Famous players who have played for Sandesh Jhingan’s new club HNK Sibenik

The former Atletico Madrid striker Nikola Kalinic had played for Sibenik in his early days…

Sandesh Jhingan joined Croatian First Division Football League side HNK Sibenik for the upcoming 2021/22 season earlier this week. The 28-year-old becomes the latest addition to an elite list of players who went to Europe to ply their trade. 

Sibenik is one of the oldest outfits in Croatia as it was formed in 1932 with the name of Radnicko sportsko drustvo Sibenik (Workers’ Sport Association Šibenik). Several notable players have graced the jersey of Sibenik over the years. From Slaven Bilic to Nikola Kalinic in the early 2000s, a host of top players have defended the crest of Sibenik. Let us have a look at some of them. 

Slaven Bilic

The World Cup bronze medal winner for Croatia in 1998 had spent one season on loan at Sibenik. In 1988, he joined Sibenik from Hajduk Split and made 33 appearances. Although he was a centre-back, he scored seven goals for Sibenik. During this time he was moulded as one of the finest centre backs by veteran coach Milan Ribar and he would go on to serve Croatia for close to a decade. 

“There was a good stopper line in Hajduk at that time, Nikola Jerkan and Jerko Tipurić, and if one of them was suspended due to a yellow card, I would call him from Šibenik and he would be ready to play for the first team. If you remember, double registration was allowed then, a player could play for two clubs in a season,” commented Petar Nadoveza, then coach of Hajduk Split. 

In the 1998 World Cup third-place playoff match, he partnered current India head coach Igor Stimac at the heart of the defence and beat the Netherlands 2-1. 

Classics: Slaven Bilic (Croatia)

Nikola Kalinic 

The forward joined Sibenik on loan from Hajduk Split in 2007. He was a fringe player at Hadjuk and in order to get more first-team action he was sent to Sibenik. He impressed with his goal scoring ability as he netted thrice in just eight matches. Courtesy of his performances in these eight matches, he was called back from loan and in the 2007-08 season he established himself as a regular in his parent club scoring 17 goals in 25 matches. 

Nikola Kalinic, Atletico Madrid

Gordon Schildenfeld 

The former Croatian international is a youth product of HNK Sibenik. After graduating from the academy he was given a chance to play in the first team by then manager Stanko Mrsic in a league game against Kamen Ingrad. He was just 16 at that time. He spent six years at Sibenik before joining Dinamo Zagreb in 2007. The move materialised after Schildenfeld played a key role in promoting Sibenik to the top tier during the 2005-06 season. In 2021, he returned to his boyhood club and played 21 matches, and helped them finish sixth on the table.  

The defender has made 29 appearances for the Croatian national team. He played all the group stage matches in Euro 2012 against Spain, Italy, and Ireland. His last appearance for the 2018 World Cup runners-up was against Czech Republic in Euro 2016. 

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