June 22, 2012 by joshilan14
This year’s European Championships has seen many players with a connection to the Bundesliga shine at the tournament. One of those player’s is Mario Mandzukic, who is a Croatian striker plying his trade at Wolfsburg. His form and his desire to leave Wolfsburg “for a new challenge” has seen him attract interest from many clubs across the continent.
At the age of six years old, Mandzukic signed for the youth-team of German lower tier side TSF Ditzingen. A move back to his native Croatia saw Mandzukic sign for outfit NK Marsonia.
He made his debut for NK Marsonia in 2004, aged 18, with him impressing massively during his debut season; with the striker getting thirteen goals in 23 appearances in the Croatian second division.
At the end of the season, he signed for Croatian first division side NK Zagreb on a free transfer. The 2005-2006 season was a disappointment for Mandzukic, with him only getting three goals in 28 appearances.
The appointment of Miroslav Blazevic, who is a legend in Croatia for guiding them to 3rd place at the 1998 World Cup, saw an upturn in form in the 2006-2007 season for Mandzukic. Eleven goals in 23 games saw many clubs interested in signing him: he did move from NK Zagreb at the end of the season, to their rivals Dinamo Zagreb for £1.3million pounds as a replacement for Arsenal bound Eduardo.
Mandzukic became an instant hero for the Maksimir faithful, with the striker scoring twelve and assisting eleven in 29 games.
The 2008-2009 season saw Mandzukic have his best season to date, with his sixteen goals in 28 appearances saw him notch both the Croatian first division’s player of the year award and top goal scorer. This saw him attract interest from abroad, especially Werder Bremen, who offered £9.6million pounds for him, but this was £2.5million pounds less than Dinamo’s valuation of him.
The 2009-2010 season saw him get fourteen goals in 24 appearances, in what turned out to be his last season for the club. He left the club as one of the best players to have played for Dinamo Zagreb in recent years, with him getting 63 goals in 125 appearances for the club in three years.
It was Wolfsburg who won the race for his signature, with them stumping out £6.4million pounds to get him. His first season with the club based in Lower Saxony was distinctly average: this is because he scored eight goals in 24 games, with the majority of these goals coming in the latter part of the season.
This saw people have high hopes for Mario Mandzukic for the 2011-2012 season, and he did not fail to disappoint. Twelve goals and ten assists from 32 Bundesliga matches saw Mandzukic have an extremely successful season; with him endearing himself to the Wolfsburg fans.
Despite this record and his form, his disciplinarian manager Felix Magath said at the end of the season that “his contract would not be renewed (despite him being contracted for another two years) and he could leave the club for a reasonable price.”
Mandzukic won his first cap for Croatia in November 2007 against Macedonia; with this coming after he impressed Slaven Bilic with his form for Dinamo Zagreb. He then narrowly missed out on a place in Croatia’s squad for Euro 2012.
Ten months after his debut, he got his first goal for Croatia against England, but this was not enough to prevent Theo Walcott from getting a hat-trick in a 4-1 win for England.
He then became an integral part of the Croatia team, with him scoring three goals in their successful qualification campaign for Euro 2012.
Mandzukic showed his importance to the team during Euro 2012. He was Given a double against Ireland, scored a poacher’s goal against Italy and troubled the Spain defence. He is currently joint-top scorer of the tournament with three goals; but this is likely to be surpassed due to Croatia’s exit. He currently has eight goals in 32 games at international level.
With Mandzukic leaving Wolfsburg in the summer, he has got a wealth of suitors to pick from. Mandzukic’s agent said that “he is a big Juventus fan and would like to go there”, while Everton would like him to link up alongside compatriot Nikica Jelavic, Sunderland and Fulham have also been linked to him, while there has even been talk of him moving to Barcelona. Mandzukic has got a big choice to make, with him hoping that fans will remember him long after Euro 2012.
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