The one footballer who shares the same name with one of the top clubs in the world of football, A.C. Milan, is also famed for being extraordinaire in the arena. He is Milan Badelj, a Croatian professional footballer who plays as a midfielder for his national team. Here’s all you need to know about him.
Milan Badelj’s Biography
He was born on February 25, 1989, in Zagreb, SFR Yugoslavia. Milan was intrigued with the round leather game very early in his life that he started kicking the ball when he was just 3. He wanted to enroll in a club at the age of 5 but was considered too young though he was accepted the following year at Zagreb Football Club, Ponikve. His childhood idols were football icons Robert Prosinečki and Zinedine Zidane.
At the age of 17 in 2007, he signed with Dinamo Zagreb after he has played his youth career in NK Zagreb. He played his first season in his senior career on loan with Dinamo’s affiliate Lokomotiva in a bid to gain first-team experience at the senior level. While there, he appeared in 28 games for the team and scored 7 goals in the Croatian Third League.
His rare talent was discovered in no time that he was compared to Luka Modric and was spotted as a possible replacement for the Croatia national team’s powerhouse, Luka who left the club in 2008 to join Tottenham Hotspur. Consequently, Milan joined the club first team.
Having established himself as a key player, he played his first match for Dinamo Zagreb in Champions League qualifier against Northern Irish club Linfield and made his domestic debut in the opening match of the 2008-09 season against HNK Rijeka where he scored the first goal in a 2-1 victory. The season ended with him making 31 domestic appearances and 12 UEFA Cup appearances. He was voted Croatian Football Hope of the Year in 2009.
Milan Badelj continued with his form, establishing himself as a first-team regular for the next seasons, even captaining his team in some matches. He scored one goal in a 2–0 victory in the derby match against arch-rivals, Hajduk Split in March 2011 and was part of the Dinamo squad in reach the 2011–12 UEFA Champions League group stage for the first time in 12 years. The midfielder played in all six of Dinamo’s group stage games.
He joined the German club, Hamburger SV in August 2012 after his spell with Dinamo for a fee in the region of €4.5 million. In no time, he proved his form in the club and established himself as usual in the starting 11 and a deep-lying playmaker. He scored his first Bundesliga’s against Schalke in November 2012. After two years, Milan signed a contract for a speculated fee of €5 million with Serie A side, Fiorentina. Following the death of Davide Astoria in March 2018, he was honored to take over the captaincy of the team.
Milan refused a renewal of his contract with the Italian club following the expiration of his contract in 2018. Other Italian clubs have indicated their interest in the player including AC Milan, Lazio, and Seville but after the World Cup, however, he is set to join the Russian football club, Zenit St. Petersburg as a free agent.
He joined his national team in 2010 though he was on the bench for most of their games. He made his debut during a UEFA Euro 2012 qualifying match against Malta scoring the second goal in a 3-1 win on September 2, 2011. Milan was selected in the final 23 for the 2014 FIFA World Cup as well as was selected for UEFA Euro 2016.
He was also selected in May 2018 as part of the squad to represent his country in the final 23-man squad for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia. The midfielder scored his first goal in the game in a 2-1 victory against Iceland to put Croatia atop their group in the group stages. He made 3 appearances scoring 1 goal and given 1 assist in the tournament and even though they made it to the final, they lost 4-2 to France.
Milan Badelj Family, Parents
Milan was born to parents who are florists and a mother who was instrumental to his successful football career. His mother is Slavica Badelj and his father, Ratko Badelj. He has two siblings, a brother, and a sister and he is dating Martina, who studies at the Zagreb Academy of Music.
Height, Weight, Body Measurements
The Croatian national is 1.86 m tall and has a body weight of 76 kg. His other body measurements are unknown.