Davor Suker only spent three seasons at Real Madrid, but he has always been remembered as one of the club’s legends for being one of the main pieces in the team that won La Septima –the 7th Champions League– after a 32-year wait.
Born in Croatia, he started his career in 1984 at Osijek, his hometown club, and soon signed for Dinamo Zagreb. After scoring 34 goals in three seasons, he moved to Spain to play for Sevilla.
He soon became one of La Liga’s top strikers, scoring 76 goals in 153 appearances and earning Real’s admiration. After five seasons at Seville, Los Blancos paid 3.6 million euros for the Croatian in the summer of 1996 at 28 years old.
Suker soon formed an unforgettable attacking trio with Raul Gonzalez and Pedja Mijatovic, leading Los Merengues to win La Liga in 1997 ending Ronaldo’s Barcelona reign. They also won the Supercopa that year.
But the Croatian’s most remarkable achievement took place in 1998. After a 32-year wait, Real Madrid won their 7th Champions League, with Suker, Raul and Mijatovic as stars. Suker only played the last minutes in the final against Juventus, but his performances that year were crucial in helping the team win the Champions and the Intercontinental Cup.
In the summer of 1998, at the top of his career, Suker lead Croatia national team to a historic third spot in the World Cup of France. Suker was awarded the Golden Boot as the top scorer of the tournament with six goals.
In 1999, his goal drought and his bad relations with the new manager John Benjamin Toshack made him take the decision to leave the club. After three seasons in which he scored 38 goals in 78 appearances, he signed for Arsenal.
After one season with the Gunners, he would move to West Ham for a year and then finish his career at German club TSV Munich 1860 at 35 years old. He is still Croatia’s top scorer ever.
President of Croatia’s Football Association
After retiring from football, Suker moved back to Croatia, where he created a football academy: Davor Suker Soccer Academy.
In July 2012 he was elected as the president of the Croatian Football Association, and he has been working since them to clean the image of Croatian football after the betting scandals.
Suker appeared recently in the Spanish TV show Callejeros Viajeros, showing his house at the beach and his prominent belly. “Drinking wine and eating cheese”, he replied when the reporter asked about what he does now.
In a hilarious moment of the interview, Suker dives into the sea grabbing an inflatable dolphin. “I can’t swim”, he admits with a smile on his face. Legend.
Here you can watch the video in Spanish: