HNK Rijeka

Hrvatski nogometni klub Rijeka (English: Croatian Football Club Rijeka), commonly referred to as HNK Rijeka or simply Rijeka, is a Croatian professional football club from the city of Rijeka.

HNK Rijeka
HNK Rijeka.svg
Full nameHrvatski nogometni klub Rijeka
(Croatian Football Club Rijeka)
Nickname(s)Riječki bijeli (Rijeka's Whites)
Short nameRIJ, RJK
Founded29 July 1946; 75 years ago (1946-07-29)
(as Sportsko Društvo Kvarner/Società Sportiva Quarnero)
GroundStadion Rujevica
Capacity8,279[1]
OwnerDamir Mišković, via Teanna Limited (70%)
City of Rijeka (30%)
PresidentDamir Mišković
Head coachGoran Tomić
LeaguePrva HNL
2020–21Prva HNL, 3rd
WebsiteClub website
Current season

HNK Rijeka compete in Croatia's top division, HT Prva liga, of which they have been members since its foundation in 1992. During the reconstruction of Stadion Kantrida, their traditional home ground has been Stadion Rujevica. Rijeka's traditional home colours are all white.

The club was founded in 1946 as Sportsko Društvo Kvarner / Società Sportiva Quarnero.[2] The club's official name was changed to Nogometni klub Rijeka on 2 July 1954.[3] In the summer of 1995, the club management added the adjective hrvatski (Croatian) to the official name. Rijeka are the third-most successful Croatian football club, having won one Croatian First League title, two Yugoslav Cups, six Croatian Cups, one Croatian Super Cup and the 1977–78 Balkans Cup.

HistoryEdit

1946–1991Edit

During the early period in Yugoslavia, Kvarner had moderate success in various Yugoslav and local club championships. They were relegated at the end of their inaugural season in the Yugoslav First League in 1946–47. Kvarner changed its name to NK Rijeka on 2 July 1954 and returned to the First League in 1958.[3] Rijeka remained in the top tier for 11 consecutive seasons until 1969, when they were once again relegated to the Yugoslav Second League.[3] Despite finishing on top in four (out of five) seasons in the second tier, due to three failed qualifying attempts, the club only gained promotion back to the top tier in 1974. With varying success, Rijeka remained in top tier until the breakup of Yugoslavia in 1991.[3] The club's greatest success during this period involved back-to-back Yugoslav Cup titles in 1978 and 1979. Rijeka were also a Cup runner-up in 1987, when they lost the final after a penalty shoot-out.[4] Rijeka never finished higher than the fourth place in the Yugoslav First League. In 1984, the club came closest to their first championship title, finishing only two points behind Red Star Belgrade. Rijeka were also the best placed Croatian club in the Yugoslav First League in 1965, 1984 and 1987.[5]

Rijeka in the 1. HNLEdit

 
Players and staff celebrating their 2006 Croatian Cup win

Following the breakup of Yugoslavia, in 1992 Rijeka joined the Croatian First Football League in its inaugural season. Rijeka remain one of only four founding member clubs to never have been relegated. In terms of greatest successes in this period, the club won its first-ever league title in 2017, ending Dinamo Zagreb's run of 11 successive titles.[6] Rijeka has also won six Croatian Cups, including back-to-back titles in 2005 and 2006, in 2014, in 2017, which helped them secure the historic Double, and most recently in 2019 and 2020.[7] In the final round of the 1998–99 season, a refereeing error denied Rijeka their first championship title. With one match to play, Rijeka were one point ahead of Croatia Zagreb, needing a home win against Osijek to secure the title. With the match tied at 1–1, in the 89th minute, Rijeka forward Admir Hasančić converted a cross by Barnabás Sztipánovics. However, moments later, assistant referee Krečak raised his flag and referee Šupraha disallowed Rijeka's winning goal for an alleged offside.[8] Following an investigation, 3D analysis revealed Hasančić was not, in fact, in an offside position, and that Rijeka were wrongfully denied their first championship title.[9][10] An investigation by Nacional revealed Franjo Tuđman, the president of the Republic of Croatia and an ardent Croatia Zagreb supporter, earlier in 1999 ordered the country's intelligence agencies to spy on football referees, officials and journalists, with the aim of ensuring the Zagreb club wins the league title.[10]

EuropeEdit

Rijeka participated in UEFA competitions on 21 occasions, including nine consecutive appearances since 2013–14. The greatest success was the quarter-final of the 1979–80 European Cup Winners' Cup, where they lost to Italian giants Juventus 2–0 on aggregate.[11] The most memorable result in Europe was the home win (3–1) against eventual winners Real Madrid in the 1984–85 UEFA Cup.[12] Controversially, in the return leg at Santiago Bernabéu Stadium, which Rijeka lost 3–0, three of their players were sent off. Madrid scored their first goal from a doubtful penalty in the 67th minute with Rijeka already down to ten men. Over the next ten minutes, two additional Rijeka players were sent off, most notably Damir Desnica. While Desnica received the first yellow card because he did not stop play after Schoeters blew his whistle, the second yellow was issued because he allegedly insulted the referee. However, unbeknownst to the referee, Desnica had been a deaf-mute since birth.[5] With Rijeka reduced to eight players, Madrid scored two additional goals, progressed to the next round and eventually won the trophy.

In 2013, after winning 4–3 on aggregate against VfB Stuttgart, Rijeka qualified for the 2013–14 UEFA Europa League group stage.[13][14] Rijeka also participated in the 2014–15 UEFA Europa League group stage, where they defeated Feyenoord and Standard Liège and drew with title-holders and eventual winners Sevilla.[15][16][17] In 2017, Rijeka reached the 2017–18 UEFA Champions League play-off, where they lost 3–1 on aggregate to Greek champions Olympiacos, and automatically qualified for the 2017–18 UEFA Europa League group stage. In the group stage they recorded a famous home win (2–0) against AC Milan but once again failed to progress to the knockout stages.[18]

Private ownershipEdit

In February 2012, Gabriele Volpi – an Italian businessman and the founder of Orlean Invest, as well as the owner of football club Spezia and water polo club Pro Recco – injected much needed capital into the club. With the privatization process complete by September 2013, Volpi, through Dutch-based Stichting Social Sport Foundation, became the owner of 70% of the club, with the City of Rijeka in control of the remaining 30%.[19][20] On 29 December 2017 it was announced that chairman Damir Mišković, through London-based Teanna Limited, acquired the majority stake in the club from Stichting Social Sport Foundation.[21][22]

Record transferEdit

In January 2015, Rijeka sold their star striker Andrej Kramarić to Leicester City for a club-record £9.7 million transfer fee.[23]

StadiumEdit

Until July 2015, Rijeka were based at Stadion Kantrida, their traditional home ground for over 60 years. With Kantrida awaiting demolition and reconstruction, since August 2015, Rijeka have been based at the newly built Stadion Rujevica, an all-seater with the capacity of 8,279. Stadion Rujevica is part of Rijeka's new training centre and serves as the club's temporary home ground. Following the demolition of old Kantrida, a new, state-of-the art, 14,600-capacity all-seater stadium will be built at the same location. In addition to the stadium, the investors are planning to build a commercial complex that will include a shopping mall and a hotel.[24]

SupportEdit

Rijeka's ultras group are called Armada Rijeka, or simply Armada. The group has been active since 1987.

During most home matches, the majority of the seats are occupied by season ticket holders. For the 2017–18 season the club had 5,922 season ticket holders and 8,403 members.

RivalriesEdit

Rijeka's greatest rivalry is with Hajduk Split. Since 1946, the Adriatic derby is contested between the two most popular Croatian football clubs from the Adriatic coast, Rijeka and Hajduk. Other rivalries exist with Dinamo Zagreb, Osijek and, at the regional level, with Istra Pula. The origins of the Rijeka–Pula rivalry date back to the clashes between Fiumana and Grion Pola since the late 1920s.

Kit manufacturers and shirt sponsorsEdit

Period Kit manufacturer Shirt partner
1998–1999 Adidas INA
1999–2002 Kronos
2002–2003 Torpedo
2003–2004 Lero
2004–2005 Legea
2005–2006 INA
2006–2008 Kappa Croatia Osiguranje
2008–2012 Jako
2012–2014 Lotto  –
2014–2016 Jako
2017–2018 Sava Osiguranje
2018– Joma

PlayersEdit

Current squadEdit

As of 28 July 2021[25]

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Pos. Nation Player
1 GK   CRO Nediljko Labrović
2 DF   CRO Filip Braut
4 DF   CRO Nino Galović (captain)
5 DF   CRO Niko Galešić
7 MF   CRO Robert Murić
8 MF   CRO Adrian Liber
9 FW   COL Jorge Obregón
10 MF   CRO Domagoj Pavičić
11 MF   GHA Prince Ampem
12 DF   MNE Andrija Vukčević
13 MF   CRO Ivan Lepinjica
14 DF   MKD Darko Velkovski
15 DF   CRO Anton Krešić (on loan from Atalanta)
16 MF   SVN Adam Gnezda Čerin (on loan from Nürnberg)
17 MF   CRO Matej Vuk
18 FW    SUI Josip Drmić (on loan from Norwich City)
No. Pos. Nation Player
20 MF   CRO Robert Mudražija (on loan from Copenhagen)
22 DF   CRO Roko Jurišić
23 MF   CRO Denis Bušnja
26 DF   POR João Escoval
27 DF   CRO Ivan Tomečak
28 DF   CRO Ivan Smolčić
31 GK   NGA David Nwolokor
32 GK   CRO Andrej Prskalo
33 FW   GHA Abass Issah (on loan from Mainz 05)
36 DF   CRO Hrvoje Smolčić
53 GK   CRO Antonio Frigan
77 FW   BIH Admir Bristrić
80 MF   ALB Bernard Karrica
98 GK   BIH Martin Zlomislić
DF   RUS Mikhail Merkulov
MF   ALB Lindon Selahi

Out on loanEdit

As of 15 July 2021

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Pos. Nation Player
DF   CRO Marko Putnik (at   Orijent 1919)
MF   CRO Veldin Hodža (at   Orijent 1919)
MF   ESP Dani Iglesias (at   Spartak Trnava)
FW   CRO Matija Frigan (at   Orijent 1919)
FW   CRO Tomislav Turčin (at   Dinamo Zagreb II)
FW   CRO Filip Zrilić (at   Orijent 1919)

Youth systemEdit

Club officials and technical staffEdit

Position Staff
President   Damir Mišković
Vice-president   Dean Šćulac
  Zlatan Hreljac
Managing director   Luka Ivančić
Administrative director   Marina Vela
Director of finance   Marina Cesarac Dorčić
Director of communications   Alen Fućak
Director of football   Srećko Juričić
Director of football (assistant)   Robert Palikuća
Academy director   Edo Flego
Club secretary   Milica Alavanja
Press secretary   Sandra Nešić
Power of attorney   Vlatko Vrkić
Head coach   Goran Tomić
Assistant coach   Danko Matrljan
  Vjekoslav Miletić
Team manager   Alen Rivetti
Performance analyst   Rade Ljepojević
Chief scout   Ranko Buketa
Fitness coach   Antonio Cinotti
Goalkeeping coach   Gojko Mrčela
Team doctor   Nataša Bakarčić
  Boban Dangubić
Physiotherapist   Marin Polonijo
  Matija Čargonja
  Matej Lulić
Kit manager   Denis Miškulin

Last updated: 8 June 2021
Source: Club officials

Notable playersEdit

To appear in this section a player must have satisfied all of the following three criteria:

Source: Appearances and Goals. Last updated 11 July 2020.

All-time Best 11Edit

According to a 2005–07 survey of former players (older than 40 years of age) and respected journalists, Marinko Lazzarich found that the best all-time team of Rijeka is as follows:

1. Jantoljak, 2. Milevoj, 3. Hrstić, 4. Radaković, 5. Radin, 6. Juričić, 7. Lukarić, 8. Gračan, 9. Osojnak, 10. Naumović, 11. Desnica.[26]

Rijeka's daily, Novi list, in 2011 declared the following 11 players as Rijeka's best all time team:

1. Jantoljak, 2. Šarić, 3. Radin, 4. Juričić, 5. Hrstić, 6. Loik, 7. Radaković, 8. Mladenović, 9. Naumović, 10. Skoblar, 11. Desnica.[27]

Best 11 (2010–20)Edit

In 2020, the club's fans voted to select the best squad over the past decade to fit in a 4–2–3–1 formation:

PrskaloRistovski, Župarić, Mitrović, ZutaKreilach, MoisésVešović, Andrijašević, SharbiniKramarić. Manager: Kek.[28]

CoachesEdit

Source:[29]

Winning managersEdit

Name Nationality Honours Total
Matjaž Kek
  Slovenia
2013–14 Croatian Cup, 2014 Croatian Super Cup, 2016–17 Croatian First League, 2016–17 Croatian Cup
4
Dragutin Spasojević
  Yugoslavia
1977–78 Yugoslav Cup, 1977–78 Balkans Cup
2
Marijan Brnčić
  Yugoslavia
1978–79 Yugoslav Cup
1
Elvis Scoria
  Croatia
2004–05 Croatian Cup
1
Dragan Skočić
  Croatia
2005–06 Croatian Cup
1
Igor Bišćan
  Croatia
2018–19 Croatian Cup
1
Simon Rožman
  Slovenia
2019–20 Croatian Cup
1

PresidentsEdit

Source:[29]

Seasons, statistics and recordsEdit

HonoursEdit

Rijeka has won one Croatian First Football League title, two Yugoslav Cups and six Croatian Cups. In European competitions, the club has reached the quarter-final of the Cup Winners' Cup in 1979–80, UEFA Cup Round of 32 in 1984–85, and group stages of the UEFA Europa League in 2013–14, 2014–15, 2017–18 and 2020–21. The club has also won the 1977–78 Balkans Cup.[30]

DomesticEdit

Croatia

Yugoslavia

InternationalEdit

Source:,[31] Last updated 31 July 2020.

RankingsEdit

UEFA club coefficient rankingEdit

(As of 1 March 2021), Source:[32]

Rank Team Points
113   Midtjylland 13.500
114   Ferencváros 13.500
115   Rijeka 13.500
116   Apollon Limassol 13.500
117   Nice 13.000

European recordEdit

By competitionEdit

Competition Pld W D L GF GA Last season played
UEFA Champions League 8 2 2 4 10 11 2017–18
UEFA Cup / UEFA Europa League 68 26 17 25 98 86 2020–21
UEFA Europa Conference League 1 1 0 0 2 0 2021–22
UEFA Cup Winners' Cup 10 3 3 4 8 9 1979–80
UEFA Intertoto Cup 4 1 1 2 3 5 2008
Total 91 33 23 35 121 111

Source:,[33] Last updated on 22 July 2021.
Pld = Matches played; W = Matches won; D = Matches drawn; L = Matches lost; GF = Goals for; GA = Goals against. Defunct competitions indicated in italics.

By groundEdit

Ground Pld W D L GF GA GD
Home 45 23 11 11 71 43 +28
Away 46 9 12 25 50 68 −18
Total 91 33 23 35 121 111 +10

Source:,[33] Last updated on 22 July 2021.
Pld = Matches played; W = Matches won; D = Matches drawn; L = Matches lost; GF = Goals for; GA = Goals against.

By seasonEdit

Non-UEFA competitions are listed in italics.

Last updated on 22 July 2021.
Note: List includes matches played in competitions not endorsed by UEFA.
Matches played at neutral ground in Ascoli and Pisa, Italy.

Player recordsEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Stadion HNK Rijeka". Soccerway. Retrieved 11 August 2017.
  2. ^ Lazzarich, Marinko (2014). "Stoljetno iščitavanje povijesti pod stijenama riječkoga sportskog hrama". Problemi sjevernog Jadrana (in Croatian). Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts (13): 47–76. Retrieved 6 August 2016.
  3. ^ a b c d HNK Rijeka. "Povijest" (in Croatian). HNK Rijeka official website. Archived from the original on 15 February 2015. Retrieved 22 February 2015.
  4. ^ Puric, Bojan; Schöggl, Hans; Stokkermans, Karel (8 May 2014). "Yugoslavia/Serbia and Montenegro – Cup Finals". Rec.Sport.Soccer Statistics Foundation. Retrieved 8 May 2014.
  5. ^ a b Vivoda, Vlado (16 July 2014). "HNK Rijeka: The Rise of the Phoenix". Hocuri.com. Retrieved 20 November 2015.
  6. ^ "Rijeka win Croatian league to end Dinamo dominance". Eurosport. 21 May 2017. Retrieved 22 May 2017.
  7. ^ Stokkermans, Karel (26 September 2014). "Croatia – Cup Finals". Rec.Sport.Soccer Statistics Foundation. Retrieved 26 September 2014.
  8. ^ "Rijeka-Osijek 1:1" (in Croatian). HRnogomet.com. 26 May 1999. Retrieved 30 January 2016.
  9. ^ Vidalina, Marko (1 June 2009). "Dokaz! Rijeci 1999. naslov prvaka definitivno ukraden" (in Croatian). 24 sata. Retrieved 30 January 2016.
  10. ^ a b Bajruši, Robert (13 August 2002). "Dokumenti koji otkrivaju kako je Dinamo 1999. ukrao prvenstvo" (in Croatian). Nacional. Retrieved 30 January 2016.
  11. ^ Stokkermans, Karel (9 January 2008). "Cup Winners' Cup 1979–80". Rec.Sport.Soccer Statistics Foundation. Retrieved 9 January 2008.
  12. ^ "Znaš li da je bila bolja od Real Madrida?" (in Croatian). HNK Rijeka. 24 October 2020.
  13. ^ Volarić, Ivan. "Velika noć na Kantridi: Benko, Kvržić i Vargić za povijest" (in Croatian). Novi list. Retrieved 22 August 2013.
  14. ^ Volarić, Ivan; Rivetti, Orlando. "Stuttgart – Rijeka 2:2, bijeli u Europskoj ligi" (in Croatian). Novi list. Retrieved 29 August 2013.
  15. ^ Volarić, Ivan. "Hat trick za povijesnu pobjedu u Europskoj ligi: Kramarić – Feyenoord 3:1" (in Croatian). Novi list. Retrieved 23 October 2014.
  16. ^ Volarić, Ivan. "Blago nama, Moises i Krama: Bijeli u pola sata pomeli Standard" (in Croatian). Novi list. Retrieved 27 November 2014.
  17. ^ Volarić, Ivan. "Peh u sudačkoj nadoknadi: Sevilla u posljednjim sekundama iščupala bod na Kantridi" (in Croatian). Novi list. Retrieved 2 October 2014.
  18. ^ Volarić, Ivan (7 December 2017). "POBJEDA ZA POVIJEST Rijeka skinula još jedan veliki skalp, na Rujevici pao veliki AC Milan (2:0)" (in Croatian). Novi list. Retrieved 8 December 2017.
  19. ^ "Rijeka postala sportsko dioničko društvo: Volpi dao 54 milijuna kuna za 70 posto vlasništva" (in Croatian). Index.hr. 30 September 2013. Retrieved 12 October 2013.
  20. ^ "Ownership". nk-rijeka.hr. Retrieved 20 November 2015.
  21. ^ "HNK Rijeka od petka u vlasništvu Teanna limited" (in Croatian). nk-rijeka.hr. 29 December 2017. Retrieved 30 December 2017.
  22. ^ Rogulj, Daniela (29 December 2017). "Damir Mišković and Teanna Limited New Owner of NK Rijeka". Total Croatia News. Retrieved 30 December 2017.
  23. ^ "Andrej Kramaric set to complete £9.7m move to Leicester from Rijeka". ESPN. 8 January 2015. Retrieved 26 April 2015.
  24. ^ "Stadion Kantrida".
  25. ^ "Momčadi" (in Croatian). HNK Rijeka. Retrieved 1 June 2021.
  26. ^ Lazzarich, Marinko (2008) (in Croatian). Kantrida bijelih snova. Rijeka: Adamić. ISBN 978-953-219-393-0, p. 467.
  27. ^ Cvijanović, Marko (29 August 2011). "Asevi s Kantride: Idealna momčad Rijeke". Novi List (in Croatian). Retrieved 2 March 2012.
  28. ^ "POSLOŽENA MOMČAD DESETLJEĆA Andrej Kramarić predvodi napad najbolje momčadi Rijeke u izboru navijača". Sportcom.hr (in Croatian). 28 April 2020. Retrieved 28 April 2020.
  29. ^ a b "Predsjednici i treneri" (in Croatian). HNK Rijeka. Retrieved 28 May 2020.
  30. ^ Stokkermans, Karel; Ionescu, Romeo (29 July 2010). "Balkan Cup". Rec.Sport.Soccer Statistics Foundation. Retrieved 29 July 2010.
  31. ^ "Croatia - HNK Rijeka - Results, fixtures, squad, statistics, photos, videos and news - Soccerway". int.soccerway.com.
  32. ^ "Club coefficients | UEFA Coefficients". UEFA.com.
  33. ^ a b "Rijeka". uefa.com.
  34. ^ a b "Rijeka profile". UEFA.com. Retrieved 23 August 2017.

External linksEdit