Gvardiol is currently the most expensive Croatian footballer of all time. CIES Football Observatory has him valued at 87.3 million Euros (100 million USD). Gvardiol is one of the most sought after center-backs in world football. He has the best dribble success rate in the entire Bundesliga, including forwards and midfielders, at 74%. Real Madrid, Liverpool, Chelsea, Tottenham and numerous other clubs have expressed extreme interest in his services. Safe to say that Joško ‘Pep’ Gvardiol will keep the Vatreni’s defense secure for the next decade and a half.
Joško Gvardiol stats this season:
- 17 appearances
- 1 goal, 2 assists
- 4 big chances created
Joško Gvardiol stats in comparison to other center-backs in the top 5 leagues:
- 99th percentile in dribbles completed
- 98th percentile in total shots
- 96th percentile in assists
- 96th percentile in progressive passes completed
- 95th percentile in pressuring opposing players
- 95th percentile in shot-creating actions
- 95th percentile in touches in attacking penalty area
- 94th percentile in progressive passes
- 93rd percentile in tackles
- 93rd percentile in interceptions
- 89th percentile in progressive carries
- 86th percentile in attempted passes
- 62nd percentile in blocks
- 39th percentile in aerials won
- 4th percentile in clearances
As made evident, Gvardiol’s only astoundingly low stat is clearances, which isn’t necessarily bad, proving that he is calm and more decisive on the ball. He’d rather make a pass or carry the ball up the pitch than to clear it. These stats demonstrate that Gvardiol is one of the most well-rounded defenders in world football. He is in the 90+ percentile for almost all of these categories.
To those who are still skeptical or uncertain about Gvardiol’s current level, I’ve compared these stats with David Alaba, a similar center-back to Joško Gvardiol.
Gvardiol beats Alaba out in 11 of these categories, and Alaba beats Gvardiol in 6, most of which being the goals and assists categories.
Still not convinced? Let’s compare him to two of world football’s best center-backs, Virgil Van Dijk and Ruben Dias.
Gvardiol 13 – Van Dijk 4
Gvardiol 14 – Dias 4
Now, I’m not saying these stats prove that Gvardiol is better than VVD or Dias just yet, but they are suggesting that he is already on the level of football’s best defenders. Statistically, he outclasses them. With some experience, Gvardiol can be the best defender in the world one day.
Luka Sučić is now the 6th most valuable teenager outside of Europe’s top 5 leagues. He is worth 13.5 million Euros (15.45 million USD). According to PassIT Rankings, Sučić is ready to perform at the high level of any of the top 5 European leagues. A rating of over 100 (taking into account the player’s various statistics and performances) deems a player worthy of performing in a top 5 league. Above 150 indicates that they would be a top player in any one of these leagues. Sučić currently has 143.33 points and we’re only at the halfway point of the season. Last year, Sučić had 109.88 points in the entire year. This shows he is improving well and on the right path as a young footballer.
Luka Sučić has also stated to germanijak.hr that his dream is to play for Hajduk one day. Could we see Luka 2.0 in a Hajduk shirt at the end of his career?
Luka Sučić stats in comparison to other midfielders in the top 5 leagues:
- 93rd percentile in total shots
- 86th percentile in progressive passes completed
- 85th percentile in pressuring opposing players
- 82nd percentile in shot-creating actions
- 82nd percentile in non-penalty expected goals
- 75th percentile in dribbles completed
- 72nd percentile in blocks
- 69th percentile in touches in attacking penalty area
- 54th percentile in progressive carries
- 49th percentile in aerials won
- 39th percentile in progressive passes
Do not be alarmed at Sučić’s oddly low progressive pass ranking. The more important number is the amount of completed progressive passes. This means, Sučić attempts less progressive passes than 61% of midfielders in the top 5 leagues, however, when he does attempt them, he completes them more often than 86% of all midfielders.
Sučić’s stats may seem low in comparison to Gvardiol’s, however that is simply because of how astonishing Gvardiol is, and not because Sučić is underwhelming. We can see from these stats that, in fact, Sučić is actually performing better than most top 5 league midfielders.
German club Eintracht Frankfurt has just bought Rijeka defender Hrvoje Smolčić for an incredibly cheap price of 2.5 million Euros. Smolčić is a left-sided central-defender that can play left-back if needed, like Gvardiol, and also Rijeka’s captain at the young age of 21. Smolčić is a very mature and underrated defender; he is extremely composed, rarely makes mistakes. Smolčić is just another solid player to add to the National Team’s center-back depth.
Hrvoje Smolčić stats in comparison to all players in the 1. HNL:
- 11.55 recoveries per 90 (90+ percentile)
- 11.26 progressive passes per 90 (95+ percentile)
- 56.52 passes per 90 (90+ percentile)
- 86.55% pass accuracy (85+ percentile)
- 25.73 forward passes per 90 (100th percentile, meaning he has the most in the entire league)
- 8.14 passes to final third per 90 (85+ percentile)
Majer has been fantastic this season for Stade Rennais in Ligue 1. See below a graph assessing the creativity and ball turnovers of all midfielders in Ligue 1.
Lovro Majer stats in comparison to other midfielders in the top 5 leagues:
- 99th percentile in assists
- 99th percentile in expected assists
- 98th percentile in non-penalty expected goals + expected assists
- 97th percentile in shot-creating actions
- 95th percentile in total shots
- 95th percentile in dribbles completed
- 94th percentile in progressive carries
- 90th percentile in progressive passes completed
- 89th percentile in touches in attacking penalty area
- 88th percentile in pressuring opposing players
- 66th percentile in non-penalty goals
- 46th percentile in progressive passes attempted
Gabriel Vidović resumed individual training two days ago after recovering from a cold, and will be in Bayern Munich’s first team squad ahead of the match against Koln. Expect the youngster to make an appearance in the match.
Vidović has been Bayern Munich II’s best player this season, and many Bayern fans such as myself have fallen in love with the player. Vidović is touted as a top 3 talent in the entire Bayern academy, including amazing players like Musiala, A. Ibrahimović, Motika, Wanner, Zvonarek, etc.
Vidović has 13 goals and 7 assists in 20 matches this season (17.5 calculated games). Meaning, Vidović puts up 1.14 G/A per 90 minutes as a midfielder. He’s also extremely versatile and can play CM, AM, LM, LW and CF.
Vidović is currently valued at $3.15 million USD, but expect this number to skyrocket when he plays more minutes with the first team.
Hajduk’s Marko Brkljača was named a top 15 2004 born wonderkid in the world! (SMG) He seems to be currently ranked number 5 or 6 on this list, behind amazing talents like Gavi, Youssoufa Moukoko and Luka Romero.
Brkljača is currently good enough to be in Hajduk’s first team squad and should push for a starting role as soon as next season.
As you can see, Brkljača cut his hair, probably got tired of all the Modrić references.
Vušković’s strange move to the second division of German football seemed questionable at first, as he had trouble cracking Hamburger SV’s starting XI, but lately he’s been amazing. Arguably Hamburg’s best player of late, Vušković is nicknamed ‘The Croatian Wall’ by his teammates. Look to see him continue his solid play for the former German top-flight club and potentially help his team be promoted to the Bundesliga. Bundesliga football would be excellent for him next season.
Dion Drena Beljo
The 6 foot 5 Osijek loanee has been killing it with Istra this season, putting up 11 goals and 4 assists in 21 games. Expect him to be back with Osijek next year and hopefully put up even better numbers with a stronger supporting cast.
Other youngsters worth mention:
Martin Baturina and Marko Bulat from Dinamo need to seal themselves a starting position. They’ve been operating in rotation/ super sub roles lately but have proven themselves better than certain teammates like Mišić, Gojak and Tolić. Hopefully Dinamo’s new manager gives them more playing time. Josip Šutalo seems to be cementing himself a starting role with the Modri and should he continue to progress, we may have yet another good defensive gem on our hands.
Stipe Biuk and Marin Ljubičić from Hajduk have been decent this season, but need to take the next step. Ljubičić needs to cement himself as a starting striker for Hajduk and Biuk needs to improve his scoring output. He’s been a solid performer this year but just isn’t producing enough.