Mateo Kovačić joins compatriot Luka Modrić at Real Madrid after his transfer from Internazionale Milano, but which other Croatians have played for the Merengues?
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Mateo Kovačić has completed his €30m move from Internazionale Milano to Real Madrid, signing a six-year contract with the Liga giants. The 21-year-old joins Luka Modrić – his former role model at Dinamo Zagreb – in the Spanish capital and becomes the fifth Croatian to wear the famous white of the Merengues. UEFA.com meets his Madrid compatriots.
Robert Prosinečki, 1991-94
Much fanfare greeted the 22-year-old's big-money arrival in Madrid, but his time at the club was marred by a series of injuries and he was limited to just three appearances in his debut season. Even then, he thrilled the locals with a free-kick against Barcelona. That proved to be just one of ten goals in a disappointing three-year spell, but he was a thorn in the club's side after leaving. The midfielder starred in a 3-2 win for Real Oviedo a year after departing, and then moved to Barcelona for a season before joining Sevilla.
Davor Šuker, 1996-1999
The free-scoring forward landed in Madrid after notching an impressive 76 goals in a five-year stint with Sevilla. He was an immediate success in the capital too, scoring 24 times as the Merengues pipped Barcelona to the 1996/97 Liga title. Šuker formed a sensational understanding with fellow attackers Predrag Mijatović and Raúl González, and the following year Madrid's striking trio led the club to a first UEFA Champions League title in 32 years. Despite finishing top scorer at the 1998 FIFA World Cup, Šuker struggled to keep his place the following campaign and called time on a glittering spell by moving to Arsenal.
Robert Jarni, 1998-1999
The left-back had agreed a move to Coventry City from Real Betis in the summer of 1998 but just a few weeks later was back in Spain, this time in the capital, having helped Croatia to a best-ever third-placed finish at the 1998 World Cup. Though he was a regular under Guus Hiddink, his role diminished with the arrival of John Toshack as Roberto Carlos was installed as first choice. Jarni left the Santiago Bernabéu at the end of the season but remained in Spain, playing for Las Palmas for three seasons before subsequently hanging up his boots at Panathinaikos.
Luka Modrić, 2012-present
Modrić is now one of Madrid's key men, as illustrated by their loss of form during his absence through injury towards the end of last season, and it is easy to forget how much he initially struggled following his protracted move from Tottenham Hotspur. Readers of Marca named him the worst transfer of the season in January 2013, but Modrić soon silenced his critics with a thunderous goal against Manchester United to turn a tense UEFA Champions League last-16 tie in Madrid's favour. He has since developed into a fans' favourite, his vision and touch giving Madrid more control in midfield as well as a quick outlet to the forwards on the counter.