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  Euro Stars  »  Dado Pršo

  

Pršo goes from zero to hero for Croatia
 
Name
Dado Pršo
Position
Forward
Club
Monaco
DOB
05.11.1974
Croatia coach Otto Baric has his critics but he made at least one excellent decision last year when he gave Monaco's experienced but internationally untried front man Dado Prso a chance to make his mark.

Last November it was payback time for the 29-year-old Prso who had been knocking around Europe for some time, when he secured Croatia's place in the Euro 2004 finals with goals in both legs of their 2-1 aggregate playoff victory over Slovenia.

Prso also got on the score sheet four times for Monaco as he 

celebrated his birthday by helping them to set a record for the number of goals scored in a Champions League game during the 8-3 thrashing of Spain's Deportivo Coruna the same month.

His scoring feats against Slovenia and Depor cemented his growing reputation as a man for the big occasion but he quickly learned that fame had its ups and downs.

He missed a penalty against Lokomotiv Moscow in the first knockout stage of the Champions League in March but, much to his relief, scored in the second half to earn Monaco a place in the last eight on the away goals rule after a 2-2 draw on aggregate.

"I will never take a penalty kick again in my life. The goal I scored later saved me from a nightmare," Prso said.

That vow hardly made Baric's life any easier as he still lacks an experienced and self-confident penalty taker. But at least he has discovered a player with the knack of scoring.

When Baric called up Prso a year ago, the player was uncapped and still relatively unknown in his homeland.

Baric, desperate to add a sharp edge to Croatia's attack and under fire for calling up more than 40 players in his first eight months in charge, handed Prso his chance in the Euro 2004 qualifier against Belgium in Group Eight.

The pony-tailed forward justified Baric's faith, scoring in the 4-0 win that kept alive Croatia's hopes of reaching the finals.

There was nothing in Prso's early career to suggest he would rise to prominence in such devastating fashion.

His performances in Croatia at club sides Zadar, Hajduk Split and Pazinka went largely unnoticed and he soon moved to France where he played for Rouen, Saint-Raphael and Monaco.

He was loaned to AC Ajaccio, then in the second division, for the 1998-99 season before returning to the principality.

In 2000 he won the title with Monaco but in the 2001-02 season a severe knee injury raised fears he might never play again. In the event, he was sidelined for eight months.

"I never lost hope I would come back," said Prso, who this month signed a pre-contract agreement to join Rangers of Scotland.

As he looks forward to the Euro 2004 finals in Portugal he can reflect that it was well worth the wait.
- Reuters

 

 

 

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