THE JUVE STORY's WORLD CUP PROFILE | MANDŽUKIČ

Croation 'Energizer' | Mario Mandžukić

One of the hardest working strikers in the history of football, Mandžukić 'just keeps on going' .  Although his name makes it to the scoreboard plenty, this Croat international often offers his services at the back — and given his stamina and talent, they are very welcome.

(illustration by Marco and Mauro La Villa)


PROFILE

AGE |32

POSITION | Forward 

JUVENTUS NO. | 17

CROATIA NO. | 17

ORIGINS

BORN | May 21, 1986

BIRTH CITY Slavonski Brod, SFR Yugoslavia

PRE-JUVE TEAM |     Atlético Madrid

HONORS

JUVENTUS | Serie A Scudetto (2016, 2017, 2018), Coppa Italia (2016, 2017, 2018),  Supercoppa Italiana (2015)

ATLETICO MADRID |  Supercopa de España (2014)


Mandžukić in Black and White

On June 22, 2015, Serie A champions Juventus announced that Mandžukić joined the club from Atlético Madrid on a four-year contract for a fee of €19 million payable in three installments, including a possible extra €2 million in performance-related add-ons. Juventus was already the third club Mandžukić had joined immediately after they lost the Champions League final, having previously signed for Bayern Munich and Atletico Madrid after they have lost in the final of Europe's most elite competition. 

2015–16 Season | On August 8, he scored the opening goal in the 69th minute for Juventus with a header against Lazio in the 2015 Supercoppa Italiana, a 2–0 win in Shanghai. On August 23, 2015, he made an official league debut for Juventus, starting and playing the full 90 minutes in a 1–0 loss to Udinese, in the first league game of the 2015–16 Serie A season.On 21 September 2015, it was confirmed that Mandžukić would be out for three weeks following a thigh related injury the day before in a 2–0 win over Genoa. However, he returned early, scoring Juventus's first goal, and temporary equaliser, as the team came from behind to win 2–1 away against Manchester City, during their opening match of the Champions League group stage, on 15 September 2015. On 25 October 2015, Mandžukić scored the final goal in Juventus's 2–0 home win over Atalanta in the 49th minute; this was his first Serie A goal in his 6th league appearance with the club. He scored again two games later, helping Juventus to defeat Empoli 3–1. On 25 November 2015, Mandžukić scored the winning goal in a 1–0 home win over Manchester City in the second leg of the Champions League group stage, to secure the club a spot in the round of 16. Due to these significant goals, as well as another one in a 3–0 away win against Palermo on 29 November, he was voted Juventus player of the month for November 2015. On 27 January 2016, Mandžukić sustained a muscle injury during the first semi-final leg of the Coppa Italia against Internazionale, putting him on the sidelines for four weeks. It was initially feared that he would miss the first round of 16 leg of the Champions League against his former club, Bayern Munich. However, he returned to action earlier than expected, starting in the match against Bayern on 23 February, and setting up Paulo Dybala's goal in a 2–2 home draw.

2016–17 Season |  Mandžukić's second season with Juventus was particularly notable, as he was often played out of position by the club's manager Massimiliano Allegri; throughout the 2016–17 season, he primarily served as a left winger, rather than as an out and out striker, a position which he normally occupied in the past. Although his goalscoring rate decreased, he drew praise in the media for his work-rate, versatility, consistency, and for the overall high quality of his performances in this new role. On 25 May 2017, Mandžukić signed a contract extension that would keep him at the club until 2020. On 3 June, Mandžukić started in the Champions League Final. He scored the equalising goal in the 27th minute, just seven minutes after Cristiano Ronaldo's goal gave Real Madrid the lead. Mandžukić chested down a ball from Gonzalo Higuaín and hooked the ball over his shoulder from 15 yards (14 m), which arced over Keylor Navas in net. The goal was heralded as one of the best goals ever scored in a Champions League final, and was compared to Zinedine Zidane's goal in the 2002 final for Real Madrid; but Juventus were ultimately defeated 4–1. Mandžukić's overhead goal against Real Madrid went on to win the 2016–17 UEFA Goal of the Season award. 

(Source: Wikipedia / Read more here.)