Almost a third of the way through the season, LASK’s Marin Ljubičić continues to prove his nose for goal as he bags two in today’s match versus Austria Klagenfurt. This puts his tally to nine goals and two assists in 10 league matches, as well as the four he scored in his two Austrian cup appearances. Ljubičić has recorded a goal contribution every 51 minutes this season, an absolutely astonishing feat. Keep in mind, he’s also missed four big chances this season, so he could definitely be scoring more, which is proof of his incredible ability to find open areas of the pitch.
Now, with no solidified striking option, Croatians around the globe have been debating over who to start, or even who to bring on the flight to Qatar. Although it may be a longshot, it’s worth noting Ljubičić’s incredible output in a decent European league. Keep in mind, he’s doing this on a team like LASK, who is no Redbull Salzburg. For comparison, Salzburg’s “wonderkid” and Slovenian international Benjamin Šeško has only recorded three goals in the Austria Bundesliga, despite receiving the best service and support in the league.
In my opinion, Ljubičić has proven himself a hopeful prospect and potential successor to some great strikers Croatia has fielded in the past. However, the World Cup is just a month away and throwing Ljubičić in with no preparation or chemistry with the national squad is a huge mistake. His time will come, but it is too soon for a young and still developing player to be expected to carry the weight of an entire (and very passionate) nation in the biggest sporting event the world has ever seen, with a lack of preparation. His poor play back at Hajduk reflects that he’s still not accustomed to heavy pressure and high expectation football.
Marin Ljubičić is a top talent, and Croatia’s most in-form striker (alongside Antonio Čolak). Do YOU believe he should be on the plane to Qatar in T-minus 36 days?