Niko Kranjcar, Croatia
Niko Kranjcar can be described as an attacking midfielder possessing exceptional vision and a wonderful technique, and he was actually given his international debut by his father Zlatko back in the August of 2004. Present Croatian coach Slaven Bilic also thinks very highly of the young man, playing him in all twelve Euro 2008 qualifying matches.
Kranjčar scored for Dinamo Zagreb on his Croatian league debut at the tender age of sixteen and while comparisons were being made liking him to Zvonimir Boban although he was still a teenager, he assisted Dinamo to the Croatian Cup in 2002 and 2004, and the league title sandwiched in between in 2003.
When he was transferred to arch-rivals Hajduk Split in controversial circumstances half way through the 2004/2005 season, he helped them win the Croatia title but despite ten league goals the following season, Hajduk finished a disastrous fifth and Kranjčar decided the time was now right to spread his wings so joined Portsmouth in the summer of 2006 following the World Cup finals in Germany. Although it took him a little time to settle into his new surroundings, he was excellent in his second season in the premiership and helped Portsmouth to an unprecedented FA Cup final victory.
Niko Kranjčar netted the first goal in Croatia's famous 3-2 victory at Wembley, allowing his country to finish top of the group in their Euro 2008 qualifiers.
Tags: Niko Kranjcar, Slaven Bilic, Euro 2008, Croatia