Cruyff signing Goran Vucevic hails Celtic man Juranovic

By Euan Davidson

August 25, 2021

Goran Vucevic, a Johan Cruyff signing for his 90s “Dream Team”, probably deserves thanks from Celtic fans for discovering Josip Juranovic.

Vucevic, who spent five years at Barcelona, was an excellent if unfortunate midfielder. His best years, spent in Catalonia, were marred by the league’s foreign players rule. He still made over 60 appearances for the Blaugrana, but it wasn’t what he had in mind.

At international level, he was born in the former Yugoslavia, but represented Croatia just three times. All his caps came in one week, against one opponent; Australia, in 1992.

So, his was a strange career. In management, he had an equally odd time of it, but he did unearth some gems over four spells managing Hajduk Split. When he was the club’s sporting director, he took a trip to see Dubrava, in the fourth tier. There, he spotted new Bhoy Josip Juranovic, and the rest is history.

Now, Vucevic has publicly given the young right-back some very robust support. The former Legia Warsaw man, with ten caps for Croatia, officially signed for Celtic on Saturday. He received the iconic number 88, and was unveiled to supporters yesterday.

Of his protégé, Vucevic said [via Daily Record]:

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“I would say he has now played for around six coaches and each one of them likes him because he is that type of guy a manager wants to have. [He’s] the one who will play everywhere, the one who will play when he’s not 100 per cent fit, the one who will keep running until the 90th minute.

“He offers everything and it is for these reasons that today he is a player of the national team and has now made a big move to Celtic.

“It is because the work he does is so good. He is one special guy.”

“One special guy” says Cruyff signing Vucevic on Celtic defender Juranovic

Praise indeed. Despite his unusual trajectory, it wasn’t just anyone who signed for Cruyff’s Barcelona Dream Team, by the way. An excellent, technically gifted midfielder, Vucevic was part of an iconic side who played breath-taking, successful football.

Photo by Mattia Ozbot – UEFA/UEFA via Getty Images

We’re hoping Juranovic will be able to say the same with Celtic. A defender who can play further up, there’s no reason to believe the Croat international hasn’t got the requisite technical tools to play in Postecoglou’s inverted full-back system.

A snip at just £2.5m [Sun], it’s genuinely remarkable that Juranovic was available so cheaply despite starring for both Legia Warsaw and Croatia at Euro 2020. With an excellent range of passing, and energy levels endorsed by a member of the Dream Team, it’s surely an absolute steal.

That said, he’s got to dislodge Anthony Ralston from his rightful position as Celtic’s right-back. Inevitably, that’ll come, but Ralston has fit perfectly into Postecoglou’s system; something few would’ve expected before the season arrived, with all due respect to the 22-year-old Scotsman.

Read more: Celtic back-up goalkeeper’s long-term aspirations