World Cup Star Returns to Boyhood Club for Less Than £1 Contract, Aims to Secure First Title in 19 Years

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A former Premier League striker has completed a return to his boyhood club – but his pay packet isn’t quite at the dizzy heights of England’s top flight anymore.

The forward, who spent two seasons with Blackburn Rovers back between 2009 and 2011, has led a journeyman career and graced some of Europe’s biggest clubs. 

Now he has penned a contract worth 86p to return to Hajduk Split.

While he only found the net 13 times in 53 games for Blackburn, he went on to play for AC Milan, Atletico Madrid, and Roma.

The intrigue in question is Nikola Kalinic, who has been unveiled by Hajduk Split as they bid to win the Croatian league title for the first time since 2005.

Nikola Kalinic, a former Blackburn striker, has returned to his boyhood club Hajduk Split with a salary of 86p

He played at Ewood Park between 2009 and 2011, scoring 13 goals in 53 appearances

He played at Ewood Park between 2009 and 2011, scoring 13 goals in 53 appearances

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‘This was easiest deal in my 3 years at Hajduk — it’s 1€ salary,’ said director Mindaugas Nikolicus.

‘Nikola returns with one aim: help Hajduk to win the title after 19 years.’

The 35-year-old was part of the Croatia squad that reached the 2018 World Cup final, though he was sent on for refusing to come on as a sub against Nigeria and turned down his silver medal. 

This will actually be his third stint with Hajduk. Having started his career with them the season after they won the league title, he rejoined them in 2022 but left in the summer after his contract expired.

Following a few months away, he has re-signed with Hajduk top of the Croatian league by six points. 

He was 174 goals at club level and even netted 15 for Croatia before his international career ended in 2018

He was 174 goals at club level and even netted 15 for Croatia before his international career ended in 2018

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Dinamo Zagreb have won 17 of the last 18 league titles, so bringing the trophy back to Split would be some achievement. 

Kalinic has netted 174 goals at club level throughout his career and also scored 15 in 42 caps for Croatia before his international career ended in 2018.

They’re not bad numbers and he could be useful for Hajduk.  

At least on a salary of 86p, you know his heart is truly in it and he’s not playing for the money. 

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