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NK Rijeka

Full name Hrvatski Nogometni Klub Rijeka
Nickname(s) Riječki bijeli
(The Rijeka's White)
Founded 1926 (as U.S. Fiumana)
1946 (as NK Kvarner)
Ground Stadion Kantrida, Rijeka
Ground Capacity 12,600[1]
Owner Social Sport Foundation (70%), City of Rijeka 30%
Chairman Croatia Damir Mišković
Manager Slovenia Matjaž Kek
League 1. HNL
2012–13 1. HNL, 3rd
Website Club home page
Home colours
Away colours
Third colours
Current season

HNK Rijeka is a Croatian football club, from Rijeka on the Croatian coast, competing in Croatia's MAXtv Prva Liga and the group stage of the 2013–14 UEFA Europa League.


The club was founded as NK Kvarner in 1946, after Rijeka (known by its Italian name Fiume up to 1945) passed from Italy to Yugoslavia following the end of World War II. Some dispute this and claim that the club's roots date back to 1926, the founding of U.S. Fiumana, which competed in various levels of the Italian Football Championship, including a season in the top tier competition (Divisione Nazionale) in 1928. Their claim is backed by the fact that there is a clear continuity between the two clubs. For example, besides using the same grounds (Stadion Kantrida), as many as eight U.S. Fiumana players later played for NK Kvarner.[2]

During its early period in Yugoslavia, the club had moderate success in various Yugoslav and local club championships. It changed its name to NK Rijeka on 3 June 1954, and advanced to the Yugoslav First League in the 1957–58 season. It remained in the top tier until the 1969–70 season, when it got relegated to the Second League. It topped that league many times but it wasn't until 1973–74 when it returned to the First League, where it would remain until the breakup of Yugoslavia.

Rijeka won the Yugoslav Cup in 1978 and 1979, was a runner-up in 1987, won the Croatian Cup in 2005 and in 2006, and was a runner-up in 1994. Rijeka was also the best placed Croatian club in the Yugoslav First League in 1965, 1984, and 1987. On numerous occasions, Rijeka participated in various UEFA competitions. Although it never advanced to the final stages of the competition, Rijeka played against some of the biggest clubs in the European football. The most notable results in Europe have been home wins against Real Madrid in 1984 and Stuttgart in 2013, a home draw against Juventus in 1980, and an away draw against Stuttgart, which secured Rijeka participation in the group stage of the 2013–14 UEFA Europa League.

Rijeka has been playing in the Prva HNL since the independence of Croatia in 1991, generally finishing near the top. Notably, it finished second in 1999 and 2006 and third in 2004, 2009 and 2013. Due to many format changes of the league, Rijeka has played more games in the competition than any other team. In the 2004–05 season, its player Tomislav Erceg was the top scorer of the Prva HNL with 17 goals. Leon Benko was the league's top scorer during the 2012–13 season of the Prva HNL with 18 goals.

In February 2012, Gabriele Volpi, an Italian businessman and oil magnate, and also the owner of Spezia Calcio and Pro Recco, injected the much needed capital into the club. With the privatization process complete in September 2013, Volpi, through Social Sport Foundation, became the owner of 70 percent of the club, with the City of Rijeka in control of the remaining 30 percent.[3]


Further information: Adriatic derby

Rijeka's greatest rivalry is with Hajduk Split. Adriatic derby is contested between the two most popular Croatian football clubs coming from Adriatic coast, Rijeka and Hajduk. Each new match between these two great rivals, means a great match on the field, but also in the stands between Rijeka's Armada and Split's Torcida.

Other rivalries exist with Dinamo Zagreb, and on regional level with Istra Pula. The origins of Rijeka-Pula rivalry date back to the clashes between U.S. Fiumana and G.S.F. Grion Pola since the late 1920s.

Further information: Rijeka city derby

There is also a city rivalry with NK Orijent. The rivalry dates back to the time when the western part of the city, Fiume, was part of Italy and the eastern part of the city, Sušak, part of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia. Between 1932 and 1940 U.S. Fiumana and NK Orijent played 10 games, with Fiumana winning 9 and Orijent 1 game.[4] Numerous Rijeka city derbies were contested after World War II, and particularly when both clubs were competing in the Yugoslav Second League between 1969 and 1973. Out of 14 league games, Rijeka won 11, Orijent won 1, with 2 games ending in a draw. The last city derby took place during the 1996–97 season of Prva HNL, the only season in which Orijent played in the same tier as Rijeka since 1972–73.


NK Rijeka play their home matches at Stadion Kantrida, which can hold 12,600 spectators. The plans are currently being drawn up to build a new stadium on current grounds.


The fans are known as Armada Rijeka.

First-team squad

As of 10 September 2013.[5]

Note: Flags indicate national team as has been defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
1 Croatia GK Ivan Mance
4 Slovenia DF Matija Škarabot
5 Croatia DF Captain)
6 Croatia DF Niko Datković
7 Bosnia and Herzegovina MF Mehmed Alispahić
8 Croatia FW Goran Mujanović
9 Croatia FW Danijel Cesarec
10 Croatia MF Anas Sharbini
11 Croatia MF Ivan Tomečak
12 Croatia GK Dino Raspor
13 Croatia MF Marko Lešković
14 Croatia DF Ivan Boras
15 Croatia DF Matej Mitrović
16 Croatia MF Ivan Močinić
17 Nigeria FW Goodness Ohriemen Ajayi
No. Position Player
19 Croatia FW Leon Benko
20 Bosnia and Herzegovina MF Zoran Kvržić
21 Bosnia and Herzegovina MF Damir Zlomislić
23 Croatia DF Luka Marić
24 Croatia DF Mateo Bertoša
25 Croatia GK Ivan Vargić
26 Croatia MF Mate Maleš
27 Croatia MF Nikola Pokrivač
29 Croatia MF Domagoj Pušić
30 Croatia MF Josip Brezovec
33 Croatia FW Ivan Krstanović
50 Croatia DF Ricardo Bagadur
89 Croatia MF Vedran Jugović
91 Croatia FW Andrej Kramarić
TBD Nigeria MF Aliyu Okechukwu

Out on loan

As of 2 September 2013.[6]

Note: Flags indicate national team as has been defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
Croatia GK Simon Sluga (at NK Pomorac Kostrena)
Croatia GK Carlo Berković (at NK Naprijed Hreljin)
Nigeria DF Jamilu Collins (at NK Pomorac Kostrena)
Croatia DF Mato Miloš (at Italy A.C. Siena)
Croatia DF Mato Neretljak (at NK Zadar)
Croatia MF Matej Mršić (at NK Pomorac Kostrena)
Croatia MF Toni Datković (at NK Pomorac Kostrena)
Croatia MF Diego Živulić (at NK Pomorac Kostrena)
No. Position Player
Croatia MF Dean Polić (at NK Pomorac Kostrena)
Croatia MF Drago Gabrić (at Slovenia NK Domžale)
Croatia MF Mihovil Klapan (at Italy Spezia Calcio)
Croatia MF Antonini Čulina (at Italy Spezia Calcio)
Croatia MF Florian Fumić (at Italy Spezia Calcio)
Croatia FW Toni Jović (at NK Krk)
Croatia FW Armando Mance (at NK Pomorac Kostrena)
Croatia FW Josip Tadić (at NK Zadar)

Current technical staff

Position Staff
Director of football Srećko Juričić
Team manager Radoslav Ljepojević
Manager Matjaž Kek
Assistant manager Matjaž Florjančič
Vjekoslav Miletić
Fitness coach Ugo Maranza
Goalkeeping coach Siniša Ćaleta
Scout Ranko Buketa
Academy director Predrag Stilinović

Last updated: 1 April 2013
Source: [1]

Notable players

For a list of many former and current HNK Rijeka players, see Category:HNK Rijeka players.
To appear in this section a player must have:
  • Played at least 100 league games for the club;
  • Scored at least 20 league goals for the club if forward, 10 if midfielder and no goal requirement if defender or goalkeeper; and
  • Played at least one international match for their national team while playing for Rijeka.
  • Otherwise, also included are twenty of the club's top scorers and most capped players in the first division.

All Time Best 11

According to a 2005–07 survey of former players (older than 40 years of age) and respected journalists, Marinko Lazzarich found that the best all time team of Rijeka is as follows:

1. Jantoljak, 2. Milevoj, 3. Hrstić, 4. Radaković, 5. Radin, 6. Juričić, 7. Lukarić, 8. Gračan, 9. Osojnak, 10. Naumović, 11. Desnica.[7]

Rijeka's daily, Novi List, in 2011 declared the following 11 players as Rijeka's best all time team:

1. Jantoljak, 2. Šarić, 3. Radin, 4. Juričić, 5. Hrstić, 6. Loik, 7. Radaković, 8. Mladenović, 9. Naumović, 10. Skoblar, 11. Desnica.[8]

Managerial history

For a list of many former and current HNK Rijeka managers, see Category:HNK Rijeka managers.

  • Croatia Josip Kuže (March 12, 2007–June 4, 2007)
  • Croatia Zlatko Dalić (June 1, 2007–June 30, 2008)
  • Croatia Mladen Ivančić (July 7, 2008–Oct 8, 2008)
  • Croatia Stjepan Ostojić (interim) (Oct 4, 2008–Oct 13, 2008)
  • Croatia Robert Rubčić (Oct 13, 2008–Sept 21, 2009)
  • Croatia Zoran Vulić (Sept 22, 2009–Nov 10, 2009)
  • Croatia Nenad Gračan (Nov 10, 2009–Nov 6, 2010)
  • Croatia Elvis Scoria (Nov 7, 2010–June 16, 2011)
  • Croatia Alen Horvat (June 20, 2011–Oct 4, 2011)
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina Ivo Ištuk (Oct 4, 2011–March 18, 2012)
  • Croatia Dragan Skočić (March 19, 2012–April 30, 2012)
  • Croatia Mladen Ivančić (interim) (April 30, 2012–May 2, 2012)
  • Croatia Elvis Scoria (May 2, 2012–Feb 24, 2013)
  • Slovenia Matjaž Kek (Feb 27, 2013–)


  • Dr. Ljudevit Sošić, 1946
  • Giovanni Cucera, 1946–1948
  • Ambrosio Stečić, 1948–1952
  • Dr. Zdravko Kučić, 1953–1954
  • Milorad Doričić, 1955–1956
  • Milan Blažević, 1957–1959
  • Stjepan Koren, 1960–1963
  • Milorad Doričić, 1964–1969
  • Vilim Mulc, 1969–1971
  • Davor Sušanj, 1971
  • Ljubo Španjol, 1973–1977
  • Zvonko Poščić, 1978–1979

  • Nikola Jurčević, 1980
  • Marijan Glavan, 1981
  • Davor Sušanj, 1981–1984
  • Stjepko Gugić, 1985–1986
  • Dragan Krčelić, 1986–1989
  • Želimir Gruičić, 1989–1991
  • Darko Čargonja, 1991–1992
  • Josip Lokmer, 1993–1994
  • Krsto Pavić, 1994–1995
  • Hrvoje Šarinić, 1995–1996
  • Franjo Šoda, 1996–1997
  • Prof. Žarko Tomljanović, 1997–2000

  • Hrvoje Šarinić, Dr. Ivan Vanja Frančišković, Robert Ježić, 2000
  • Robert Ježić, 2000
  • Sanjin Kirigin, 2000–2002
  • Duško Grabovac, 2002–2003
  • Robert Ježić, 2003–2008
  • Dr. Ivan Vanja Frančišković, 2008–2009
  • Ivan Turčić, 2009–2011
  • Robert Komen, 2011–2012
  • Damir Mišković, 2012–

Seasons and Records

Further information: List of HNK Rijeka seasons
Further information: List of HNK Rijeka records



UEFA club coefficient ranking

(As of 24 October 2013), Source: Bert Kassies website

Rank Team Points
220 Romania Petrolul Ploiești 6.801
220 Romania Gaz Metan Mediaș 6.801
223 Croatia HNK Rijeka 6.775
224 Belarus Dinamo Minsk 6.725
225 Greece AE Larissa 6.620

European record

By competition

Competition Pld W D L GF GA Last season played
UEFA Champions League 2 0 0 2 1 6 1999–2000
UEFA Europa League
29 11 6 12 43 39 2013–14
UEFA Cup Winners' Cup 10 3 3 4 8 9 1979–80
UEFA Intertoto Cup 4 1 1 2 3 5 2008
Total 45 15 10 20 55 59

Source:, Last updated on 25 October 2013
Pld = Matches played; W = Matches won; D = Matches drawn; L = Matches lost; GF = Goals for; GA = Goals against. Defunct competitions indicated in italics.

By ground

Ground Pld W D L GF GA GD
Home 22 13 5 4 41 21 +20
Away 23 2 5 16 14 38 −24
Total 45 15 10 20 55 59 −4

Source:, Last updated on 25 October 2013
Pld = Matches played; W = Matches won; D = Matches drawn; L = Matches lost; GF = Goals for; GA = Goals against.

By season

Season Competition Round Opponent Home Away Agg.
1962–63 Intertoto Cup Group
West Germany Rot-Weiß Oberhausen 2–1 3–4
Switzerland Basel 5–1 2–2
Netherlands PSV Eindhoven 3–1 3–2
QF Hungary Dozsa Pecs 2–2 1–2 3–4
1965–66 Intertoto Cup Group
East Germany Motor Jena 0–3 1–3
Czechoslovakia Tatran Prešov 0–0 1–3
Poland Szombierki Bytom 0–3 1–0
1974–75 Mitropa Cup Group
Hungary Tatabánya 3–1 1–3
Austria Wacker Innsbruck 1–3 0–0
1977–78 Intertoto Cup Group
Denmark Frem Kobenhavn 2–2 0–2
Poland Ruch Chorzów 0–1 4–2
Austria Grazer AK 1–1 3–0
1978 Balkans Cup Group
Albania Skënderbeu Korçë 6–0 0–1
Greece Aris Thessaloniki 2–0 2–1
F Romania Jiul Petroşani 4–1 0–1 4–2
1978–79 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup R1 Wales Wrexham 3–0 0–2 3–2
R2 Belgium Beveren 0–0 0–2 0–2
1979–80 Balkans Cup Group
Greece PAS Giannina 2–1 3–1
Albania Partizani Tirana 3–0 1–4
F Romania Sportul Studențesc București 1–1 0–2 1–3
1979–80 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup R1 Belgium Germinal Beerschot 2–1 0–0 2–1
R2 Czechoslovakia Lokomotiva Košice 3–0 0–2 3–2
QF Italy Juventus 0–0 0–2 0–2
1984–85 UEFA Cup R1 Spain Valladolid 4–1 0–1 4–2
R2 Spain Real Madrid 3–1 0–3 3–4
1985–86 Mitropa Cup SF Hungary Debreceni 0–1
3rd Place Czechoslovakia Sigma Olomouc 3–2
1986–87 UEFA Cup R1 Belgium Standard Liege 0–1 1–1 1–2
1999–2000 UEFA Champions League QR2 Federal Republic of Yugoslavia Partizan 0–3 1–3 1–6
2000–01 UEFA Cup QR Malta Valletta 3–2 5–4 (aet) 8–6
R1 Spain Celta Vigo 0–1 (aet) 0–0 0–1
2002 UEFA Intertoto Cup R1 Republic of Ireland St Patrick's Athletic 3–2 0–1 3–3 (a)
2004–05 UEFA Cup QR2 Turkey Gençlerbirliği 2–1 0–1 2–2 (a)
2005–06 UEFA Cup QR2 Bulgaria Litex Lovech 2–1 0–1 2–2 (a)
2006–07 UEFA Cup QR1 Cyprus Omonia 2–2 1–2 3–4
2008 UEFA Intertoto Cup R1 Republic of Macedonia Renova 0–0 0–2 0–2
2009–10 UEFA Europa League QR2 Luxembourg Differdange 3–0 0–1 3–1
QR3 Ukraine Metalist Kharkiv 1–2 0–2 1–4
2013–14 UEFA Europa League QR2 Wales Prestatyn Town 5–0 3–0 8–0
QR3 Slovakia Žilina 2–1 1–1 3–2
PO Germany Stuttgart 2–1 2–2 4–3
Group I Portugal Vitória de Guimarães 0–4
Spain Real Betis 1–1
France Lyon 0–1

Last updated on 25 October 2013.
Note: List includes matches played in competitions not endorsed by UEFA.
Match played at neutral ground in Pisa, Italy.

Player records


External links

  • (Croatian)
  • Armada Rijeka official website
  • HNK Rijeka fansite

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