José Mourinho has been eliminated from the Europa League. Tottenham unexpectedly fell 3-0 to Dynamo Zagreb in Croatia after entering the field two goals ahead. The Portuguese coach blamed all Tottenham players worldwide for the lack of competitiveness, but Mourinho’s fall has a name: Mislav Orsic. A Croat who was a great promise for 17 years but barely left the dark at 28. Until yesterday.
With the exception of veteran Joe Hart, Hugo Lloris’ deputy goalkeeper, all of the players in Tottenham’s squad – in fact all – have a higher market value (in some cases far higher) than Mislav Orsic – € 7.5m based on the Transfermarkt website .
Market value is just a number that neither plays football nor plays balls for goals, but an indicator of how far Orsic was from being seen as the man who alone would win the mighty Tottenham 2-0, which was reset to 3-2 in favor of the humble Dynamo.
If market value doesn’t speak for itself, Orsic’s past speaks for itself. This Croatian winger was little more than anonymous, not because he played for Dynamo – a team that has even played in the Champions League in recent years – but because he was through in the second half of a career at the age of 28 sparse notoriety.
Orsic made it into the top Croatian league at the humble Inter Zapresic at the age of just 17 and was seen as one of the boy prodigies in football. The problem is, he’s been going from shadow to shadow for most of his career.
That was irrelevant with Spezia in the Italian Serie B, and he repeated it with Rijeka, who, without ever giving him a minute, awarded it one after another: first to Celje from Slovenia, where he was anything but important, and then to Jeonnam Dragons from South Korea, where it has already gained in importance – under the name “Orsha”, as it is difficult for Koreans to pronounce the name in the original version.
This success was short-lived, as the first good season in the east was followed by a year of new darkness, already in China. But the first ten-goal year in Korea was not forgotten. Ulsan Hyundai remembered Orsic, who became relevant again in a Korean club. But it was far away – in geography and, consequently, in media coverage.
Only a homecoming would save a Croat at the top of his game from an almost anonymous career. At the age of 26 he returned to Croatia and spent three seasons at Dynamo as a key player in a team in which he was not even the star – this nickname belonged to the Spaniard Dani Olmo until he left RB Leipzig.
By the time he saw it, Orsic was not happy in Italy, Slovenia and China, but at home and in Korea he knew that it was geographically relevant to play five games for the Balkan team. It seems short on what was one of the Balkans’ high hopes at the age of 17 but Tottenham tried to give Orsic a moment of glory.