-man squad for the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil.[47] In the opening match of the tournament, on 12 June against the hosts Brazil in São Paulo, Lovren was judged by the Japanese referee Yuichi Nishimura to have fouled Fred in the 69th minute when the score was 1–1. A controversial penalty was given, which was converted by Neymar and led to Brazil's eventual 3–1 win.[48][49]

Lovren's deteriorating relationship with manager Ante Čačić ultimately resulted in him being left out of Croatia's squad for UEFA Euro 2016.[50]

In May 2018, he was named in Croatia's squad for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.[51] He then featured throughout the competition as Croatia reached the final where they lost to France.[52]

On 11 September, Lovren missed Croatia's debut match in the inaugural edition of UEFA's new tournament Nations League, the team's 6–0 historical defeat to Spain, due to injury.[53][54] He came back a month later for a match against England, that ended up as a goalless draw.[55] On 15 November, he took part in Spain's 3–2 defeat. After the match, Lovren sparked controversy after calling the Spain team "a bunch of pussies" on an Instagram live stream and admitting that he deliberately elbowed Spanish defender Sergio Ramos, whom he had a feud in the media with prior to the match.[56] Three days later, Croatia suffered a 2–1 defeat to England and got relegated from League A to League B of the next edition of the Nations League.[57]

Due to showing disrespect towards the Spanish national team and flag and a deliberate elbowing of Sergio Ramos, on 11 January 2019 UEFA banned Lovren for one international match, a UEFA Euro 2020 qualifying match against Azerbaijan.[58]

Personal lifeEdit

He speaks Croatian, German, English and French.[59][60]

Lovren first became involved in an on and off relationship with Anita Sekulić in 2005, when he was aged 16. The couple went through a crisis during Lovren's life in Lyon, splitting up for a short time, but then reconciled. Soon after, Sekulić got pregnant and the couple married in July 2012. On 28 August of the same year, the couple became parents of a daughter named Elena. In June 2013, the couple married in a church. On 21 June 2015, they became parents of a son, Josip, named after Dejan's paternal grandfather.[61]

In 2013, Lovren founded a fashion brand Russell Brown with his best man Lovro Krčar. Three years after, the brand was shut down due to unknown reasons. Rumours suggest that the reason for the closure was due to a poor relationship between Lovren and Krčar. In May 2018, he founded another brand Rock Filius.[62] On 29 May 2018, Lovren opened a four star hotel Joel in Novalja, near Zrće.[63]

During 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, paparazzi leaked explicit photos of several Croatian internationals taking a "skinny dip" in the pool of a Brazilian hotel. Lovren reportedly suffered the most since almost his entire body was exposed.[64]

In 2016, the public found out about Anita's affair with a forestry worker Dario Torbić, an old friend of hers. Lovren tried and managed to win her back with a make-or-break holiday in June, since he was not chosen for Croatia's Euro 2016 squad.[61][65]

In February 2017, LFC TV released a short documentary Lovren: My Life as a Refugee where the footballer opened up about his experiences, tough life and traumas and asked for more tolerance for refugees saying: "When I see what’s happening today [with refugees] I just remember my thing, my family and how people don’t want you in their country. I understand people want to protect themselves, but people don’t have homes. It’s not their fault; they’re fighting for their lives just to save their kids. They want a secure place for their kids and their futures. I went through all this and I know what some families are going through. Give them a chance, give them a chance. You can see who the good people are and who are not."[66][67]

Career statisticsEdit

ClubEdit

As of match played 4 May 2019[68][69]
Club Season League Cup[a] League Cup[b] Europe Total
Division Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Dinamo Zagreb 2005–06 Croatian First Football League 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 0
2006–07 Croatian First Football League 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2007–08 Croatian First Football League 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2008–09 Croatian First Football League 22 1 8 1 8[c] 1 38 3
2009–10 Croatian First Football League 14 0 4 0 11[d] 1 29 1
Total 37 1 12 1 19 2 68 4
Inter Zaprešić (loan) 2006–07 Croatian Second Football League 21 0 4 0 25 0
2007–08 Croatian Second Football League 29 1 2 0 31 1
Total 50 1 6 0 56 1
Lyon 2009–10 Ligue 1 8 0 1 0 1 0 0 0 10 0
2010–11 Ligue 1 28 0 2 0 1 0 6[e] 1 37 1
2011–12 Ligue 1 18 1 3 0 2 0 8[e] 0 31 1
2012–13 Ligue 1 18 1 0 0 1 0 5[f] 0 24 1
Total 72 2 6 0 5 0 19 1 102 3
Southampton 2013–14[70] Premier League 31 2 0 0 0 0 31 2
Liverpool 2014–15[71] Premier League 26 0 4 0 2 1 6[g] 0 38 1
2015–16[72] Premier League 24 0 1 0 4 0 10[f] 1 39 1
2016–17[73] Premier League 29 2 0 0 3 0 32 2
2017–18[74] Premier League 29 2 0 0 0 0 14[e] 0 43 2
2018–19[75] Premier League 13 1 1 0 1 0 3[e] 0 18 1
Total 121 5 6 0 10 1 33 1 170 7
Career total 311 11 30 1 15 1 71 4 427 17
  1. ^ Appearances in Coupe de France and FA Cup
  2. ^ Appearances in Coupe de la Ligue and EFL Cup
  3. ^ Three appearances in UEFA Champions League, five appearances and one goal in UEFA Cup
  4. ^ Four appearances and one goal in UEFA Champions League, seven appearances in UEFA Europa League
  5. ^ a b c d Appearances in UEFA Champions League
  6. ^ a b Appearances in UEFA Europa League
  7. ^ Four appearances in UEFA Champions League, two appearances in UEFA Europa League

InternationalEdit

As of match played 11 June 2019[76][77]
Appearances and goals by national team and year
National team Year Apps Goals
Croatia 2009 2 0
2010 3 0
2011 8 1
2012 1 0
2013 9 1
2014 7 0
2016 1 0
2017 6 0
2018 13 0
2019 3 0
Total 53 2

International goalsEdit

Scores and results list Croatia's goal tally first.[77]
Goal Date Venue Opponent Score Result Competition
1 2 September 2011 Ta'Qali Stadium, Ta' Qali   Malta 3–1 3–1 UEFA Euro 2012 qualifying
2 26 March 2013 Liberty Stadium, Swansea   Wales 1–1 2–1 2014 FIFA World Cup qualification

HonoursEdit

ReferencesEdit

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External linksEdit