'Coach of all coaches' Blazevic dies aged 87

By Sports Desk February 08, 2023

Croatia are mourning the death of their former coach Miroslav Blazevic, who led them to a third-place finish at the 1998 World Cup.

Blazevic enjoyed a coaching career spanning 47 years up until his retirement in January 2015.

He won trophies with six different clubs and described ending Dinamo Zagreb's 24-year wait for the Yugoslav First League title in 1982 as his greatest honour.

The former winger spent six years in charge of Croatia and guided them to a bronze medal at France 98 in their first World Cup finals appearance.

Croatia's Football Federation (HNS) confirmed Blazevic's passing in a statement on Wednesday, two days before his 88th birthday.

The statement added: "HNS would like to express the deepest condolences to his loved ones, on behalf of the entire Croatian football family, which lost the 'coach of all coaches'."

Blazevic coached four other national teams – Switzerland, Iran, Bosnia-Herzegovina and China's Under-23s – in a coaching career that started in 1968.

UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin was among those to pay tribute to Blazevic, who was previously diagnosed with prostate cancer.

"He is the father of modern Croatian football, and one of our game's greatest coaches," Ceferin said. "His legacy goes beyond any trophy or victory, of which there were many.

"His success on the field earned him a place in football history, and his authenticity, charisma and unique sense of humour established for him the cult status that only true legends of the game deserve."

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