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Hajduk farewell for Racunica

HNK Hajduk Split have staged a farewell game for Dean Racunica who was forced to retire due to a heart condition.

HNK Hajduk Split have bid farewell to midfield player Dean Racunica who has been forced to retire due to a heart condition.

Croatian celebrities
The 34-year-old said his goodbye to professional football by playing the first 23 minutes of a specially arranged friendly game between Hajduk and an all-star Croatia side in Split on Sunday. Racunica signed off in style with a goal in a 5-1 win for Hajduk against a team featuring the likes of Slaven Bilic, Igor Štimac, Blaž Sliškovic, Robert Jarni, Zoran Vulic, Goran Vučevic, Ardian Kozniku, Ivica Mornar, Igor Tudor, Robert Prosinečki and Milan Rapaic.

'Hajduk's Heart'
A crowd of 10,000 rose to cheer Racunica as he left the field, and in tribute to a player who always gave 100 per cent for his club, the midfield veteran was given the annual 'Hajduk's Heart' award - a trophy given by the fans to their player of the year. In his career, Racunica made two appearances for the Croatian national team and scored one goal.

Future plans
"It was a fantastic feeling, but this all should have happened two or three years later," said Racunica, who is expected to stay at Hajduk in some capacity, possibly to work with the club's youth players. "I think I could have played for longer but I am delighted that so many famous footballing names came to play in my testimonial game."