What’s the Croatian for ‘Oriundi’?

A missed opportunity for Argentina? Perhaps. Under Alfio Basile, one or two of the domestic league’s more impressive performers have been given the chance to represent their country alongside their more well-known (or perhaps not, in the cases of the Juans; Román Riquelme and Sebastián Verón) Europe-based countrymen. Up front, though, it was only Basile’s former Boca protége Rodrigo Palacio who got the nod, in spite of perhaps more impressive – and certainly no less prolific – performances from Banfield’s Darío Cvitanich. Now, though, the top scorer of the Clausura is off to Europe – and he’s not only switching clubs, but has decided to represent a different national team as well,; that of his grandparents: Croatia.

Cvitanich moved from Banfield to legendary Amsterdam club Ajax earlier in the week, and on Friday met with officials from the Croatian football association, the HNS. There had been a few words about the possibility of his being called up for Euro 2008 after the side’s normal front man, (English) Arsenal’s Eduardo da Silva had his ankle broken in the Premier League earlier in the season, but these came to nothing. Cvitanich has now committed his international future to the country of his grandparents, though,

HNS President Vlatko Markovic announced: ‘Cvitanich has accepted our invitation to the national team enthusiastically. He’s a great player, was the top scorer in the Torneo Clausura, there’s no doubt as to his quality. He told me that it was the happiest day of his life. I’m sure that the technical team will be very pleased with his decision to play for Croatia.’

Cvitanich, for his part, put out a statement to the effect that he had been determined not to make the same mistake as another Argentine-Croat, Daniel Bilos. Bilos was called up by then Croatia boss Zlatko Kranjcar in 2005, and promised a starting place should the team qualify for the 2006 World Cup (they did). Instead, though, he opted to represent Argentina, and ended up getting just three international caps in a national side which (with no disrespect whatsoever intended to Croatia) is somewhat more competitive when it comes to attacking roles.

One suspects, with the talk about Hernán Crespo’s long-term replacement and with only Fernando Cavenaghi really looking like a potentially promising young target man at the moment, Basile might have found room for Cvitanich in the team. His Croatian passport is likely to be finalised in the next two weeks, though, and so it is that the Argentine league can at least claim one thing on a par with its European peers in these days of football ruled by money: it’s played host to a future European international.

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9 thoughts on “What’s the Croatian for ‘Oriundi’?

  1. Quite interesting. As will be a Croatian front line featuring hm and Eduardo. Tudjman must be spinning in his grave, which is always a good thing.

    The photo is flipped, btw, which is why I was staring at it for a minute trying to figure out who this new kit manufacturer was.

  2. The pictures is not flipped! The manufacturer is NANQUE (an Argentine brand).

    Check out the South American map in the Conmebol badge. It’s in its normal orientation.

    A shame to see a good player switching national teams. He said in an interview that he thinks he had no chance to play for Argentina because he’s got a lot of competition and there are many players in front of him in the pecking order. He is probably right, but it’s a shame to see him take this decision.

    And Sam, if you want to know what’s Croatian for “oriundo”, then I don’t think you should ask Cvitanich as I’m pretty sure he doesn’t speak that language at all!

  3. Cvitanich rocks! Not only was he on fire this season but last season too, no? I am saddened to see his name removed from possible future Argentine national teams. But, I am happy that he suddenly becomes a 1st choice for a European national side. Wow.

    I smile when I am reminded that a bunch of Croatians immigrated to Argentina many years ago and from that group were born great athletes like Cvitanich, Bilos and even Marcos Milinković the notable volleyball player! In the Americas, we all come from someplace else! Cheers.

  4. I’m not a Banfield fan, but I enjoyed Cvitanich’s hard-working performances up front this season, he will be superb for Ajax – I think that league is easier to play in that the Primera.

    I also enjoyed a summer of football without WAGS, without endless debate over some part of Wayne Rooney’s body, without St George’s flags mindlessly fluttering from cars of people who have hardly watched a game of football in their lives, without endless ‘news from the England camp’, and without the music charts being cluttered up with 1970s crooners putting corny new words to thirty year-old songs.

    If Cvitanich can help make the summer of 2010 as enjoyable through his work over the next 18 months, I will like him even more! :)

  5. Rather interesting coincidence that a few days after this announcement we find out that there is yet another fake EU passport scandal in process, with Carizzo front and centre (again). Though at least this time, he doesn’t risk any sporting sanctions, as both he and Napoli’s Denis are registered as non-EU players in Serie A.

  6. Hi.I feel a little unsure about having 2 non Croatian born players upfront but I truly love Eduardo and his dedication to the country.I’m sure he would have murdered them at the Euros.I don’t know much about Dario but I like what I’ve heard frm him regarding playing for us and it’s not like he’s coming to an average side so he can make a huge name for himself against England in a couple of m onths time.I think an Eduardo and Cvitanich strikeforce could be awesome and I’m really grateful that he’s made this decision.I’m not sure how it will be received by the rest of the world though and that does worry me.At least he has a Croatian name and if he has Argentinian ability as well then super.Alot of my cousins emigrated to Argentina after WW2 and I work with some so I have a soft spot for the country.And they play great football and have the greatest player ever of course.Thanks for Dario

  7. I think it is great that Cvitanic is has made the decision to play for Croatia. In order for a country as small as Croatia to continue to play top class football then we need anyone of Croatian descent playing for us.

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