Davor Suker

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A year after starring for Croatia at the 1998 World Cup, Davor Suker signed for Arsenal.

He scored 10 times in 15 starts, yet only stayed a season.

His time with the Gunners is perhaps best described as perplexing; despite an impressive goals-to-starts ratio, he netted just once in 24 substitute appearances.

Suker arrived at Arsenal in 1999 from Real Madrid, the destination of Nicolas Anelka, who moved the other way the same summer. He had scored 110 goals in 220 appearances for the Spanish giants since joining them from Seville in 1996.

He had been just as successful there, netting 75 times in 153 League appearances.

Suker had also starred on the international stage. At Euro 1996 he bagged three goals in four games, including a brace against defending champions Denmark. At the World Cup in France in 1998 he collected the Golden Boot after scoring six times in seven games.

At Arsenal his goals included braces against Aston Villa, Everton and Sunderland. But in the Premier League he was restricted to eight starts, with Dennis Bergkamp, Thierry Henry and Kanu often favoured ahead of the Croatian.

That left him resigned to the bench, from which he failed to make a regular impact, and 12 months after his arrival Suker moved to east London where he spent 17 months with West Ham before heading to 1860 Munich.

Later he opened the Davor Suker Soccer Academy in Zagreb and was the only Croatian named on the Fifa 100 list of the 125 Greatest Living Footballers, as selected by Pele.


Suker scored the only direct free kick from inside the penalty area I have seen in my time watching football. Against Aston Villa in 1999 David James handled outside the box and Arsenal were awarded a direct free kick from eight yards and Davor Suker rifled an absolute bullet which went in via the cross-bar to give Arsenal the lead.

Barry Creswell, Devon

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