UEFA.com works better on other browsers
For the best possible experience, we recommend using Chrome, Firefox or Microsoft Edge.

Kramarić vein of form at Rijeka

"I always believed in myself," Andrej Kramarić told UEFA.com with the striker having come good at HNK Rijeka after leaving GNK Dinamo Zagreb to seek his fortune.

Kramarić vein of form at Rijeka
Kramarić vein of form at Rijeka ©Getty Images

Struggling to make an impact at GNK Dinamo Zagreb two seasons ago, Andrej Kramarić took a calculated gamble to switch to HNK Rijeka. He has not had reason to regret his decision yet.

An outstanding UEFA Europa League hat-trick against Feyenoord on matchday three was a measure of the 23-year-old's burgeoning confidence, and helped his club win their first-ever group stage game. All of a sudden, qualifying from a tough Group G, which includes title holders Sevilla FC and R. Standard de Liège, does not seem an impossible mission.

"It was not easy – when Feyenoord made it 1-1 there were some bad thoughts," Kramarić told UEFA.com. "Luckily I managed to score a second and later a third for a famous victory. I took the match ball and got it signed by all my team-mates. I also took the jersey and will keep it with the shirt I got when I made my Croatia debut. I got so many text messages from people congratulating me, it would have taken a whole day to reply to them."

Ahead of the rematch against Feyenoord, Rijeka are level with Standard on four points, a point below Sevilla and one above Feyenoord, and hoping to make it to the round of 32. "Everybody is dreaming but it will not be easy," Kramarić said. "We have two difficult away matches [against Feyenoord and Sevilla] – we have to do our best there and take some points. We showed we can beat anyone at home and we will try to grab some positive results. Why shouldn't we dream?"

The striker has scored twice for Croatia
The striker has scored twice for Croatia©Getty Images

Having found the target 24 times in all competitions this term, Kramarić was given his Croatia debut in September, and hit the ground running by scoring in his first two competitive international outings. "This is not a dream scenario, because I always believed in myself," said the attacker. "I always thought I could reach the form I am in at the moment. I am really delighted, but this is not the pinnacle for me – I want to do more. I am working hard and believe I can be even better."

Hard work has netted him 16 Croatian league goals for second-placed Rijeka this season, compared with 16 strikes in the whole of the last campaign, but Kramarić knows the key to a successful career is dealing with the lean spells too. "I am in fantastic form, scoring in almost every game, but there will be bad times – periods when I will not score so many," he said. "So I must work hard and be ready for the hard times. I invest a lot in myself and try to be better in every match."