Igor Bišćan (pronounced [îɡor bǐʃtɕan]; born 4 May 1978) is a Croatian former professional footballer and manager who currently manages Rijeka of the Croatian First Football League. In his playing career, he was a versatile player and could play almost every position in the defence or midfield, but featured mostly as a central midfielder, or as a central defender in his latter years.
Bišćan playing for Dinamo Zagreb in 2008.
|Full name||Igor Bišćan|
|Date of birth||4 May 1978|
|Place of birth||Zagreb, SFR Yugoslavia|
|Height||1.90 m (6 ft 3 in)|
|Playing position||Defender, midfielder|
|1995–1996||→ Samobor (loan)||12||(1)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only|
Bišćan played for his hometown club Dinamo Zagreb, English club Liverpool, with whom he won a Champions League winners medal, Greek side Panathinaikos and represented the Croatia national team internationally, debuting in UEFA Euro 2000 qualifying match against Macedonia on 13 June 1999.
At the start of his career, Bišćan began to amass an impressive level of playing experience, representing Croatia at youth football level and then captaining his club, Dinamo Zagreb, in the UEFA Champions League and the UEFA Cup. He was part of what is considered the most successful era of Dinamo in the Prva HNL, winning two consecutive league titles in 1999 and 2000 and participating in two consecutive group stages of Champions League (Group A, 1998–99 and Group D, 1999–2000). During his four seasons in Croatia, Bišćan scored 11 goals in 84 appearances in domestic leagues, which brought attention of foreign clubs to the promising midfielder.
On 8 December 2000, Bišćan contract was bought-out by Liverpool for £5.5 million at the behest of its manager, Gérard Houllier, having been sought by Juventus, Barcelona, Ajax and Milan. His debut came in a Premier League match against Ipswich Town, which Liverpool lost 1–0, with Bišćan coming off the bench to replace Christian Ziege in 71st minute. One week later, he played full 90 minutes against Manchester United at Old Trafford, with Liverpool breaking 3,240 minutes of United's undefeated run at their home ground by defeating them 1–0. He made an impressive start to his Liverpool career, briefly displacing Dietmar Hamann from the starting 11 as the defensive midfielder. He made 21 appearances by the end of the 2000–01 season, 15 of which he started and six of which he came off the substitutes' bench in. He scored his first goal for Liverpool on 14 January 2001, converting in the 18th minute of the 2000–01 League Cup match against Crystal Palace in a 5–0 victory. Unfortunately for Bišćan, he was cup–tied and therefore ineligible to play for Liverpool in their UEFA Cup-winning season.
Although Bišćan was originally signed as a central midfielder, Gérard Houllier felt he was more useful as centre back and often played Bišćan out of his natural position, sometimes even as a winger or full back. Bišćan fell out of favour after his first year at Liverpool, making only 23 appearances in the next two seasons. During this time, he made few starts and spent a total of 37 matches on the bench without being used as a substitute. A major injury crisis of the team in 2003–04 season gave Bišćan a comeback chance, and by the start of the new Premier League season, he had returned into the starting 11, featuring regularly as a centre-back in the absences of Stéphane Henchoz and Jamie Carragher. By the end of the season, Bišćan featured in 39 matches, 30 of which he played the entire 90 minutes. He was sent-off in 36th minute of Liverpool's UEFA Cup second leg match against Marseille, which turned things around for Liverpool as they were eliminated from the competition, after which he struggled to regain his place.
In 2004–05 season, Bišćan returned to a central midfield role and played a vital part in Liverpool's run to the finals of the UEFA Champions League and was notable particularly for his marauding runs from midfield during matches against Bayer Leverkusen, Juventus and Chelsea. He was an unused substitute against Milan in the final, but still received a winner's medal. His last official match for the Reds was on 15 May 2005 in a Premier League clash against Aston Villa. During his last season Bišćan scored two more goals (against Fulham and Bolton Wanderers) and made a total of 35 appearances. Although Bišćan failed to live up to expectations, he is fondly remembered by Liverpool fans after his impressive final year at the club.
Following the termination of his contract with the Reds, on 15 June 2005, Bišćan signed for major Greek club Panathinaikos. During his two years in Athens, he made 36 appearances and scored 3 goals. Unfortunately, Bišćan had a major decline in his game, disappointing both fans and the club owners. On 1 June 2007, Bišćan's contract expired and the club showed no interest in renewing his contract, making him a free agent again.
Return to Dinamo ZagrebEdit
Bišćan spent the next six months resting from football and mostly avoiding the high public interest shown in him. During this time, he was regularly approached by Dinamo Zagreb director Zdravko Mamić, who was interested in bringing Bišćan back to his home club. After months of negotiations, Bišćan finally signed contract on 3 December 2007. Although he was criticized for his lacking performances by the fans, Bišćan rose to become the captain of the club after the departure of Luka Modrić to Tottenham Hotspur. Following his return, Dinamo played for two consecutive seasons in UEFA Cup group stages, also winning two domestic league titles and two Croatian Cup titles.
On 19 April 2011, it was announced by unconfirmed reports that Bišćan has been scheduled for an operation on a joint that could spell the end of his career. Luckily, Bišćan opted to continue playing football and end his career at Dinamo. In April 2012, he terminated his contract with the club.
Bišćan's debut appearance for the Croatia national team came on a UEFA Euro 2000 qualifying match against Macedonia in Skopje on 13 June 1999. He scored his first and only international goal against Mexico on 16 June 1999. He also collected yellow cards on three occasions. Eleven out of fifteen Croatia's matches Bišćan featured in finished in a draw. His last official match was against Scotland on 1 September 2001.
After leaving the national team camp in 2003, Bišćan was suspended by Croatian Football Federation and refused to play for the national team ever since, although he has not yet announced his retirement, leaving chance that he might accept invitation to national team in the future. He also represented Croatia at under–21 level and was capped in the Croatia B team on one occasion.
He started as a manager in the Croatian Second Football League club Rudeš in 2016 as an assistant manager. Soon, he was named as the head coach of Rudeš and won the 2016–17 Croatian Second League. One month later, he signed with Slovenian club Olimpija Ljubljana. In the 2017–18 season, he won the 2017–18 Slovenian PrvaLiga and the 2017–18 Slovenian Cup with Olimpija, but in June 2018 Milan Mandarić, chairman of the club, sacked him.
|Croatia||League||Croatian Cup||League Cup||Europe||Total|
|Dinamo Zagreb||1997–98||Prva HNL||5||0||2||0||–||0||0||7||0|
|England||League||FA Cup||League Cup||Europe||Total|
|Greece||League||Greek Cup||League Cup||Europe||Total|
|Croatia||League||Croatian Cup||League Cup||Europe||Total|
|Dinamo Zagreb||2007–08||Prva HNL||9||0||5||1||–||0||0||14||1|
- 1 Featured in the 2001 FA Charity Shield.
|Croatia national team|
|1.||16 June 1999||Seoul World Cup Stadium, Seoul, South Korea||Mexico||Friendly match|
|Rudeš||7 June 2016||2 June 2017||Druga HNL||33||17||9||7||51.52|
|Olimpija Ljubljana||2 June 2017||5 June 2018||Slovenian PrvaLiga||36||23||11||2||63.89|
|UEFA Europa League||2||0||0||2||0.00|
|Olimpija Ljubljana total||44||28||12||4||63.64|
|Rijeka||9 October 2018||present||Prva HNL||26||16||5||5||61.54|
- Croatian Second League: 1995–96 (West)
- Croatian First League: 1997–98 1998–99, 1999–2000, 2007–08, 2008–09, 2008–09, 2010–11, 2011–12
- Croatian Cup: 1997–98, 2007–08, 2008–09, 2010–11
- Croatian Super Cup: 2010
- "Biscan is a £5.5m 'double risk'". BBC Sport. 8 December 2000. Retrieved 13 April 2008.
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- ZNS Glasnik 13 (2012) Archived 4 March 2016 at the Wayback Machine
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- "Igor Bišćan novi trener HNK Rijeka". www.nk-rijeka.hr (in Croatian). 9 October 2018. Retrieved 9 October 2018.
- Career statistics at Nogometni Magazin Archived 16 December 2009 at the Wayback Machine
- "Career statistics at Dinamo Zagreb's official website".
- "Career statistics at lfchistory.net".
- "Igor Bišćan". National Football Teams. Benjamin Strack-Zimmerman.
- "Igor Bišćan » Club matches". worldfootball.net. Retrieved 7 January 2018.
- "Igor Bišćan - Croatian Football Federation". hns-cff.hr.
- "Igor Bišćan". hrnogomet.com.
- "Football LiveScore - SofaScore". www.sofascore.com.
- "Igor BISCAN - Premiership Appearances & biography. - Liverpool FC". Sporting Heroes.
- LFChistory.net. "Liverpool career stats for Igor Biscan - LFChistory - Stats galore for Liverpool FC!". www.lfchistory.net.