Vladimir Beara

Vladimir Beara (pronounced [ʋlǎdimiːr beâra]; 26 August 1928 – 11 August 2014) was a Yugoslav football goalkeeper and manager. He is considered to have been one of the best goalkeepers of his era.[1][2]

Vladimir Beara
Vladimir Beara 1953.jpg
Beara in September 1953
Personal information
Full name Vladimir Beara
Date of birth (1928-08-26)26 August 1928
Place of birth Zelovo Sutinsko, Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes
Date of death 11 August 2014(2014-08-11) (aged 85)
Place of death Split, Croatia
Height 1.84 m (6 ft 12 in)
Position(s) Goalkeeper
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1947–1955 Hajduk Split 136 (0)
1955–1960 Red Star Belgrade 83 (0)
1960–1963 Alemannia Aachen 23 (0)
1963–1964 Viktoria Köln 23 (0)
Total 265 (0)
National team
1950–1959 Yugoslavia 59 (0)
Teams managed
1964–1966 Freiburger FC
1966–1967 Sittardia
1967–1968 Rijeka
1969–1970 SC Fortuna Köln
1970–1972 Hajduk Split (assistant coach)
Troglav Livno
1973–1975 Cameroon
Dinara Knin
Bregalnica Štip
1979 First Vienna FC
1980–1981 RNK Split
1986–1987 BŠK Zmaj Blato
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

Early lifeEdit

Beara was born in an ethnic Serb family to parents Jakov and Marija in the village of Zelovo Sutinsko near Sinj in present-day Croatia.[3][4] He had two brothers named Ljubo and Sveto.[3] According to Split-based journalist Zdravko Reić, Beara declared himself as a Croat in the state censuses.[5]

Club careerEdit

For Hajduk Split (1946–55) Beara played 308 games, and helped his team to win the Yugoslav League title in 1950, 1952 and 1955.

He made, however, a transfer in 1955 to Belgrade's Red Star (1955–60), after the season he had won the third league title. With Red Star he won even more Yugoslav league titles, in 1956, 1957, 1959, 1960, and won the Yugoslav Cup in 1958 and 1959. He was Red Star's goalkeeper against Manchester United in the last game United had played before the Munich Air Disaster. In 1963, the great Soviet goalkeeper, Lev Yashin said that not him, but Vladimir Beara is the greatest keeper of all time.[1][6]

Beara ended his career in German clubs Alemannia Aachen (1960–62) and Viktoria Köln (1963–64).

International careerEdit

Beara played 59 games for the Yugoslav national team between 1950 and 1960. Immediately after being selected to play for the Yugoslav national team, he became famous mostly due to his fabulous stops in a match against England at Highbury Stadium of Arsenal. Since then he was often called by his nickname Vladimir Veliki. Beara participated in the 1952 Summer Olympic Games; he was a member of the team that reached the final against Hungary, winning a silver medal. He also represented his nation in three World Cups; World Cup 1950, World Cup 1954 and World Cup 1958. In 1953, Beara was one of four Yugoslav players on the FIFA World-Stars XI who played an exhibition game against England; the match finished in a 4–4 draw, with Beara conceding only one goal.

Coaching careerEdit

In 1967 Beara finished a coaching course at the sports academy at the German Sport University Cologne, today's Hennes Weisweiler Academy. He went on to coach clubs in Germany, the Netherlands, Austria and Yugoslavia as well as the national team of Cameroon. A highlight of his coaching career was winning the Yugoslav national championship with Hajduk Split in 1971 as assistant coach to Slavko Luštica. This was the club's first championship since his departure as player in 1955. He also won the African Cup Winners' Cup with Tonnerre Yaoundé in 1975.


On 11 August 2014, Beara's family announced that he died in Split, Croatia after several strokes over the previous year.[7] He was buried in the Catholic Lovrinac Cemetery.[8] The decision made by Beara's widow Jadranka to bury him at a Catholic cemetery was met with criticism, because Beara was a staunch believer of the Serbian Orthodox Church.[9][10]

Style of playEdit

Beara was an athletic and self-confident keeper, endowed with an eye-catching yet effective style.[1] Thanks to his firm grip on the ball and his brave attitude, not only he was an outstanding shot-stopper, but he also excelled at coming off his line.[2] He was nicknamed The ballet dancer with the hands of steel because of his ability to combine elegance with goalkeeping skills.[1]


"A good goalkeeper still has to be a lot like he was in my time. He has to have courage and self-confidence."

— Beara himself on goalkeepers.[1]

"My confidence in goal, the way I seemed to be able to catch a ball easily, and my technique for taming shots I put down to Barba Luka (aka Luka Kaliterna, one of his first coaches). It was a simple drill we did in practice. He made me catch a small ball about the size of a baseball and after that it was very easy for me to catch a football."

— Beara himself on his goalkeeping technique.[1]

"There was an entertaining, aesthetic air about him, that's why his jumps and dives with feet curled and body perfectly poised appealed. He kept goal on his toes, like a coiled spring, always ready to pounce."

— Bob Wilson on Beara.[1]

"I am not the best goalkeeper in the world, it is Vladimir Beara."

— Lev Yashin, the only goalkeeper who received the award Ballon d'Or, in 1963.[1][6]



Hajduk Split
Red Star Belgrade




  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Jonathan Wilson (5 May 2008). "Meet Yugoslavia's ballerina Beara, once the best keeper in the world". The Guardian. Retrieved 24 September 2016.
  2. ^ a b "Vladimir Beara: One of the world's finest goalkeepers, who played in the Busby Babes' last game before the Munich disaster". The Independent. 13 November 2014. Retrieved 24 September 2016.
  3. ^ a b Mozzart Sport (4 November 2017). "PREMOTAVANJE: Beara, grand jeté" (in Serbian). Retrieved 25 March 2018.
  4. ^ "Što su nam dali Srbi i Crnogorci: od struje do Beare". Slobodna Dalmacija (in Croatian). Retrieved 3 January 2020.
  5. ^ Zdravko Reić (18 August 2014). "Vladimir Beara se nudio Dinamu i nisu ga htjeli, Zvezda zato jest" (in Croatian). Retrieved 26 October 2018. , a onda je, s obzirom na obiteljsku pravoslavnu vjeru, proskribiran kao Srbin iako se Beara oduvijek, u svakom popisu stanovništva deklarirao kao Hrvat
  6. ^ a b Alex Buturugeanu (1 October 2010). "Trădătorii (III): Vladimir Beara". Istoria Fotbalului. Retrieved 21 December 2013.
  7. ^ "Former goalkeeping great Vladimir Beara dies at 85". Hindustan Times. Retrieved 12 August 2014.
  8. ^ "Legende između vratnica : Vladimir Beara". Hrvatska reprezentacija. 31 January 2018. Retrieved 17 January 2020.
  9. ^ "Погазили жељу великог Беаре, сахранили га као католика на сплитском Ловринцу!". www.novosti.rs (in Serbian). Retrieved 3 January 2020.
  10. ^ "LEGENDARNI GOLMAN HAJDUKA Je li slavni Vladimir Beara pokopan na katoličkom groblju protiv svoje volje? - Jutarnji List". www.jutarnji.hr. Retrieved 3 January 2020.