Croatian international Josip Juranovic has signed for 1.FC Union Berlin from Scottish champions Celtic Glasgow.
In footballing terms, the first thing that pops into your head when you think of the Croatian capital Zagreb is often the blue and white of the record-breaking Dinamo. For Josip Juranovic, however, there was only one club in his hometown, NK Dubrava Zagreb. He spent almost his entire youth in the junior teams of the club from the outskirts of the capital. NK Dubrava may not be a gilded as the behemoths from the city, but they are known above all for their excellent youth department.
After two years in the first team of the the second-division side, the then 19-year-old full-back was called up to higher things. First, when he joined first division side Hajduk Split from the Adriatic coast. In his first season in Split, the Zagreb born player became a regular. Although he never won a league title in five and a half years there he was drawing more and more attention to himself through his dynamic performances, and Juranovic did celebrate one major personal success when, in his second season, he was nominated for the Croatian national team for the first time.
At the age of 24, Juranovic’s career took him abroad for the first time. The Polish record champions, Legia Warsaw, knocked on Hajduk’s door and signed the man who was by now the club’s captain. In his first and only season with the Warsaw club, he won the first league title of his career. But there would be more of those to come.
Juranovic then found himself destined for Britain’s first European champions and the current Scottish runner-up Celtic Glasgow. At Celtic, Juranovic impressed not only with his defensive qualities but also with his flexibility, repeatedly switching from his usual right side of defence to the left. The 27-year-old was also deployed at right wing-back as well as in defensive midfield.
Juranovic went on to win both the league title and the cup at Celtic. As a result, Celtic Glasgow qualified for the UEFA Champions League, in whose group phase Juranovic played in all six matches. So in addition to the flexibility he can bring to any side, he radiates the calmness of international experience.
“The transfer to Union fulfils my dream of being able to play in one of the best football leagues in the world. The Bundesliga is intense and robust, which suits my game,” said Juranovic on the move. “I’m looking forward to playing in front of the fans at the Alte Försterei soon. In Berlin, I want to improve even more and take the next step in my career.”
Union’s director of professional football Oliver Ruhnert, meanwhile, is pleased about the reinforcement on the flanks. “With his pace his experience and his ability, Josip is a great fit for us. We are convinced that in him we have signed a player who will quickly be of great help, and we are very happy to have him.”