Opinion

Mislav Orsic: Things to know about late-blooming Croatia star

Robbie Copeland
Orsic sent Tottenham packing in Croatia
Orsic sent Tottenham packing in Croatia / Pixsell/MB Media/Getty Images
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There are clutch performances, and then there's scoring three stunning goals to overturn a two-goal deficit to send Jose Mourinho's Tottenham packing from the Europa League.

On Thursday March 18, 2021, Dinamo Zagreb's Mislav Orsic hit one of the best trebles you will ever see as the Croatian side came back from the dead to book a place in the quarter-finals.

It was an absolutely astonishing performance and, frankly, you should watch the highlights if you haven't seen them already.

But don't stop there, because you probably still have no idea who Mislav Orsic actually is beyond his heroic performance at Stadion Maksimir.

To fix that slight issue, here's everything you need to know.


1. Nine-club wonder

Orsic has shot to prominence after joining Dinamo in 2018. The Spurs hat-trick took him to 19 for the 2020/21 season, and two more goals this season will see him match the career-best 21 strikes he managed the season prior.

His route to the top, though, has been...unconventional. He spent a large part of his career in relative obscurity, playing in Italy, Slovenia, South Korea, China and Japan before Dinamo took a chance on him.

He's 28, but already playing for the ninth club in his career. Contracted until 2025, it might be a while before we see him get number ten on the books.


2. He's done it before

Despite playing predominantly as a left winger, Dinamo's No.99 is no stranger to a hat-trick. Utilising his pace to come in onto his favoured right foot, he racked up three trebles last season - most famously against Atalanta in the Champions League.

They smashed the Italians 4-0 in their opening group game to pick up their first win at a Champions League finals this side of the century. Orsic, as you'd expect, became an instant hero.

The rest of their campaign wasn't quite as famous, granted. Despite a goal and an assist from Orsic dragging them to a creditable point away to Shakhtar, they failed to win another game in Group C, lost twice to Man City, and finished bottom.


3. He's on the comeback trail

Orsic is fully aware that his standing in the game isn't what it could be. After a promising start to his career with Inter Zapresic a decade ago, he made a series of career choices that didn't quite pan out.

After the Atalanta hat-trick he said: "I'm probably a surprise for some who did not know me as I was playing in Asia, but I think there is still room for improvement in my game."

53 goals and another stunning European hat-trick later, though, people are starting to take notice.


4. He's quite good on FIFA

OK so he's not that good....but we all like a quick winger in FIFA, don't we? Orsic is certainly that - the most recent update to the game has his pace rated at 90.

If Ultimate Team is your thing, you can get a special 84-rated 'Europa League Man of the Match' card provided you're willing to spend the coins.

He also gets an 86 'Beast Rating' on Futhead...whatever that means.


5. Going to the Euros?

Orsic features for Croatia against Georgia
Orsic features for Croatia against Georgia / Pixsell/MB Media/Getty Images

Harry Kane may not have seen the last of Orsic yet...he could be lining up against him again come the Euros.

His emergence as a top player in Croatia is so fresh that he was only given his international debut in late 2019.

But he has been a regular in Zlatko Dalic's squads since 2020 and his current form is only likely to lead to even more international recognition ahead of the summer.

Croatia of course face England and Scotland in Group A, so that could make for an interesting sub-plot.


6. He nearly signed for West Brom

Orsic's last 18 months have seen him re-emerge as a frightening talent in Croatia, but how could things have gone had he signed for West Brom in January 2020?

Slaven Bilic wanted to sign his countryman to boost their promotion charge, but Dinamo's £12m asking price proved too steep while the Baggies were in the Championship.

His value has only rocketed since, and with West Brom heading back into the second tier under Sam Allardyce, that ship looks as if it might have sailed.

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