Elvir Balji%C4%87
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Elvir Balji%C4%87

Elvir Balji?
Personal information
Full name Elvir Balji?
Date of birth (1974-07-08) 8 July 1974 (age 46)
Place of birth Sarajevo, SFR Yugoslavia
Height 1.85 m (6 ft 1 in)
Position(s) Left Winger
Second striker
Youth career
0000-1993 ?eljezni?ar
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1993-1995 Sarajevo 11 (8)
1995-1998 Bursaspor 87 (42)
1998-1999 Fenerbahçe 30 (18)
1999-2002 Real Madrid 11 (1)
2000-2001 -> Fenerbahçe (loan) 27 (5)
2001-2002 -> Rayo Vallecano (loan) 10 (1)
2002-2004 Galatasaray 34 (3)
2005 Konyaspor 14 (2)
2006 Ankaragücü 15 (2)
2006-2008 Istanbulspor 25 (9)
Total 264 (91)
National team
1996-2005 Bosnia and Herzegovina 38 (14)
Teams managed
2010-2014 Bosnia and Herzegovina (assistant)
2015 Karabükspor
2017 Alanyaspor (assistant)
2018 Akhisarspor (assistant)
2019-2020 Tuzla City
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

Elvir Balji? (born 8 July 1974) is a Bosnian professional football manager and former player.

As a player, Balji?'s biggest success was winning the UEFA Champions League with Spanish giant Real Madrid in the 1999-2000 season. Apart from the UEFA Champions League success, he also won the Turkish Süper Lig with Fenerbahçe in the 2000-01 season.

After ending his playing career, he became an assistant manager of Safet Su?i? at the Bosnia and Herzegovina national team, with whom he qualified for the 2014 FIFA World Cup. He was then, the manager of back then TFF First League club Karabükspor in 2015. After Karabükspor, Balji? was also an assistant of Su?i? at Alanyaspor in 2017 and at Akhisarspor in 2018.

On 1 October 2019, he was named the new manager of Bosnian Premier League club Tuzla City, officially taking over that position a day later. He left the club on 9 March 2020, terminating his contract.

Club career

Early career

Born in Sarajevo, SFR Yugoslavia, Balji? began his career with hometown club ?eljezni?ar, but in 1993, during the Bosnian War, he signed for FK Sarajevo. During his time with Sarajevo, he played eleven games, and scored eight goals.

Later, he moved to Turkey where he played for Bursaspor. Balji? was the best player at the club for several seasons, which made him an interesting target for the best Turkish clubs. During his spell in Bursaspor, he also took Turkish citizenship in 1996. However, Balji? chose to play for Bosnia and Herzegovina instead of Turkey.


In the summer of 1998, Balji? signed a contract with Turkish giants Fenerbahçe for a EUR9.3 million transfer fee. He spent a season at the ?ükrü Saraco?lu Stadium scoring 18 goals in 30 appearances as the club finished the season in third place.

Real Madrid

Balji?'s stellar performances at Fenerbahçe made the 25-year-old a target for various European clubs. Still, his EUR26 million[1] transfer to Real Madrid under club president Lorenzo Sanz during summer 1999 caused a major surprise. The signing was initiated by Real Madrid's head coach John Toshack who knew Balji? well from Istanbul as the Welshman coached Be?ikta? while the Bosnian starred for Fenerbahçe. For more than a decade, the transfer fee paid by Real to Fenerbahçe for Balji? stood as the biggest sum of money paid for a player from ex-Yugoslavia, until Edin D?eko's January 2011 move from VfL Wolfsburg to Manchester City for £27 million (EUR32 million).

Just before the start of the 1999-2000 season in Spanish top flight, Balji? suffered rapture of both pairs of cruciate ligaments in his left knee, anterior (ACL) and posterior (PCL), after which he underwent surgery and was put off the field for prolonged rehabilitation. Subsequent loss of form caused Balji?'s Real stint to turn sour pretty much immediately. Throughout the 1999-00 season, he made only 11 league appearances (8 of them as substitute), scoring just 1 goal.[2] He never managed to secure a first team place, and the November 1999 sacking of Toshack followed by the arrival of new head coach Vicente del Bosque, marginalized Balji? even further. At the season's end, del Bosque included Balji? in the 18-man squad he took to Paris for the 2000 Champions League Final, but did not give him a single minute of action as Real beat compatriots Valencia CF.

During the 2000 summer transfer window, Balji? was sent back to Fenerbahçe on a loan deal.

Loan spells at Fenerbahçe and Rayo Vallecano

Balji? spent the entire 2000-01 season back at his old stomping grounds with Fenerbahçe. He simultaneously managed to recover some of his old form with 5 goals in 27 league appearances as Fenerbahçe won the Turkish Süper Lig.

In the following 2001-02 season, he got a chance to showcase his abilities closer to the club that still held his rights as he got loaned to Madrid's Rayo Vallecano in La Liga. Balji? actually insisted on joining Rayo due to its proximity to Real as he had his eye on getting a fresh opportunity with the big club in the future. For their part, Real Madrid obliged and managed to hammer out a loan deal with Rayo. Also, in Rayo he joined countrymen and friends Elvir Boli? and Emir Granov, which Balji? cited as another reason he wanted to be at Rayo.[3] However, the move did not do much to improve Balji?'s standing at the Bernabéu as more injuries, poor form, and even disciplinary issues followed with only 1 league goal from 10 appearances.[4]

During the 2002 summer transfer window, Balji?'s Real contract was terminated and he again transferred back to Turkey - this time to Galatasaray. Due to his substantial price tag and the subsequent high-profile failure at Madrid, Balji?'s acquisition by Real features consistently and prominently on various "worst-ever signing" lists.[5][6][7]

Galatasaray and later career

Balji? turned just 28 years of age when he began his Galatasaray stint, but it soon became clear his best days were far behind him. His form was average at best and his overall interest in football seemed to be decreasing by the day. He said that he would retire on several occasions, but every time he would come back.

In December 2004, he left Galatasaray and in January 2005, signed with Konyaspor. After only half a season at Konyaspor, Balji? left the club and took a break from football at only the age of 31.

Balji? came back to the sport in January 2006, when he signed for Turkish side MKE Ankaragücü. In the 2006-07 and 2007-08 seasons, he played for ?stanbulspor, before deciding to finish his career in July 2008 at the age of 34.

International career

Balji?'s international career was prolific. As part of the Bosnia and Herzegovina national team since its inception, he scored 14 goals in 38 caps. He will be remembered as the first, and for now only, player who scored four goals in a single official match for Bosnia and Herzegovina, in an away game of the Group 9, during the UEFA Euro 2000 qualifications, between Estonia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, on 9 October, just a couple of weeks after he signed a contract with Real Madrid. The final result was 1-4.

Managerial career

Bosnia and Herzegovina

Almost two years after finishing his playing career, in February 2010, Bosnia and Herzegovina's national team manager Safet Su?i? revealed that Balji? would be one of his assistants.[8] While as an assistant, Balji? was part of the historic achievement of the national team, which was qualification to the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil.[9] Balji? left the national team in 2014 with Su?i?'s departure.


On 2 October 2015, Balji? became the new manager of Turkish TFF First League club Karabükspor.[10] Less than three months later, on 21 December 2015, he resigned from the position of Karabükspor manager after a 3-0 loss against Adanaspor, which was the club's third loss in a row in all competitions and second in a row in the league.[11]

Konyaspor and Akhisarspor

During 2017 and 2018, Balji? had a roll as assistant manager of Safet Su?i? again, and during that period, was the assistant at Süper Lig club Konyaspor in 2017 and one more Süper Lig club Akhisarspor in 2018.

Tuzla City

On 1 October 2019, it was announced that Balji? became the new manager of Bosnian Premier League club Tuzla City.[12] The next day, on 2 October, Balji? officially took over the role of manager of Tuzla City, signing a three-year contract with the club.[13] In his first game as Tuzla City manager, the club beat Zvijezda 09 at home 3-0 in a league match on 5 October 2019.[14] He suffered his first loss with Tuzla on 19 October 2019, after the club lost to Radnik Bijeljina at home 0-3 in another league match.[15]

In his first Tuzla derby, Balji?'s team drew against city rivals Sloboda Tuzla 1-1 on 30 November 2019.[16] On 9 March 2020, Balji? decided to terminate his contract with Tuzla City because of poor results, which culminated with an away 1-0 league loss against ?eljezni?ar the day earlier.[17]

Career statistics

International goals

Scores and results table. Bosnia and Herzegovina's goal tally first:

Goal Date Venue Opponent Score Result Competition
1. 12 August 1998 Ko?evo Stadium, Sarajevo  Faroe Islands 1-0 1-0 UEFA Euro 2000 qualifying
2. 14 October 1998 ?algiris Stadium, Vilnius  Lithuania 2-2 2-4 UEFA Euro 2000 qualifying
3. 9 October 1999 Kadriorg Stadium, Tallinn  Estonia 1-1 4-1 UEFA Euro 2000 qualifying
4. 9 October 1999 Kadriorg Stadium, Tallinn  Estonia 2-1 4-1 UEFA Euro 2000 qualifying
5. 9 October 1999 Kadriorg Stadium, Tallinn  Estonia 3-1 4-1 UEFA Euro 2000 qualifying
6. 9 October 1999 Kadriorg Stadium, Tallinn  Estonia 4-1 4-1 UEFA Euro 2000 qualifying
7. 2 September 2000 Ko?evo Stadium, Sarajevo  Spain 1-1 1-2 2002 FIFA World Cup qualification
8. 15 August 2001 Ko?evo Stadium, Sarajevo  Malta 1-0 2-0 Friendly
9. 15 August 2001 Ko?evo Stadium, Sarajevo  Malta 2-0 2-0 Friendly
10. 7 October 2001 Ko?evo Stadium, Sarajevo  Liechtenstein 2-0 5-0 2002 FIFA World Cup qualification
11. 7 October 2001 Ko?evo Stadium, Sarajevo  Liechtenstein 4-0 5-0 2002 FIFA World Cup qualification
12. 11 October 2002 Ko?evo Stadium, Sarajevo  Germany 1-0 1-1 Friendly
13. 12 February 2003 Millennium Stadium, Cardiff  Wales 1-0 2-2 Friendly
14. 2 April 2003 Parken Stadium, Copenhagen  Denmark 2-0 2-0 UEFA Euro 2004 qualifying

Managerial statistics

As of 8 March 2020[18]
Managerial record by team and tenure
Team Nat From To Record
G W D L GF GA GD Win %
Karabükspor Turkey 2 October 2015 21 December 2015 11 4 3 4 12 14 -2 036.36
Tuzla City Bosnia and Herzegovina 2 October 2019 9 March 2020 12 4 2 6 10 19 -9 033.33
Total 23 8 5 10 22 33 -11 034.78



Real Madrid





  1. ^ D?eko je kralj transfera SFRJ; MTS Mondo, 7 January 2010
  2. ^ Real Madrid's 1990-2000 league season
  4. ^ Rayo Vallecano's 2001-2002 season
  5. ^ 10 Worst Spanish La Liga Transfers Ever;SoccerNews.com, 1 September 2010
  6. ^ Top 10: Los peores fichajes del Real Madrid Archived 15 April 2012 at the Wayback Machine;as.com, 9 November 2009
  7. ^ Real Madrid Transfers: 10 Worst Signings in Club's History;Bleacher Report, 16 October 2011
  8. ^ "Elvir Balji? pomo?nik Su?i?u" (in Bosnian). sportsport.ba. 8 February 2010. Retrieved 2010.
  9. ^ Edin Isanovi? (15 October 2013). "Zmajevi ostvarili historijski rezultat: Idemo u Brazil!" (in Bosnian). Klix.ba. Retrieved 2013.
  10. ^ M. ?ljivak (2 October 2015). "Elvir Balji? novi trener Karabukspora" (in Bosnian). sportsport.ba. Retrieved 2015.
  11. ^ V. Vukmirovi? (21 December 2015). "Balji? vi?e nije trener Karabukspora" (in Bosnian). sportsport.ba. Retrieved 2015.
  12. ^ N.K. (1 October 2019). "Elvir Balji? novi trener Tuzla Cityja" (in Bosnian). Klix.ba. Retrieved 2019.
  13. ^ A.K. (2 October 2019). "Elvir Balji? zvani?no preuzeo Tuzla City: Dat ?u maksimum u klubu koji ima budu?nost" (in Bosnian). Klix.ba. Retrieved 2019.
  14. ^ "(FOTO) Balji? debitovao pobjedom: Tuzla City ubjedljivo savladala Zvijezdu" (in Bosnian). Sport1.ba. 5 October 2019. Retrieved 2019.
  15. ^ M. ?ljivak (19 October 2019). "FK Radnik razbio FK Tuzla City na Tu?nju" (in Bosnian). sportsport.ba. Retrieved 2019.
  16. ^ F.Z. (30 November 2019). "Remi Slobode i Tuzle na katastrofalnom terenu stadiona Tu?anj" (in Bosnian). Klix.ba. Retrieved 2019.
  17. ^ A. ?au?evi? (9 March 2020). "Balji? vi?e nije trener Tuzla Cityja!" (in Bosnian). sportsport.ba. Retrieved 2020.
  18. ^ "Elvir Balji?". Sofascore.com (in Croatian). Retrieved 2020.
  19. ^ a b "Player of the year » Bosnia-Herzegovina". Worldfootball.info. Retrieved 2019.

External links

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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