Recently ISL side NorthEast United FC have announced the appointment of Croatian legend Robert Jarni as it’s new head coach replacing Eelco Schattorie who helped the Highlanders to reach their first ever ISL playoffs last season. Here are are some of the facts that may shed more light on the Croatian football legend.
Connection with Igor Štimac :
Robert Jarni and Igor Štimac were raised together at the youth set of U-20 Yugoslavia national football team, where they went on to clinch U-20 Championship and three years later they went on to U-21 Championship in the European football championship.
After the War of Independence in 1995, Croatia declared their independence. Croatia was welcomed by FIFA, playing it’s first official matches in the modern era. Robert established himself as a regular with the team and was also part of the Croatian squad which made the country’s first World Cup appearance, at the 1998 finals where they claimed Bronze.
Represented two national teams in two different World Cups:
Robert Jarni won 7 international caps for Yugoslavia and represented them in 1990 World Cup in Italy making his debut as a half time substitute against Colombia. And he represented Croatia national team 8 years later in France where Robert was an undisputed starter. Jarni went on winning 81 caps in total. He also led his country for final time in the 2002 FIFA World Cup in Japan and bade farewell from International football.
Real Madrid and Coventry City saga :
After stellar performances for Real Betis that season and more importantly FIFA World cup in France, what do you expect from a player? A move to a top club of Italy or elite club in Bundesliga or even La Liga or a move to top six clubs from Premier League can be defining move in his career right? But a shell shocked move to Coventry City took even the Coventry fans by surprise. Yet it had happened for a fee of £2.5million. But a twist in the tale occurred as his short stint lasted for only one week without kicking a ball.
Real Madrid bought him for about £3.5 million in the same season, reason? He never really wanted to move citing one reason, He said, “I wouldn’t say it was my wife’s decision, but it was a family decision – my family was against moving to England. We had small children, my daughter was in elementary school in Spain and we preferred to stay there rather than move to England. I was honest about it.”
Record as U-19 Croatian Manager :
Croatian were off to a disappointing start under Robert Jarni in U-19 European championship in 2018 qualifying event finishing 3rd behind Denmark and Latvia on goal difference with the only win coming against San Marino.
But they fared better in next U-19 qualifying finishing behind host Czech Republic thus qualifying for the Elite round.
In Elite round as hosts they were drawn in the group of death alongside Germany, Norway and Hungary with an uphill challenge to top the group as only group champions would be awarded a spot in the Main round. It was too much for Croatia to handle as they went out for the second time in succession in Jarni’s tenure.
Jarni: An international futsal player !
Jarni went on to play futsal for Croatian club MNK Split on two different stints in 2002 and 2008. Jarni also won two international caps for Croatia in qualifiers of FIFA Futsal World cup scoring two goals with arare feat of only Croatian footballer to win international caps in both football and futsal. He is simply multi talented artist isn’t it?