Maro Katinić is possibly the most complete U17 Croatian defensive talent of all time. The young center-back is a better player than even Joško Gvardiol was at his age, and he’s the key player to Dinamo Zagreb II’s back line.
Katinić is a versatile right-footed center-back who can cover at right-back due to his speed and technical capabilities, much like Gvardiol. He measures 186cm in height and is an absolute freight train. He plays with unmatched aggression and is capable of bullying larger and older opponents in a rough 2. HNL. He’s quick, skilled and has pin-point accuracy when distributing the ball. In his youth, Maro Katinić would play as an attacking midfielder.
He moved to Dinamo in 2019 from HNK Rijeka and has since shot up the ranks, and is looking at a potential HNL debut. In my opinion, he could be a starter for Dinamo as soon as next season, considering the lack of quality center-backs in the club right now.
Katinić is the youngest player in Dinamo’s second team squad, having only just turned 17 years old, however, he has cemented his place as a reliable starter and one of the best players this season. The Dinamo II team was hit with several COVID infections recently and so he was unable to represent Croatia at the U19 Euro qualifiers, where he would have most likely been a starter.
One key part about Katinić’s game that even Joško Gvardiol lacked until recently, is strong aerial ability. Katinić went on a streak last season where he didn’t lose a single aerial duel, despite playing against taller opponents from time to time. He had a 100% win rate. Obviously, this was not sustainable, but he still maintained a stupidly large win percentage of 90%.
Katinić is not just a hard-nosed lock down defender, he also enjoys sending his teammates off on counter-attacks with his excellently placed long balls. The attribute that makes him stand out not only in comparison to footballers his age, but to every defender in the 2. HNL, is his intelligence. He reads the game at an elite level. His positioning is almost impeccable and the timing on his tackles is, simply put, exquisite. He rarely fouls and always wins a one-on-one situation.
Katinić states that since he’s always played against larger and older opponents, he’s developed the ability to play without fear and to engage with any opponent aggressively.
Interest in the young defender is brewing with many big clubs reportedly being very interested. Katinić’s agent has spoken with many clubs abroad but is not willing to disclose who just yet. Just like Gvardiol, Katinić prefers a move to the Bundesliga, but is also interested in the Serie A. According to media reports (not fully reliable), Juventus, Fiorentina, Napoli, Atalanta, RB Salzburg, Barcelona, Wolfsburg and other undisclosed German clubs are very interested.
There is slight speculation he might be called up to the senior squad for winter training camp. Željko Kopić, the new head coach, knows him well from his time as head of the youth department, and thus we might see Katinić receive a chance with the big boys.
Seeing as we lack depth in the right-back position, having a massive talent such as Katinić, who is capable of playing there, is relieving. If Stanišić or Juranović are the ones for the future, we could see a center back selection headache between Gvardiol, Katinić, Vušković, Ćaleta-Car, Pongračić, Šutalo and Žiković. A great headache to have.
For his age he is doing incredibly well. However I dont see anything special if that makes sense. Other than he looks a mature defender at this age. Strong, quick and confident like gvardiol, but with gvardiol you could see amazing little touches and passes which was the clue to his overall football ability and incredibly high ceiling. This kid doesnt have that from what I can see. So for me he could become an excellent defender but nothing special. Gvardiol is something else
He’s also 17, not like Gvardiol was doing much tip toeing around and skilled winger-like touches at that age. Still to early to judge that.
usually kids have those skills from an early age. maybe Katinic has them but is concentrating on his work as central defender and doesnt show it. seems unlikely. If you watch the video dannyJ posted, I don’t think there is single touch or pass that says: WOW. Excellent? Yes, WOW? not really. when you watch Gvardiol, even from an early age, he was fooling strikers with cruyff turns and nutmegs. That’s just natural to him because he is that good. look at the technique with the passing. Watch the technique of Katinic when he passes the ball, it’s excellent, really accurate, good pace on the ball, great timing, but it’s basic. Gvardiol was dropping the shoulder going past his man and spraying a 40 yard pass to the opposite flank with almost no back lift to his technique, that’s just a different level. Not every defender has to be a genius on the ball. Katinic looks like he already has better concentration that some of our senior pros. His heading is amazing. He can become a top top defender, but he is not like Gvardiol. Probably a perfect partnership one day
He’s got excellent dribbling and passing for a defender. Comparing him to Gvardiol’s is unfair, since Joško is a once in a generation talent. That being said, Katinic is a better defender at 17 than Joško was. He’s more reliable, composed and aggressive. He’s got immense potential as a defender because he’s got speed, strength and awareness. Not every defender is silky like a winger, just look at some of the best defenders in the world.
In my opinion Gvardiol will be THE BEST defender in the world within a year, 2 max. He’s that good. He’s just ridiculous. One of the things about Gvardiol is his acute understanding of space. He can slow down wait for the oppostion to press then just change direction and accelerate away creating immediate overload in midfield. he is doing this age 19 in full world cup qualifiers. He is also already covering the mistakes of other far more experienced players. He is the best defensive talent I have seen. By far. Katinic? Looks like he might make the grade as a senior pro and potential national team player. I hope he does. in fact I hope he does turn out to be another Gvardiol. i hope i’m wrong. But seriously, Gvardiol is a generational talent, you can’t have loads of players at that level, it doesn’t work that way. It’s incredibly unlikely. Hope I’m wrong, but anyway, he doesn’t need to be as good as Gvardiol to be a top player for us, so it’s all good
Not disagreeing with you in any way. I rate Gvardiol as highly as you do.
100%. We agree
So I was right when (earlier in the year) I was screaming about starting Gvardiol as soon as possible?
I will never let anyone forget this hahaha.
But on a serious note, look at that progress since March.
Nobody would have even considered starting him for those March qualifiers. Maybe a callup, but not a start.
Now the kid is probably the best CB in the Bundesliga.
Kid has a bit of a Strinic look to him with the left foot- probably better at loose balls and foot speed- we’ll see what we get but a left footed defender is always a good thing.
It’s about time we get a couple of teenage prodigies who can play at senior level
I would never think they would potentially be defenders but hey we never do anything normal
The day we get a goalkeeper prodigy, is the day we win a World Cup and Euro Cup double, lol
I know it’s highlights but the kid looks dominant out there
I can see Gvardiol making a move… I don’t know about next season
But majer? He’s doing well but I do believe both should sort of stay and get minutes and experience
Majer is not a baby but he is still young and lots more ceiling
Nice and easy for both of them
I guess Madrid is like we need more Croats pronto
I’m sure luka tells them who to go for….
Both Gvardiol and Majer should stay about 3-4 years at their current clubs then look somewhere else when they are more prepared.
Gvardiol will be gone in another year or two. He’s gotten a lot of exposure and he’s got all the desired tools for a modern CB (as well as being extremely young).
He’s a big Liverpool fan, so he’ll go there unless a huge offer comes from a bigger club like Real.
I see those two teams as his likeliest landing spots.
We need to give a big congrats to Gabriel Boric, of Croatian roots and the 35 year old new president of Chile. A former student organizer he is able to bring Croatian concepts of socialism and abortion rights to South America. Cestitke!
I knew abortion rights would have something to do with the communist/globalist serving Croats (Yugoslavs), thanks for clearing that up!
Yes absolutely. All the best to Boric
Hope he pans out!!!
I think one of the differences between the likes of gvardiol and potentially this kid is they have size and strength to go along with the talent
When you saw the coric, balic, halilovic(yes I know they are diff positions) but you see the difference in body type
Not all can be like luka
You see a kid like kacavenda he is small but strong
Speaking of how he is doing?
He is my pick for making the repka in a couple years
Šime Vrsaljko rumored to be in talks with Hajduk now. Do Hajduk actually need him though? Imagine if he signs and with Subasic, Livaja, Vrsaljko, Melnjak, Katic and Krovinovic – they still finish 3rd/4th!? 😂 e moj Hajduce
Can they still blame Mamic? lmao
I think all these guys that are failing abroad and ending up at Hajduk is an injustice to their younger kids.
Livaja is good for the HNL and probably the only guy I can see that increases Hajduk’s value as a club. Krovinovic is still young and if they see him as their future then thats great for them (he’s nothing special).
Lovre Kalinic is Hajduk’s starting goalie so I don’t see why they brought in Suba even as a backup…seems selfish of him and silly that some younger goalie has to wait longer for his chance.
Sime is and has been a walking injury for several years. Again, I can’t see why Hajduk would want him, he’s damaged good’s, he’s already had a decent career and my worry would be that he’d be taking some kids spot while he’s always getting injured.
Signing older players that can’t make it somewhere in a top league in Europe comes across as a very bad investment if you ask me. You’re giving them a pay-cheque, sitting a younger players and the repercussions of these decisions could hurt the club at the development level.
As much as I despise Torcida and as much as I’m sick and tired of Hajduk fans not accepting responsibility for their abysmal records over these past several years…I do like their players and I want them to keep developing and playing regular minutes…progressing into good professionals.
Sime Vrsaljko hasn’t been ok since the World Cup…and prior to the World Cup he had injury issues as well!
Hajduk has always had great players but one of their biggest issues has been they sell them young…and cheap. Let these older players that are approaching the end of their careers find some other club to collect a pay-cheque from and only if they really are at the level of Livaja…and similair age should they be considered.
While Dinamo develops and plans to promote Maro Katinić…
Hajduk is shopping for vets who will likely be released by their clubs due to injury and form.
I like some of the steps Hajduk have made this past year, but they’re still making some stupid decisions.
Personally, I like Vrsaljko and I find it hard to believe that he’d take a big step back like this in his career.
My guess is that he’ll just use Hajduk to get back into form, then bail the first chance he gets.
If it’s not this, then maybe his knee issues are much worse than we think, and he’s just trying to salvage whatever career he has left.
Really surprising considering that Vrsaljko was just roundly praised for putting Atleti on his back while playing with a broken chin until they scored a goal in the last match he played! I agree that he gets injured too much to be considered a reliable top-level player, but the minutes he has played this year actually got him back into a starting role at Atletico, even if it has been cut short again by injury. Maybe he just wants to take it easier in the future so that he isn’t always hurting himself in the name of competition
Fantastic information…thanks Markus, you’re a valuable member to this site!
I need more messengers here ~
to tell the truth about -> how stupid Dalic is
we will get stuck with him till 2024 Euro
| we need a revelation – for the 2nd coming
this shit guy blocks us for that movement |
I say we give him his first full cap during an actual tournament.
Keep the streak going.
@Maminjo No, we don’t need to do that to Katinic as we have seen it with Gvardiol at Euro 2020. Dalic stuck him out of position with no preparation when going into the Euros and he was getting criticised by everyone.
If they throw Katinic into an actual tournament with no minutes or minimal game time with the Vatreni, it’s going to be Gvardiol all over again from Euro 2020.
The Savez have to be smarter than that with our youth now as there is so much potential there with the likes of Sucic, Simic, Katinic, Vuskovic etc. We have to gradually let them gel with players like Sosa, Modric, Majer and Gvardiol and build some understanding around those type of players.
If they can, Dalic should consider them in the starting 11 and potentially getting called-up in the big tournaments.
Great points, but Maminjo was being sarcastic lol. He’s like that.
Damn it, I thought I was going somewhere with that.
I think Maminjo was kidding about Katinić getting his first full cap in a major tournament, and did so for the reasons you have pointed out that it should not happen.
I like that you and this website have brought to light the great potential we have up and coming- the future looks bright!
You know what….
I think I want to double down on this.
I say we cap him for the first time BUT during penalty kicks in a tournament.
Sub him in right before the end of extra time and have him slotted at #5 in PKs.
Easily a better option 😂
And just like Gvardiol, he will be stuck out of position when he gets to senior level at Dinamo and possibly his first few appearance for the Vatreni until the coaches realise he is a centre-back.
But on the other hand, it is exciting to see this potential but we have to stay patient and Katinic needs to stay grounded.
Saw his article on transfermarkt yesterday. Seems like a solid up and comer.