Mario Mandzukic has announced his retirement from football, at the age of 35. He most recently featured for AC Milan, making ten appearances in the 2020/21 season. Mandzukic enjoyed a stellar career, that saw him win trophies in Spain, Italy and Germany. The Croatian announced his retirement on his Instagram account.
Mario Mandzukic Retires From Football
Mandzukic could well go down as one of the most underrated footballers of his generation. He was never a player who stood out and stole the limelight, but was as reliable as they come, and an important team player. It is no surprise that he featured for the likes of Bayern Munich, Juventus and Atletico Madrid.
His career began in his native Croatia, featuring first for his hometown club Marsonia. He then moved to NK Zagreb, before earning a move Dynamo Zagreb, Croatia’s most successful club. Mandzukic enjoyed three successful seasons, which led to the big leagues calling.
He joined Wolfsburg in the Bundesliga, enjoying a successful two years which helped elevate his career to the next level. As is customary in the Bundesliga, Bayern Munich poached a smaller team’s best player, and thus begun Mandzukic’s serial-success story.
Mario Mandzukic: A Career to Be Proud of
Mandzukic fit in instantly in Munich. He scored 15 goals in 24 Bundesliga appearances in his first season; a significant contribution in helping return the league title to Bayern. He also scored in the Champions League final, in a 2-1 win over rivals Borussia Dortmund.
Mandzukic would only spend one more season in Munich, ending his first stint at a major club with 48 goals in 88 games. He moved on to Atletico Madrid, scoring a further 20 goals in his one-and-only season, as he fell out with Diego Simeone.
Atletico’s loss was Juventus’ gain, and Mandzukic would go on to win Serie A in each of his four season with the Old Lady. Despite entering the twilight of his career, Mandzukic continuously proved to be an important member of the Juventus squad.
In total, he scored 44 goals in 162 appearances for Juventus. In his last proper season with the club, he played in 25 out of 27 possible Serie A games (missing 11 due to injuries), demonstrating his continuous reliability and trust-worthy nature. After being rather unfairly left out to dry by Maurizio Sarri, Mandzukic ended his career with cameo spells at Al-Duhail in Qatar, and AC Milan.
Mandzukic finishes his career having made 671 appearances in total, scoring 251 goals. He won six league titles and 11 cups, including the Champions League in 2013. On a proud personal note, he was twice crowned Croatian footballer of the year, in 2012 and 2013.
So Close to Writing History
He was undeniably successful at club level, and nearly carried his success into the national team. He made his debut for Croatia in 2007, and proceeded to make 89 appearances for his country. Mandzukic also has a commendable 33 goals to boast.
The last of those 89 appearances could have written Mandzukic and the entire Croatia national team into the history books. Croatia made it all the way to 2018 World Cup final, brushing aside the likes of Argentina and England along the way.
As if he needed to prove his valour anymore, Mandzukic played a vital role in their journey. He scored the all-important winning goal that broke English hearts in the semi-final, as well as scoring in the final. Unfortunately, they came up against a ruthless French side, but Mandzukic will fondly be remembered by Croats for giving them a summer to remember.
Mandzukic was by no means a glamorous player, but was a sort of lynchpin that every team could do with. He always showed passion and enthusiasm when he played, which was in an array of attacking positions, capable of persevering and adapting when required, and had the capability of pulling something out of the ordinary every so often. A unique type of player like no other, who will certainly go down in the history books.
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