EuroStars: Josip Skoblar/Croatia

EuroStars: Josip Skoblar/Croatia

Publish on 05/29 at 15:42 - G. BOXALL


As the 2024 European Championships get closer, we're focussing on a player from each of the 24 countries participating (except for France). In our second article of the series, we'll be focussing on Marseille & Croatia legend Josip Skoblarโ€ฆ

We head to the South and Marseille in this edition of EuroStars, where we'll be exploring the story of Yugoslav and Croatian forward's rise to becoming what some fans consider Olympique de Marseille's best-ever goalscorer.

Born 12 March 1941 in Zadar, Skoblar joined Marseille in 1966. Josip signed with Hanover but his contract was not approved and he could not play with the German club. OM and Hanover however agreed on the loan of Josip Skoblar to the Southern side until the end of the season. It's safe to say the forward quickly made an impression…

WATCH: Josip Skoblar's legendary goals with Marseille

With 13 goals in six months, Skoblar left the club to return to his parent club in Hanover. Yet, two years later he was brought back to Marseille at the end of his contract, where he embarked on a goal-laden ascension with Les Olympiens to become the club's second best all-time goalscorer with 175 goals between the periods of 1966-1967 and 1969-1974.

Known as a finisher with deadly instinct, Skoblar was renowned for his powerful low strikes in front of goal. He won the Golden Shoe in 1971, with a goal against Gornik in the European Cup to qualify OM for a clash against Johan Cruyff's Ajax. He scored 44 goals in the 1970-1971 season when Marseille won the first division before embarking on a historic cup/championship double in 1972. He finished top scorer in Ligue 1 in 1971, 1972 and 1973 and scored 100 goals in his first 100 games played with OM. In seven seasons at OM, he scored four times twice, 8 hat tricks and 36 braces.

'I'm privileged compared to other great OM players'

"I'm privileged compared to other great players who have also passed through OM," said the legend in an interview with La Provence in 2014. "Maybe it's because they weren't as attached to the city as I am. It happened straight away: every time I left, I came back." The Croatian says he is "really attached" to the city of Marseille. "You can feel the respect, even from people I'm not close to. It means that I've left something to this city. That's a pleasure."

At the international level, Skoblar represented Yugoslavia from 1961 up until 1967 - scoring 11 goals in 32 games for his nation. He notably travelled to the World Cup 1962 in Chile, where his nation managed to reach the semi-finals stage, losing out to Czechoslovakia by a scoreline of 3-1.

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