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Croatian adventure on FIFA World Cup 2018 is inspiration to many. The team’s skill and passion can’t be ignored and the group became a favorite to many nations across the globe. Mario Mandzukic is the name often mentioned when talking about Croatian team. The striker has been responsible for many victories, scoring both goals and assists. Here are four things that you probably don’t know about this skilful player.

Boris Kovacev / CROPIX

Child of Slavonia

Mandzukic was born in Slavonski Brod, a Croatian city in Brodsko-Posavska County, Slavonia Region. The settlement was founded during Roman Period and was known as Marsonia. The city’s landmark is a Baroque fort called Tvrdava Brod, built in 18th century and currently being one of the largest of the kind in Europe. In 2009, Slavonski Brod was proclaimed the most beautiful city in Croatia according to country’s Tourist Office Board.

Tom Dubravec / CROPIX

Fleeing from War

Mario’s childhood was spent in Odzak, a town in the neighboring Bosnia Herzegovina. When Balkan wars erupted in early 90’s, Mandzukic family fled to distant city of Ditzigen in Germany. Mario’s father begun to play soccer for a local team, and his son soon followed him in his steps. Once the war ended, the family returned to Slavonski Brod where Mario begun his professional career.

Tom Dubravec / CROPIX

Unwanted Nickname

Mario’s ability was noticed by Miroslav Blazevic, a soccer expert widely known for his success with Croatian national team on FIFA World Cup 1998. He promoted Mandzukic who eventually became a player for Dinamo Zagreb. Blazevic nicknamed Mario “dilkos”, which is a word used to describe a village lout. The title was given because Mario displayed certain individualism and specific attitude when playing. However, the player didn’t like the nickname very much and kindly asked members of the press not to address him in this way in publications.  Today, Mandzukic is usually referred to as “Mandzo” or as Nintendo character “Super Mario”.

Spending Summer in Croatia

Mandzukic knows how to spend summer vacation. He owns a luxurious villa on Adriatic shoreline, and doesn’t seem interested to leave his homeland once summer season reaches its peak. You can find Mandzo enjoying Croatian outdoors on Island Brac, in the romantic settlement of Bobovisca.

These were four things you probably didn’t know about Mario Mandzukic. The famous player will certainly continue to impress us with his skill, and earn even more points for Croatia in the future.

Feature Photo: Tom Dubravec / CROPIX

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