GNK Dinamo Zagreb have claimed their ninth successive Croatian First League title with four matches to spare thanks to a 5-0 defeat of NK Hrvatski dragovoljac.
The defeat of the league's bottom club moved Dinamo 12 points ahead of HNK Rijeka, their superior head-to-head record ensuring they will finish above their title rivals in the final standings. Dinamo have therefore stretched their run of championship-winning seasons, which started in 2005/06, and have now claimed 20 league titles in all.
The run of success followed the 2005 appointment of Zoran Mamić, who returned to Dinamo as a player before becoming sporting director and, now, coach. "It's a great feeling to be a champion, and when you do it nine times in a row it's the greatest feeling for every person in the club," said Mamić, whose side are closing in on Skonto FC's European record of 14 successive Latvian league titles, set between 1992 and 2004.
"This is the ninth title in a row since I returned to the club as a player," Mamić added. "Now, as a coach, I am proud of all my players. I am lucky to have guys who are willing to listen and learn. We will not have a big celebration now; we still have a league match on Saturday and a cup game next Wednesday. We need to be on top form in every match."
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