While Morocco hogged all the limelight as the biggest underdogs at the 2022 FIFA World Cup, another nation scripted a remarkable story of their own. Croatia, who has managed to turn heads by reaching the final of the 2018 FIFA World Cup, reached the final four in Qatar. In doing so, they knocked out heavy favourites such as Brazil which is an incredible rise for a nation which just got independence in 1991. It was the last major tournament for the Croatian golden generation. However, a new breed of talented players is coming out of the nation. And Luka Vuskovic is the latest one to come out.
The 16-year-old has been touted as another wunderkind to come out of a nation that has produced significant talents such as the Red Bull Leipzpig’s Josko Gvardiol and the Red Bull Salzburg duo of forward Roko Simic and midfielder Luka Sucic.
The rise of players such as Luka Vuskovic shows that Croatia is here to stay as one of the top teams in world football. But who is Luka Vuskovic, and how good is he?
Who is Luka Vuskovic?
Luka Vuskovic was born in Split, Croatia, on February 24, 2007. He joined the academy of Hajduk Split at an early age and has been there ever since. His talent was first seen at the under-15 club side, where his impressive performance led to him being called to the national youth team. Vuskovic would play two matches for the Croatian under-15 squad against Belarus and Russia.
In 2021-22 he would get promoted top both at the club and country level to the under 16, making three appearances for the national team against Armenia, Greece, and Slovenia. However, it has been the current season where Vuskovic’s performances have been seen and admired across Europe.
In September last year, he played in a friendly match against Urania, marking his first appearance for the senior team. And his professional debut would come just two months later in one of the season’s biggest matches against powerhouses Dinamo Zagreb.
On top of that, he has also been playing for the youth sides in the league and UEFA Youth League.
🇭🇷 Luka Vuskovic ('07) goal in his second pro appearance for Hajduk. Youngest goalscorer ever in the history of the club.
Generational talent? 🌟pic.twitter.com/6DAOvge0ri
— The Underrated Scout (@ScoutUnderrated) March 1, 2023
Luka Vuskovic stats
While Vuskovic is a centre-back, he is extremely dangerous as an attacker from set-pieces. It is one of the reasons why he has six goals to his name from 13 matches in the Croatian youth league. This makes him the highest-scoring centre-back in the league and the second-most on the team behind centre-forward Jere Vrcic. His goals have also come in crucial moments helping his team win additional points, which has been useful as the team themselves in a tight race for the title.
On September 12, 2022, he debuted in the UEFA Youth League FK Qabala YL, becoming the youngest Croatian to play in the competition. However, the record-breaking trajectory did not stop as he scored in the next match against the same opposition, becoming the youngest Croatian to do so in the league.
Vuskovic would add one more goal in the competition, which he scored against Ukrainian outfit Shakhtar Donetsk.
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Luka Vuskovic’s positioning and style of play
Luka Vuskovic is already 1.92 metres long, which at the under-16 gives a defender a massive advantage over other players. And Vuskovic has used this in spades. His physical stature has helped him dominate attackers and, at the same time, also to have a lot of goal-scoring opportunities in the opposition’s box.
Vuskovic is also an impressive passer for his age which allows him to start attacks for his team. In addition, he also has incredible intelligence, which allows him to dictate the team’s play from the defence.
Luka Vušković 22/23:
☑️official debut as a starter in the Eternal Derby against Dinamo Zagreb
☑️the youngest-ever starter & the joint-youngest player in Croatian league history
☑️goal in his second pro game for Hajduk
16 years of age. TOP talent destined for great things. 🇭🇷 pic.twitter.com/0W1nETfBO2
— Football Talent Scout – Jacek Kulig (@FTalentScout) March 2, 2023
Scouting expert Jacek Kulig rated him as the best 15-year-old in world football. In addition, he also said that Vuskovic has no significant weaknesses, a rare achievement for a player of any age.
The Croatian has managed to develop as a complete defender at such a young age, and if he manages to keep up the level of performance, then expect him to become the next talent to come out of Croatia.
Luka Vuskovic transfer news
A player like Luka Vuskovic never goes unnoticed by the scouting network of the top clubs, and it is safe to say that some clubs will be swooping to sign him as soon as they get the chance. However, Hajduk Split know they have a gem on their hand, and if they manage to hold onto him for two to three years, then they will have a future star for whom top clubs will be ready to shell out millions,
Also, while Vuskovic is a prodigy, the next two to three years of his career are the most important as it is the phase where the majority of footballers fail to turn their young potential into performance at top-level football.
However, Vuskovic’s rise till now shows he has a high chance of ending on the right side.