While the enigmatic Brazilian midfielder Ronaldinho was at the height of his powers, a certain boy who came through the Dinamo Zagreb youth team was sweating as he tried to replicate the Brazilians’ impressive repertoire of skills. Like many aspiring youngsters, Marko Pjaca believed that one day he would make the breakthrough and become a successful professional footballer. Marko is definitely not the finished article yet, but he is certainly well on his way to realizing his immense potential.
Marko Pjaca’s Bio
Marko Pjaca was born on 6 May 1995 in Zagreb. Even as a child he showed a flair for sports, shining in basketball, handball, and table tennis. However, football was always his first choice. At the age of nine, he joined the youth department of Dinamo Zagreb, where he spent five years. In 2009 he moved to NK ZET, where he spent a year before moving to the Locomotiva youth team.
Marko Pjaca advanced to the senior national team in the 2011/12 season and made his first appearance in the Croatian Premier League on 24 February 2012. Locomotiva won the game 3-0 against Locomotiva, with Pjaca participating with an assistant. It would take another season before he deserved another start. The next season he got more playing time and finished the season with 2 goals in 17 games.
In the 2013-14 season, he sent a clear message to bigger teams with 7 goals in 31 games that a new star was on the rise. It was only a matter of time before larger clubs in the country began to call on his services.
In 2014, the Croatian league champions Dinamo Zagreb paid 1 million euros to sign Pjaca. Dinamo made his first appearance in the opening match of the league season against Slaven Belupo, where he made his debut with a goal. He scored his first professional hat-trick in a UEFA Europa League 2014-15 group match against Scotland’s Celtic on 11 December 2014, a thrilling match that ended 4-3 in favor of the Croats.
En route Dinamo’s tenth successive league title helped Pyaca return 14 goals in 47 appearances. The 2015 success also included a triumph in the final of the Croatian Football Cup against RNK Split.
After the draw in the 2016-17 UEFA Champions League qualifying round against Macedonian club Vardar, Pjaca received a standing ovation from fans at the Maksimir Stadium after announcing he would leave Dinamo Zagreb.
His impressive performances in the Croatian league attracted many applicants from all over Europe. Marko Pjaca, as a winger who knew how to create space for other team-mates, earned a reputation for his silky-smooth skills and inventiveness. It also proved useful that he could play in all positions in the forward line. His versatility was a huge bonus for his coaches and meant he could be useful whenever other teammates were either injured or suspended.
Agile, fast, and intelligent, Pjaca gradually developed into one of the most sought-after young players in Europe. It was only a matter of time before he would grow beyond the Croatian league.
Italian giants Juventus announced that they would sign Marko Pjaca on 21 July 2016 under a five-year contract. Juve paid a transfer of 23 million euros for his services, and the transfer went down as the most expensive sale Dinamo has ever made. It was also the most expensive export ever in the history of the Croatian football league.
On 27 August 2016, Marko Pjaca donned the Juve jersey for the first time in a competitive match, replacing Paulo Dybala in The Old Lady’s 1-0 win over Lazio. Barely two months after the start of his Juventus career, he injured himself in international play, suffering a tear in his fibula. The injury was to put him out of action for three months and he made his comeback against Atalanta in Coppa Italia and later in a guest appearance against Fiorentina in Serie A.
Juventus scored his first goal in a UEFA Champions League round of 16 that ended in a 2-0 win over FC Porto. On the injury front, there was even more bad news for him this season, when he suffered a rupture of the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in March in international service. This left him out of action for another six months.
In an effort to get fully fit again before the 2018 World Cup in Russia, Pjaca sealed a loan contract with German club Schalke 04 on 4 January 2018 until the end of the 2017-18 season.
Pjaca has represented his country at tournaments of all ages and was part of the Croatian squad at the 2016 European Championship. He was also part of the Croatian squad that made it to the final of the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
Parents and Siblings
Marko was born into a family with sporting ancestors. His father, Željko, was a professional wrestler, while his mother, Višnja, was a judoka. He has two older sisters: Iva and Martina Pjaca
Marko Pjaca’s Height, Weight, Body Stats
A first glance at Pjaca in full flight would give the impression that he is one of the nimble, light-footed, small, creative midfielders in world football, but records show that he stands at 1.85 meters and weighs 83 kg. His other body measurements are not available.