Miroslav Blažević

Miroslav "Ćiro" Blažević (Croatian pronunciation: [mîroslaʋ tɕǐːro blǎːʒeʋitɕ] (About this soundlisten);[1][2][3] born 10 February 1935) is a Bosnian and Croatian former professional football manager and player. His professional playing career spanned from 1954 to 1966, during which he played for Dinamo Zagreb, Lokomotiva Zagreb, FK Sarajevo, HNK Rijeka and Swiss clubs FC Sion and FC Moutier.

Miroslav Blažević
CirBlaz face.JPG
Blažević managing Bosnia and Herzegovina in 2009
Personal information
Full name Miroslav Blažević
Date of birth (1935-02-10) 10 February 1935 (age 85)
Place of birth Travnik, Kingdom of Yugoslavia
Playing position(s) Right winger
Youth career
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1954–1955 Dinamo Zagreb 0 (0)
1955–1957 Lokomotiva Zagreb 4 (0)
1957–1959 Sarajevo 14 (0)
1959–1963 Rijeka 48 (4)
1963–1965 Sion
1965–1966 Moutier
Teams managed
1968–1971 Vevey
1971–1976 Sion
1976 Switzerland
1976–1979 Lausanne-Sport
1979–1980 Rijeka
1980–1983 Dinamo Zagreb
1983–1985 Grasshopper
1985 Prishtina
1986–1988 Dinamo Zagreb
1988–1991 Nantes
1991–1992 PAOK
1992–1994 Croatia Zagreb
1994–2000 Croatia
2001 Iran
2002 Osijek
2002–2003 Dinamo Zagreb
2003 Mura
2003–2005 Varteks
2005 Hajduk Split
2005–2006 Neuchâtel Xamax
2006–2008 Zagreb
2008–2009 Bosnia and Herzegovina
2009–2010 Shanghai Shenhua
2010–2011 China U-23
2011–2012 Mes Kerman
2012–2013 Zagreb
2014 Sloboda Tuzla
2014 Zadar
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

As a manager, his most successful period was with the Croatia national team, which he led to the quarter-finals in the 1996 European Championship and won third place at the 1998 FIFA World Cup. He also managed the following national teams: Switzerland, Iran, Bosnia and Herzegovina and China Olympic. Blažević also had successful spells at FC Vevey, FC Sion, FC Lausanne-Sport, HNK Rijeka, GNK Dinamo Zagreb, Grasshopper Zürich, FC Prishtina, NK Osijek, NK Varteks, NK Zagreb, Shanghai Shenhua and FK Sloboda Tuzla.

From 29 March 1993 to 23 February 1995 he was president of Dinamo Zagreb.[4]

Parallel to his coaching, Blažević also maintains an off-and-on political career in Croatia where he is known as "Trener svih trenera" (the "Coach of all coaches").

Early lifeEdit

Blažević was born to a Bosnian Croat family in Travnik, Kingdom of Yugoslavia, present day Bosnia and Herzegovina on 10 February 1935. In his teens he trained skiing.[5][6]

Playing careerEdit

He began his youth career in local team NK Travnik, after which he moved to Zagreb and joined Dinamo Zagreb. His career as a player was, by his own admission, average; therefore, he began his coaching career at a relatively early age. As a player, he played for Dinamo Zagreb, Lokomotiva Zagreb, Rijeka, Sarajevo, and Sion. He ended his career at Moutier in 1966 after gaining promotion to LNA.[7]

Managerial careerEdit

Coaching in SwitzerlandEdit

He started as a coach where he ended his playing days in Switzerland. He first led FC Vevey (1968–71)[8] then his former team FC Sion (1971–76), FC Lausanne-Sport (1976–79) and finally Switzerland's national team (as interim coach for two games in 1976).[9] With Sion he won the Swiss Cup with club as a player and as manager in 1974.

NK RijekaEdit

Blažević returned to Yugoslavia in 1979 to coach Rijeka. After finishing 10th with Rijeka in the 1979–80 season, although not a very good league season the club got to the quarter-finals of 1979–80 European Cup Winners' Cup where they lost to Juventus. NK Rijeka's best European placement. Blažević also lost the 1979–80 Balkans Cup final to Studențesc București.[10]

Success with DinamoEdit

Blažević took over Dinamo Zagreb on 11 December 1980, one of Yugoslavia's big four clubs (the other three being Hajduk Split, Red Star Belgrade and Partizan) in 1980. After a mediocre first season, in which Dinamo finished 5th, Ćiro became an instant club legend in the 1981–82, winning the first Yugoslav league title for the Zagreb outfit after a 24-year drought.

Next year, Dinamo won the Yugoslav Cup and led a long battle with Partizan and Hajduk in the league. Partizan became 1983 champions and Blažević left Dinamo for the first time.

Grasshopper and PrishtinaEdit

Blažević went back to Switzerland, winning the Swiss Championship with Grasshopper-Club Zurich in 1984. He advanced to the second round of 1984–85 European Cup where he lost to Juventus. After a less than expected second season Blažević left Grasshopper mid-season.

In 1985, Ćiro was once again in Yugoslavia, this time as manager of Kosovo's KF Prishtina. Under Ćiro's command Prishtina achieved First Division status. To this day he is noted as a club legend[11]

Second stint at Dinamo, Nantes and PAOKEdit

In the same year he became Dinamo Zagreb's coach for second time; during this period he failed to accomplish any significant results and therefore left again in 1988. His next team was FC Nantes of France; Ćiro was there until 1990. After Nantes he spent a season in Greek club PAOK FC.[12]

Croatia tenureEdit

In the 1990s, with Croatia gaining independence, Ćiro joined the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) and became President Tuđman's admirer and close friend. For the third time he became Dinamo (then named NK Croatia Zagreb) coach and president at the same time. Ćiro won the 1993 Croatian Championship and 1994 Croatian Cup, but then left his favorite club once more, citing his reasons for doing so as needing to focus on managing the Croatian national team.

Ćiro was national team manager from 1994 on a part-time basis, but only a year later it became a full-time job as Croatia faced its first qualifying cycle for the European Championship. Croatia won the first place in qualifying group, sensationally ahead of Italy and directly entered Euro 96 in England. Blažević was about to gain some worldwide fame.

From January to June 1996 Blažević took up a position as an advisor at HNK Rijeka to help newly appointed coach Nenad Gračan save his former club from relegation.[13]

Croatia passed group stage with wins against Turkey and current European champions Denmark and loss to Portugal, to face Germany in quarter-finals. Germany won 2–1 and went on to win the event, but Ćiro and Croatians claimed that the Swedish referee Leif Sundell was somewhat biased towards the Germans.

However, greatest things lay ahead, as Croatia was trying to qualify to the 1998 FIFA World Cup in France. They won second place in the qualifying group behind Denmark and ousted Ukraine in a play-off for the tournament.

The Croatian squad of 1998 was full of accomplished players who played for top European clubs, including the likes of Zvonimir Boban, Davor Šuker and Slaven Bilić, and they were well led by Blažević. In France they created one of the greatest all-time World Cup sensations by winning the third place play-off. In the group stage, Croatia eliminated Japan and Jamaica, suffering a non-significant loss to Argentina in the final game. In the knockout stages they passed by Romania, winning 1–0 from a penalty kick. This prepared them for a quarter-final against Germany. Ćiro and the Croatians got their revenge with a shocking 3–0 win that stunned the world. However, Croatia were stopped by the hosts France in semis; a somewhat undeserved 2–1 defeat to the eventual champions. Blažević made a critical coaching decision in that semi-final as he failed to insert his most talented player Robert Prosinečki when the game was in the balance at 1–1. Instead he opted for Silvio Marić to replace the injured Boban after halftime and Croatia eventually lost the game 2–1. In the third-place match, Prosinečki started and immediately made his presence felt by scoring the first goal and delivering a wonderful defence splitting pass which resulted in Croatia's second goal. Croatia won against the Netherlands 2–1 to claim the bronze. Just like in 1982, Ćiro was again the national hero and number one.

The rest of his stint as Croatian manager was not so successful. Croatia failed to qualify for Euro 2000, after finishing a disappointing third in a qualifying group behind FR Yugoslavia and Ireland. Ćiro retained his position and began to build a new team, filled with younger players for the 2002 FIFA World Cup. However, after Croatia opened the qualifiers with two draws, he was forced to resign in autumn 2000.

Iran tenure and return to CroatiaEdit

Well known throughout the football world for his 1998 World Cup sensation, Ćiro accepted an offer to lead the Iranian national team midway through the 2002 World Cup qualification process. Coming in ahead of the final qualifying round, he quickly developed a following among many of the Iranian fans. Ćiro kept the 3–5–2 formation that Iran had played with previously in the 96 Asian Cup, in which Iranian national team had won third place. He also introduced new players to Team Melli such as Rahman Rezaei, Javad Nekounam, and Ebrahim Mirzapour. Known as loudmouth and showman, Blažević stayed true to form by claiming he would hang himself from the goalposts if Iran failed to beat Ireland in the deciding qualification playoff for the 2002 World Cup.[14] Ireland won 2–1 on aggregate, the defeat that marked the end of Blažević's time in Iran as his assistant Branko Ivanković took over.

Ćiro then came back in Croatia, first saving NK Osijek from relegation and then again in Dinamo. In his fourth term as Dinamo coach, Blažević won the Croatian Championship in 2003, but left again same year after clashing with his long-time friend, Dinamo's vice president Zdravko Mamić.

Ćiro then led Slovenian NK Mura for few months before becoming the coach of Croatian side NK Varteks, a post he held until 31 May 2005.[15] While at Varteks Zlatko Dalić was his assistant coach.[16]

Short stint at HajdukEdit

Ćiro controversially announced that he was going to coach Hajduk Split in 2005–06, having expressed his desire to coach the southern Croatian side for decades; many fans were sceptical due to his association with Hajduk's arch-rival Dinamo. Not surprisingly, his arrival caused a great deal of controversy; Hajduk fans had differing opinions, with a significant number seeing Ćiro as a miracle worker that would help Hajduk regain its former glory.

Those expectations weren't met; Hajduk under Ćiro's leadership immediately got eliminated from European competitions, following an 8–0 aggregate defeat at the hands of Hungarian side Debreceni VSC; the 5–0 second leg drubbing being the most humiliating result for the Split club at Poljud stadium. The opening stages of the new league campaign brought about another series of humiliations, finally forcing Ćiro to resign on 18 September, followed by Igor Štimac, former Hajduk player and one of his main supporters in club administration.

Neuchâtel and NK ZagrebEdit

In October 2005, he went back to Switzerland and coached Neuchâtel Xamax, replacing Alain Geiger in an attempt to save the club from relegation after they had won just one out of their first ten games of the season. Although Ćiro achieved some memorable victories with Neuchâtel against Swiss powerhouses FC Basel and FC Zurich, they finished the season in ninth place (in a ten-club league) and went to relegation playoff. They were eventually relegated after losing to another Swiss team Ćiro had managed 35 years earlier, FC Sion, 3–0 on aggregate, and his tenure there ended in June 2006.

Once again, he returned to Croatia, this time to take over NK Zagreb. The club experienced a successful 2006–07 season which saw them finish third behind Dinamo and Hajduk and earned them a spot in Intertoto Cup 2007. However, in the following season the team made for an early exit, losing against their first Intertoto opponent Vllaznia on away goals. After Ivica Vrdoljak and Mario Mandžukić were transferred to city rivals Dinamo Zagreb at the beginning of the season, the team saw a string of mediocre results before finishing the season sixth. Immediately after the last game of the season, Ćiro announced that his stint at NK Zagreb had come to an end by mutual consent between him and the club's chairman.[17]

Bosnia and HerzegovinaEdit

On 10 July 2008, Ćiro was appointed head coach of Bosnia and Herzegovina national football team[18] replacing Meho Kodro who had been dismissed two months earlier by the Bosnian FA (FSBiH) officials after reportedly refusing to take charge of the national team for a friendly against Iran.[19] Since Kodro's dismissal was seen by many fans as the latest in a series of problematic decisions by the much-maligned FA leadership, Blažević was thus, by proxy, not welcomed with open arms by certain sections of the public upon his arrival. With the national team in complete disarray and many players refusing to even answer call-ups by interim head coach Denijal Pirić, the appointment of Blažević was seen by many fans as FA's desperate makeshift solution designed to appease the public in the wake of the ongoing two-month fiasco by bringing in a fairly established name. However, combining his carefully crafted showman public persona with some decent initial results on the pitch, Blažević quickly managed to charm most of the public into getting behind him. By his own admission, Blažević had already been close to getting the Bosnia-Herzegovina national team job six years earlier in 2002,[20] but ended up not getting hired due to influential FSBiH executive Jusuf Pušina who considered Blažević unsuitable for the job because of the coach's association with the Croatian wartime president Franjo Tuđman and his political party.[21]

Staying true to all the staples of his coaching style from his previous places of employment, seventy-four-year-old Blažević quickly became the media favourite in Sarajevo. Always ready for a sound bite, he gave bombastic interviews, cheekily delivering bold statements and sweeping promises.

Bosnia under Blažević has qualified for the 2010 FIFA World Cup qualifier playoffs, playing a game against Portugal. In Lisbon, Portugal, Bosnia lost 1–0, with a goal scored by Bruno Alves. In Zenica, Bosnia lost 1–0 against Portugal, with a goal scored by Raul Meireles. He was appointed as manager to the Bosnia-Herzegovina team on 10 July 2008[18] and announced on 11 December 2009 his demission. His dismissal was preceded by criticism from Bosnian fans and journalists following Blažević's attack on fan-favorite Zvjezdan Misimović, blaming him for the defeat against Portugal.[22]

Shanghai ShenhuaEdit

After his recession as head coach of the Bosnia and Herzegovina national football team signed one day later on 12 December 2009 for Shanghai Shenhua.[23] He finished the 2010 Chinese Super League season in a high third-place position qualifying for the AFC Champions League.[24]

China OlympicEdit

He was appointed manager of the Chinese Olympic team on 30 November 2010.[25] He was resigned from his position in June 2011 after failed to qualified to the 2012 Summer Olympics.

Mes KermanEdit

On 28 August 2011, Iran Pro League side Mes Kerman announced that they will sign a contract with Blažević to replace Samad Marfavi who had resigned two days earlier.[26] On 31 August 2011, he returned to Iran after ten years and signed a one-year contract with Mes. On 9 September 2011, his side plays a match against Damash Gilan with a 1–1 draw.[27] He was started his career in the club successfully, but after the weeks, Mes returned to the relegation zone. He was sacked as club's head coach on 14 February 2012 and was appointed as technical director of the club.

NK ZagrebEdit

In November 2012 he returned to NK Zagreb to help the club stay in the Prva HNL since they were in the relegation zone. In the beginning he started to have decent results like defeating Dinamo Zagreb on home ground but later his team started to decline in results. In December 2012 he almost left the club because he had a serious argument with the NK Zagreb chairman but he decidet to stay. In May 2013 after NK Zagreb failed to secure a place in the Prva HNL and finished at the bottom of the league he announced his retirement from professional football at the end of the season.[28]

Sloboda TuzlaEdit

In January 2014, after refusing to take over the Croatian Second Football League club NK Solin, Blažević signed with the Bosnian Sloboda Tuzla playing in the second level Bosnian League.[29] He took over the club while it was second on the league table and agreed to lead the club until the end of the season with the goal to reach the top level Bosnian league, He succeeded, with Sloboda winning 13 and drawing 1 of his 15 matches in charge to win the First League of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina with a record total of 71 points from their 30 league games in the season.


On 2 September 2014, after Sloboda Tuzla, he was named the manager of Croatian First Football League club NK Zadar, but he parted ways with the club and finished his coaching career on 2 January 2015.[30][31]

Playing statisticsEdit

  • Incomplete


Club performance League Cup Total
Season Club League Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Yugoslavia League Yugoslav Cup Total
1954–55 Dinamo Zagreb Yugoslav First League 0 0 0 0 0 0
1955–56 Lokomotiva Zagreb Yugoslav Second League (I Zone) 0 0
1956–57 Yugoslav First League 4 0 0 0 26 0
1957–58 Sarajevo Yugoslav Second League (II A Zone) 0 0
1958–59 Yugoslav First League 14 0 14 0
1959–60 Rijeka 10 2 10 2
1960–61 20 2 20 2
1961–62 4 0 4 0
1962–63 14 0 14 0
Total 66 4 0 0 66 4

Managerial statisticsEdit

Club statisticsEdit

As of 12 December 2014[33][34][35][35][36][37]
*Dates of first and last games under Blažević; not dates of official appointments

National teams statisticsEdit

Team Tenure* Played Won Drawn Lost Win % Points per game Honours
  Switzerland[9]   Sep 1976 – Oct 1976 2 0 0 2 0.00 0.00
Croatia Mar 1994 – Oct 2000 73 36 22 15 49.31 1.78 1996 Euro – Quarter-final
1998 World Cup – Third place
Iran  Apr 2001 – Nov 2001  19 10 4 5 53 1.78
 Bosnia-Herzegovina   Aug 2008 – Dec 2009 17 8 2 7 47.05 1.52
 China Olympic   Nov 2010 – Aug 2011 5 2 1 2 50.00 1.50
Totals 108 55 28 28 50 1.75
*Dates of first and last games under Blažević; not dates of official appointments

Personal lifeEdit

Blažević married Zdenka Đorđević in 1962. The couple have three children and five grandchildren.[38]

Blažević is a Bosnian Croat.[39] Apart from Croatian, Blažević also holds Swiss citizenship.[40]

Political engagementEdit

Ćiro is an admirer of Franjo Tuđman with whom he maintained a friendship as well. Ćiro was even a member of late Croatian president Tuđman's party HDZ, but he publicly disagreed with his successor, the pro-European HDZ leader Ivo Sanader. Because of this, Ćiro left the party in 2000 shortly after Tuđman's death, and then decided to run for President of Croatia as an independent candidate.[41] Polls predicting the 2005 presidential election results usually gave him 1–2% of the vote. In the end he received 17,847 votes (0.80%) and was eliminated in the first round of the election.

Following the presidential elections debacle he quit politics, until he appeared once again four years later at the 2009 Zagreb local elections where he successfully ran as HDZ candidate for the city council. He claimed that prime minister Ivo Sanader had talked him into re-joining the party and running for office.[42] He was at the time the oldest serving member of the Zagreb City Council and a member of the city board for naming streets and squares.[43]

During World War II, Blažević's two brothers, Anto and Joso, were members of the Ustaše, a fascist movement which ruled Croatia at the time. They were both killed in combat, aged seventeen. Speaking of his brothers, Blažević stated: "I will never try to justify what they did, just like my father never tried to justify it. No normal person can support that which goes against humanity and civilised behaviour".[44]


Robert ProsinečkiEdit

During the 1986–87 in Dinamo Zagreb Blažević sent away a prominent young player Robert Prosinečki from the club citing that he would eat his coaching diploma if Prosinečki ever became a real football player. In the summer of 1987 Prosinečki moved to rival club Red Star Belgrade where he became one of the best players at the club winning three League, one Cup and one European Cup title during the next four years. The player later played for Real Madrid and Barcelona.[45]

During his tenure with Croatia Blažević frequently called up Prosinečki. Prosinečki became a crucial part of the team and it seemed that he and Blažević mended fences.

At the World Cup semi-final match against France Blažević did not let Prosinečki play in the match until the '89 minute. Many sports journalists and supporters have said that if Prosinečki would have played the match that Croatia would have reached the final. Blažević has since said he made a great mistake in not letting him play sooner, saying he had no choice the day before the match during training Prosinečki was injured.[46] Prosinečki commented on the match only once saying: We are in good relations today, I appreciate him because he is unique. A man like him is born once in a lifetime, that's for sure. "He has his flaws just like we all have, but he has his virtues too. For some reason, he always had problems with me. If i played in said match against France for at least half an hour i believe i would have at least done something. Maybe we could have been champions, i don't know! I'm not angry, it would be too tough of a word. Let's just say that I think of it as his mistake and he has to deal with."[47]

Affaire VA-OMEdit

On 20 October 1995 Blažević was taken into custody by French financial police in Geneva Airport. He was taken into custody due to claims he that he was involved in Affaire VA-OM during his time in Nantes. Former Olympique Marseille director Jean Pierre Barnes claimed that Blažević took a bribe of ₣420.000 in 1989 to fix a match between Marseille and Nantes witch ended in a 0:0 draw.

Blažević was released from Luynes Prison on 6 November 1995 on bail of ₣100.000 bail and was not called up again after giving his statement.[48]

Referee incidentEdit

After his first match as manager of Osijek on 6 March 2002 Blažević lost to Dinamo Zagreb. After the match he was accused of verbal abuse and assaulting the referee Ivan Novak.[49] Blažević was found guilty by disciplinary judge Krešimir Vlajčević and fined 6000kn and got a three-month suspension.[50]



Year Film Role Notes
2004 Years of the Blazers Himself Documentary film
2011 Ćiro Himself Documentary film
2012 Montevideo, God Bless You! Ante Pandaković Credited as Miroslav Ćiro Blažević
2016 Vinko & little red riding hood Himself Online short film


Year Film Role Notes
1983 Smogovci Manager of Dinamo Zagreb Episode: "Patnje i stradanja Dunje i Mazala". Credited as Miroslav Ćiro Blažević.
1992-2008 Nightmare Stage Himself Multiple appearances
2001 Svlačionica Himself Episode: Robert Prosinečki
2006 Kazalište u kući Lonely man Episode: Usamljena srca
2007-2008 Ćiroskop Himself Host of the show.
2009 Moja 3 zida Himself Episode: 1.3
2009 IN magazin Himself Hidden camera
2011-2012 Studio 45 Himself 3 appearances
2015 N1 Pressing Himself Interview 16.02.2015.
2016 Ko te šiša Himself TV Movie
2017 Nikad nije kasno Himself Episode: 1.1

Music videosEdit

Year Video Role Authors
1998 Neka pati koga smeta Himself Baruni
2004 Ako zabijemo gol Himself General Woo & Nered

Source: Miroslav Blazevic IMDb



Lokomotiva Zagreb






Dinamo Zagreb


Hajduk Split

Sloboda Tuzla





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