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Nikica Jelavić

Published: Tuesday 17 January 2012, 16.40CET
Everton FC
Published: Tuesday 17 January 2012, 16.40CET

Nikica Jelavić

Everton FC

A powerful, bustling centre-forward who made a slow start to his career with HNK Hajduk Split but developed into a prolific goalscorer at Austrian club SK Rapid Wien. He further enhanced his reputation with Rangers FC, earning a January switch to Everton FC this year. Most of his outings for Croatia have been as a substitute.

• Joined Hajduk at 15 and made his league debut at 17 but had to wait another four years before he became a regular in the side, scoring five goals in 22 appearances during the 2006/07 season.

• Played no European football for Hajduk before joining Belgian outfit SV Zulte Waregem in 2007; scored on his Eerste Klasse debut against R. Standard de Liège and also struck twice against RSC Anderlecht but failed to register again and was sold to Rapid after just one season.

• Spent his first season in Vienna operating mostly from the bench but exploded into life in his second, scoring 18 Bundesliga goals and another nine in the UEFA Europa League, including one in each leg of the play-offs to eliminate Aston Villa FC and an early double in the final group game against Celtic FC.

• Made his Croatia debut on 8 October 2009 in a friendly against Qatar and marked it with a goal in a 3-2 win; he appeared in Croatia's final 2010 FIFA World Cup qualifier and was involved in nine games en route to UEFA EURO 2012, six as a substitute, but did not score in any of them.

• Moved to Rangers in August 2010 and scored 16 league goals in an injury-interrupted debut campaign to help the Glasgow giants retain the SPL title; also hit an extra-time winner against Celtic in the Scottish League Cup final but was ineligible for the Light Blues' European fixtures having appeared for Rapid (and scored four times in as many games) in UEFA Europa League qualifying.

• After scoring 14 goals in the first half of the 2011/12 season, Everton signed the striker on a four-and-a-half year deal in January; hit the ground running in the Premier League, registering nine goals in 13 appearances as the Toffees finished seventh.

Last updated: 30/05/12 15.43CET

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