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[FM13]The Adriatic Adventure [Hajduk Split]

FM 13
Started on 12 May 2013 by tbendis
Latest Reply on 10 August 2015 by tbendis
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the update could have been longer in my opinion :P I am kidding, there was 5% more football in this one too so I am happy with that but it is an amazing story and update I actually wait with bated breath to read them
Timmy, you should try reading the Mahabharata sometime.

"About 1.8 million words in total, the Mahabharata is roughly ten times the length of the Iliad and the Odyssey combined."

Maybe an update as long as that next time! :P
2014-05-19 05:10#175464 Arvind : Timmy, you should try reading the Mahabharata sometime.

"About 1.8 million words in total, the Mahabharata is roughly ten times the length of the Iliad and the Odyssey combined."

Maybe an update as long as that next time! :P
That would be rather inTimmydating ;)

In all seriousness, another great update and fantastic writing as per usual! :)
Sorry guys, been postponed for a few days. My sister is in town... so...

I'll be right back on track soon. And next week's will be on Sunday, so you'll get updates spaced closer together :O
Timmy! Where have you gone?
Time to chase that sister out...
I'M BUSY! Capture the Flag accidentally became really popular. I'll be back soon, I promise
TONČI KARDUM
He woke in a cold, damp room. There were no lights, save for the small window in the room, some 10 meters up, which only showed a glimpse of the night sky. Well, not really a glimpse, but a patch of moonlight was visible on the opposite wall. Every so often, a few drops of water – salty – made it through the window, and splashed the floor, only to go through a tiny drain in the bottom of his new home. The door provided nothing: thick, steel, unforgiving, it was disconcerting at best.

Tonči was never prepared for this. Not once in his life did he think he would end up, cold and alone in the closest thing to a dungeon cell that he could have imagined. His father was a steel worker, he worked in an office before his son became one of the best players Croatia ever had. Now? He didn’t know anymore.

The last thing he remembered happening was getting out of his car in Zagreb, right in front of his flat, before a big man… a very big man, pulled him out of his car and smashed his head against his neighbor’s jeep. His head still hurt from the altercation, but he still remembered, not that it would help him much. He knew why he was in this dungeon: that next morning he was supposed to meet with Maro Dadić to discuss exactly what Dinamo had tried to do to Hajduk when Bendiš took over. It was, without a doubt, one of the most disconcerting facts in European football.

In 2010, the Bank of Zagreb had bought out the small bank in Split that Hajduk did business with. It was a simple transaction: highly illegal, since it created a banking monopoly in the region, but very much under the table. Now, this same bank owns a large part of a certain football club in Zagreb… one Dinamo Zagreb, to the point where, Dinamo Zagreb, with its repeated Champions League qualifications and large outgoing transfers were a major source of income for this bank. This, however, would end quickly if another club began winning, began taking those qualifications instead of Dinamo

So, instead of spending exuberant sums of money, or perhaps fixing the political game to bring the best players in Dinamo, like in the 1990s, the Bank of Zagreb went about it differently. Since they controlled Hajduk’s debt, they were allowed to, in several instances, force the southern club into sales of their assets, greatly reducing their power on the domestic scene. They managed this rather quickly: Ivan Vuković and Josip Radošević had to be offloaded to Sweden and to Holland respectively to pay off the bank, before the chairman stepped in and bought them out, sick of the questionably legal way his club was being treated.

The Bank didn’t stop there though, realizing their power was waning, it started paying off agents to force them to remove their clients from Hajduk… and when money wouldn’t work… well…

Tonči Kardum was hardly the first resident of this tower at sea.

TIMMY
It was supposed to be an easy match, Hajduk walked into Zaprešić with a two goal advantage. Hajduk, one of the strongest teams in Europe, walked onto that tiny 10 000 seat stadium to express its domination over the Croatian game, to pick up it’s God knows which final appearance.

It looked like it was going to be a walk in the park. Bendiš approached the game with utmost seriousness, he fielded his first squad line-up, there were to be no mistakes.

And then it started. Inter Zaprešić got one chance, and they took it. Then, a second, and they took it. Hajduk attacked, attacked, and attacked, but he watched. He cringed as a ball bounced off Josip Elež, the hero against so many Champions League games past Hašib Ramić: the chosen one. There was to be no reprieve.

And then they scored their fourth. Hajduk had fallen beyond measure. Their game was gone.

It was supposed to be easy. And it was, until Inter scored four times with three shots on goal.

It could have been worse. Theoretically, it could have happened at home, in front of thirty something thousand fans, screaming. But if there were thirty thousand fans, then Hajduk surely wouldn’t have lost, would they?

Bendiš walked towards the dressing room before tripping over a towel in the hallway. He nearly fell, but caught himself, and continued walking, cursing at the random towel that someone had forgotten to pick up. He was not in a mood for incompetence, and yet, his team had just turned in one of the most incompetent performances he had ever seen. Four – zero. Kiš barely registered a shot, and even that one was easily parried, thrown towards a simple corner.

In the dressing room, his team sat, waiting for him, and this surprised him. There was no one changing, there was no one cursing, or chatting about the game; this was a team that knew they were in for a hiding, and, instead of trying to delay it for a few seconds, sat there and accepted it.

Bendiš suspected his captain, Maloča, had something to do with it.

And, so, exhausted, he grabbed a stool from the corner of the room, set it down in the middle, and sat down on top, before he began, exasperated “What the fuck was that?”

“Anyone?” The room was, naturally, silent. “That was, without a doubt, one of the worst performances I’ve seen this team play. I’m happy that I can send at least some of the subs on their way, or that I didn’t have all 23 men on the field, but God help me, what the fuck was that?”

“Šozić, you’ve been begging me for a spot on the team, begging me to play; and sure, you have these brief moments of brilliances, you get the ball right through to Kiš, where it’s supposed to be and all, but when you play, when you start, I never see it. I get it, you’re young, it’s my fault, but why do you even ask? You’re not ready. You’ll be ready in a year or two, but you’re not ready now.

“And what was happening on the wings, Pero, you scored three goals against Marseille, but this was a disaster? Where were the runs? Where was the play?

“Do you all believe that this is all truly below you, because I’ve got a news flash for you all. That team just WHOOPED OUR RAGGEDY ASSES AND SERVED THEM ON A FUCKING PLATTER! So, if you think that Inter Zaprešić, or any team for that matter, is BELOW you, than I suggest you revise your thoughts on the matter. If, for even a moment, you believe that a team is below you, they will come back and fuck you like no one ever has.”

He paused for a moment, watching his team grasp the concept of complacency. Grasp that any team could beat anyone. A long time ago, it was the opposite: Hajduk were the team that could walk in and beat anyone on their day. It wasn’t that Hajduk were the team to be beaten. But some had forgotten. Some would always forget, “And if, you EVER think that a team is BELOW your playing level, you won’t EVER play at this level again.

“I guarantee it,” before he stormed out, livid that Hajduk just lost the double.


TEO PESIĆ
He was the one that Bendiš was talking about. Inter was a disaster, Kiš, nor Bašić, nor Lotinac didn’t get a single decent chance, and tracking back was never his jam. But he didn’t understand. Inter was nobody. He was Teo Pešić. TEO FREAKIN’ PEŠIĆ. He had dismantled every team he had seen before. He had dismantled Inter before. Hell, he was worth more than their entire team combined.

And yet, after 60 minutes, Bendiš hauled him off. He hauled off the Teo Pešić, who, alongside Kiš, Bašić, and Milić was one of the symbols of the team. Pešić was consoled by Bendiš briefly before the manager returned to the debacle; but even he couldn’t hold back the tears, as he stormed into the back room. Bendiš looked towards the tunnel longfully. At 3-0, he envied Pešić, but after playing him on everything, he could hardly blame him for one bad match.

But then, there was the City match. Oh God, the Manchester City match.

They scored once, then twice, then three times, in front of the packed, disappointed, Poljud. They were almost out, out of the Champions League, yet again. And, yet again, Pešić had to watch, as Mirnes Trifković assisted Tomislav Kiš twice, to let the hero shine, after Pešić failed to prove himself in the first hour. So, while Bendiš had a semi-passable result to talk about, a 2-3 loss at home – a result that surely meant they were going out in the Quarterfinals, the earliest exit in then last 5 years – Pešić was left to rue his own mistakes.

A black eye disfigured his otherwise handsome face as he sulked off to his villa in the foothills. The city life was never really for him, he was one to enjoy a vineyard and the view of the city in the distance. And his sprawling estate did it justice. 6 acres of glory as the stone mansion graced the top of the hill overlooking the city. He had grown up in a village, he knew how to build his own house, and when money finally came from football, he was able spend it lavishly.

He reflected that it wasn’t even Hajduk that gave him the money, but rather Adidas and Mercedes, the companies who sponsored him. But then again, what was the point of having money if you couldn’t spend it with friends and family? He guided the Mercedes 300 SL, the gullwing, up the hill to his home. He missed his best time by about 4 seconds… not great, but then again, he wasn’t exactly paying attention. Gliding the car into its spot next to the estate, he brought down the door, before grabbing his bag and slamming the door of the house. Leisurely, he had a quick drink of water before he made his way down into the basement, grabbing an antique pair of boxing gloves hanging from the wall before shutting the giant wooden door.

His groundskeeper greeted him politely before leaving, a single bare light bulb hung from the ceiling, swaying from the wind from the room’s solitary high window. Pešić lit up a cigar, and sat at the only chair in the room, waiting for the groundskeeper to return, puffing it slowly.

He wasn’t a psychopath; no… it’s just that, when the opportunity presents itself, you may as well take advantage of it. And the opportunity did. They found a single Croatian man retired in a village in Russia. No one knew how he made his living, but all they knew was that he refused to return to his homeland, far more content to stay in Siberia… which struck them as sort of odd. That, and his healthy distaste for Hajduk.

Pešić had tried punching bags before, but it had been quite the same, so, when his groundskeeper finally turned him up, the influential midfielder invited him to stay on his estate for an extended period of time.

Everyone in the village thought that the security for the villa was a bit extensive, but they thought nothing of it. “footballers” they said to themselves. They never found out about his hobby though. They never heard the screams that erupted from the disgraced agents’ mouth. They never heard the moans of pain after the beatings.

Soundproofing a room will do that.

ANDY GRAY & MARTIN TYLER
AG: Hello and welcome to a beautiful spring evening in Manchester at the Ethiad. We’re here to witness what promises to be an exhilarating night of football; Manchester City have the advantage and are looking to simply bring the result home, giving them their 2nd semifinal appearance in three years. And, on the other side, we have Hajduk, who, for this match have stuck to their standard home-grown 11, save for a certain Erik Janža, the person on the team brought in from another club.

MT: Yes Andy, but even Janža has been there since he was only a youngster, brought in on a free transfer just after he came 2nd in the Slovenian Young Player of the Year at 20. We’ll also notice that Mirnes Trifković, the winner of that same award in the next year, is currently sitting on the bench.

AG: Let’s take a look at the starting 11 for Manchester City. A stellar, truly star-studded starting 11. England’s goalkeeping hero, Joe Hart, is going to the World Cup in Qatar to try to win it for the first time since 1966. It’s been quite a draught for us unfortunately. Mario Götze is on the right line, while Diego Luna, currently the second highest goalscorer in this year’s competition, and their midfield is a testament to exactly that. Manchester City is, as always, one of the favorites to win this competition, but, so far, Hajduk have not lost unless the opposition is French. And, well… Manchester City is decidedly un-French.

MT: *laughs* Well then, let’s get this “English” team to fight the Croatians. Never an easy match, this one will be no different.

AG: There’s the kick-off. Tomislav Kiš, last year, scorer of 51 goals and breaker of a every record in the Croatian books, nudges it to the very young, very talented winger, Admir Lotinac, who, at 16, if we’d like to remind everyone, dispatched Manchester United in the semifinal with a very well taken goal in his professional début.

MT: God that was a match…

AG: Here’s Pero Bašić, we haven’t even gotten to the third minute yet, but the star is rushing up the left wing. He’s not going to be caught by the defense, we don’t think, and there he goes.

MT: Ball nudged right through the defenders legs, and he catches it on the other side. That’s quite the play!

AG: He’s not done yet! Cuts inside and a pass to LOTINAC WHO SCORES! OH MY GOD, HAJDUK ARE HERE TO PLAY. 0-1 FOR THE CROATIANS, NOT THREE MINUTES ON THE CLOCK!

MT: What an excellent team goal, Hajduk have Pero Bašić who demonstrates why Real Madrid have been waiting for years to get a sniff, and jinks past Corchia, who Bendiš coaches for France, before playing the ball right through Holger Badstuber’s legs, only to sacrifice the opportunity for himself and pass the ball to the barely open winger, Lotinac.

--- a few minutes pass… if you think I’m writing commentary for the whole bloody game, you’ve got another thing coming ---

AG: And it’s a routine pass up the middle, Antonio Milić has dispossessed Marco Verratti - who lunges… oh, that’ll be a yellow, but referee plays the advantage - and shunted it up for Teo Pešić, who starts his run up the middle. Hajduk have been in the lead for almost 10 minutes now; we’ll remind you, they need another goal to go through.

MT: What is Pešić doing?

AG: I… I don’t really know. Teo Pešić is now running up the middle, straight at one of the most airtight defenses in the world. Guillame Vincent and Holger Badstuber are almost never beaten… not twice at least. But he’s going for it. He’s got no help, and, OH MY WORD, WHAT IS THAT?!

MT: HE’S DONE THE BLOODY RAINBOW FLICK ON BOTH OF THEM!

AG: LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, TEO PEŠIĆ HAS SUCCESSFUL RAINBOW FLICKED – SIMULTANEOUSLY NO LESS – TWO OF THE BEST DEFENDERS IN THE WORLD, AND IS NOW ON GOAL, JOE HART RUNNING OUT, BUT…

MT: Oh!

AG: AND A PERFECTLY EXECUTED LOB! IS IT TOO HIGH? NO! IN OFF THE CROSSBAR! THAT IS THE GOAL OF THE TOURNAMENT, THE GOAL OF THE CENTURY! 2-0 FOR AN INCREDIBLE HAJDUK!

MT: And Marco Verratti’s been shown a second yellow card right after, CITY ARE DOWN TO TEN MEN, THEY’VE LOST IT. IT’S TAKEN TEN MINUTES AND THEY’VE LOST IT.

AG: Yes, Martin is right, Marco Verratti’s just been shown a second yellow card for arguing with the referee… God only knows for what, but this is truly incredible. Dare I say it, we’re 15 minutes into the second game, and Manchester City are out.

HNK HAJDUK SPLIT 4-3 AGG. MANCHESTER CITY FC
Hajduk progresses to semifinal against Paris Saint Germain
Brilliant update, brilliant goal, and brilliant result to knock out City!
'Accidentally' became popular xP Love it! Great result btw!
tbendis's avatar Group tbendis
9 yearsEdited
http://i61.tinypic.com/20t2xds.jpg
ANTE BENDIŠ
The Croatia squad was unhappy with him.

A bottle of scotch sat on his desk, half empty, and only bought that weekend. Officially, he was the manager. There was to be no word of his cousin’s appointment as “assistant coach” until later in the year... so, until then, he was there to be the head coach. To be the inspiration.

And he was a nobody.

He tried to call up the Hajduk squad. He tried to make it as consistent as possible, to make a team that had already gelled together for the country. But they just flat out didn’t like him, and he hadn’t the slightest idea why.

He had, as his first step to try to appease the squad, removed several of the former coaching staff. He had to prove that he was one for the new age, and there was no use in keeping some old coaches based on sentimentality for the older days. That being said, he wasn’t even half way done with removing coaches before the remainder simply left the team.

But he brought new ones. Jamie Carragher got a new post as his assistant manager. He was a well-known staffer for the Hajduk team, having been the U19s assistant there for years. So he continued by bringing in a whole new team. He had to give himself a pat on the back that they all treated him with utmost respect, even when he missed training and several meetings. It’s not like he needed to go to all of them, he was just there to sort of make sure the rest of the staff was on the right track. Plus, that’s how his cousin did it: delegate to others.

And, with his newfound fame, the club he normally went to was significantly happier with him. He brought several reporters in, and, within a few weeks, business was booming. The manager was always happy to float the new Croatian boss a drink or two… and with his new salary, the waitresses were all over him.

So what, he tipped a bit leisurely. The press loved him.

And it’s not like the squad needed to see much of him anyway. He was there to make selections, to keep everyone on the same page: and Timmy had done that for him: select his team, minus the keeper, and everything will just go fine.

Plus, who didn’t love playing for their country.

So, when he came to his first match, a friendly against Slovakia, he was super-confident. There was no way this couldn’t go well. The U21 championships were starting in a few months, and Hajduk was in spectacular form. The checkered shirts would qualify for the Euros. Not a doubt about it.

Plus. Slovakia. PFFFT.

He had never stepped on this big of a stadium before, he had a few glasses of scotch to calm the nerves down before the match. You know, just so he wouldn’t be too nervous. Timmy was in the stands with Maro and a few of the others in that meeting. And Ante was keen to impress.

He ran a bit late for the match. There was a bit of a scuffle in the local bar that he had to take care of, no biggie. And Carragher made sure to send the players on the pitch in a good way. He was a good assistant. He was no tactical mastermind like the Bendiš cousins, but he had the motivation down. Plus, Ante was sure he left Carra with a team sheet of some sort.

So, when he arrived to the stadium, he was surprised to find his team losing by a few goals. But, Ante, smiling, waved to the crowd, cheering loudly. The primarily Slovakian crowd started cheering for the Croatian manager, swaying dangerously in the breeze.

Only Tomislav Kiš halted the madness later into the evening. Not that Ante could tell. By the time the 90th minute rolled around, Slovakia had hit 5, and Kiš only 1. The stands had long emptied except for two seats in the first tier of Žilina’s stadium… Soon, a third man came, one of the players of the match. They chatted for a few minutes before the three of them got up and left the stadium to get a drink.

TIMMY
He loved Paris, for all its faults. Paris, with the lights, with the metro, with the distinct noise of an accordion always playing nearby. There was no town quite like it.

He had to watch his team succumb to a dismal Slovakia side; had to watch them go down 5 before Kiš managed to bring them back by at least one. Had to watch as both Gabon and Congo moved far above Croatia following the African Cup of Nations. It was not pleasing. It was not very fun.

But he survived. He watched his inebriated cousin nearly trip twice, and wondered to himself whether or not it was a mistake to have him hired. Whether he would survive the reputation hit following his sacking as Croatia coach would remain to be seen, but he had a few months before the qualifications for the European Championships. He had a few months to get his act together.

He stared over the edge of his balcony, built on the rooftop of a building extending over Champs-Elysée. L’Arc de Triomphe shone brightly in the floodlights, and, in the other direction, you could make out the Eiffel Tower, basking in all its glory. Bendiš enjoyed visiting his flat in Paris. He had it for all of the matches that were played in London, and, perhaps for a week of vacation every now and again. And, every once in a while, he’d use it when they were playing Paris Saint-Germain.

He only wished he could have visited under better circumstances.

Teo Peši? had saved Hajduk against Paris in Split. He had been reinvigorated recently, playing like he never had before. But, even with Peši? at his best: a goal and an assist, Paris had still managed to scrape a 2-2 draw… or rather, Hajduk had managed to scrape a 2-2 draw.

And, for the first time in years, he was unsure whether he could take the team to the final.

ADMIR
At 21, there was not a single Hajduk player worth more than him. His début in the semifinal of the Champions League against Manchester City brought the cup home in 2019, after he became one the youngest ever players to score in the latter stages of UEFA’s flagship competition. He is the only ever player to have won the Croatian Young Player of the Year on three different occasions.

His season-average rating has not dropped below 7.25 since he was 17.

But Paris… well, France in general, were not the club’s strong suit. In fact, Hajduk is the only club outside France to foster a healthy rivalry with both Olympique de Marseille and Paris Saint Germain, on account of their multiple Champions League fiascos.

So, when he walked through the tunnel, knowing that they needed a goal, he ignored the jeering crowd. He ignored everyone except for the patch of white shirts in the top of the stadium. The signs showing messages of support, the drums ousting even the largest sections of Parisian support.

When Bendiš walked in, though…

Admir knew that his manager was popular in France. He was an excellent manager, most people would be thrilled with him managing their team. But the roar that accompanied his entrance onto the field. It was an ovation, one that was only comparable to the singing of the national anthem in the final of the 2014 World Cup, when Brazil defeated Argentina to lift their 6th crown.

For all Ancelotti had ever done, for the stadium they had named after him, for every championship Paris had won since the start of the era… it was nothing compared to what Bendiš had done. Had given of himself. Had lost.

Lotinac turned for a moment, looking at the manager, who waved, as he wiped away a tear from his eyes.

God, French matches were hard though. Hajduk had only ever lost to French teams in the Champions League. Sure they’d lost to Real Madrid or Bayern years ago, and they sometimes just didn’t perform in the group stage. But French clubs… it was just something about them. They could match Hajduk for talent, sometimes even outmatch them, and then, they could take them for a hell of a ride when it came down to dedication.

But they didn’t have Bendiš.

And that’s what they needed.

Peši? shook hands with Sirigu before the whistle blew, and Lotinac dashed up the right flank almost immediately. That was his job, and he was good at it. Run up and down the flank like there wasn’t a tomorrow. It worked often, and it was working today. Mirnes Trifkovi?, still Slovenian, waiting for the race against time for his call-up, spun a beautiful ball into the area for Lotinac to grab it on the touchline and dribble back a bit. Sakho couldn’t get to him, but Sirigu did.

All Hajduk needed was one goal. One goal to go through to the final.

Lotinac tried again, not five minutes later. Hajduk had the run of play… they were going for it. He knocked it past M’Vila and jinked past Boyata before floating the ball over to Baši?. Pero Baši? couldn’t do more than thwock the bar… but it was still shaking long after Sirigu grabbed the rebound.

Paris wasn’t going to have it though. And, on the third time of asking, Hajduk scored. Lotinac stared as Antonio Mili?’s ball floated overhead… far too high for him to reach, only for Tomislav Kiš to dash past the defense and pick up the ball. Sirigu didn’t stand a chance… it was something only Tomi could do, and no matter how predictable his shot into the top corner was going to be, there was no way any keeper could stop it.

At the end, PSG never had it. The floating balls towards Hašib Rami? never made it to Gastón Ramírez, and Luis Suarez had long retired.

Hajduk made it to the final for the fifth time in a row. Waiting for them was AC Milan. Davide Levati’s AC Milan. Perhaps the only striker in Europe better than Tomislav Kiš, but could he prove it?

Moscow awaits.

TON?I
He would not scream. He had promised himself.

Ton?i Kardum had been trapped in the tower for what seemed like several weeks. The sun went up, the sun went down, saltwater tipped into his home, and food was brought to his cell every once in a while.

He was fortunate to have been able to make a fire, since some fish were colossally stupid and just sort of flopped into his prison. And he cooked and cleaned them, and roasted them on top of the fire. It was better than having nothing at all.

But he was still wasting away. He had forgotten what his voice sounded like, what joys there were on the outside. He had forgotten what it sounded like to be on the stadium when his son scored.

Then, one day, the steel door opened. The light was blinding, but there was a shadow - the shadow of a very large man – standing in the doorway. Ton?i could not believe that someone had know where he was, that someone could save him.

“Thank y-“, he began

“Silence.”

“But you’ve sav-“

And with that, the man, who must have been at least two meters tall, and strong enough to fight a gorilla, smacked him across the face, sending the shadow that was once Ton?i Kardum flying into the wall. He then picked him up by the neck, and, lifting his feet off the ground with one hand, threw him out through the door into the walkway leading to the tower, before dragging him into his boat.

Kardum was unconscious as the boat sped away from this solitary island out at sea. The steel door remained ajar, with the massive bank-vault-style knob on the front twisted open.

The police found Kardum in Split, fifteen hours later at four in the morning, beaten to within an inch of his life, held conscious by various adrenal injections, twitching, his eyes wide open, and screaming. Terrified, the police took him to the hospital to try to save his life, but the screaming…

It didn’t stop. It hadn’t stopped in a long time.
Poor Tonči :/ Also, I'm sure Kiš will steal the show in Moscow, as usual ;) Great update
Really, really good update as always! Btw, your banner says "adveture" ;)
HAJDUK BEGIN THE TURNAROUND – 1.I.2023
It’s been six months since that Champions League Final. Six months since AC Milan and Hajduk walked onto that pitch in Moscow… that pitch which Bendiš could have coached at nearly a decade ago. Six months since AC Milan were crushed, despite only losing 2-1. Six months since Hajduk would have traded a drubbing on a Brazilian scale for that trophy.

Pero Bašić sweeps left, then cuts back right. This is the maestro at work. There is no stopping the master class that Hajduk is showing right now. And here it is, Bašić with the cross, right over the keeper for Tomislav Kiš to score the winner. It is 2-0 right now in the 80th minute, this is IT!

It’s possible that Mario Maloča would lift his last trophy that evening. In the back, the thirty three year old captain, who had been Bendiš’s captain since the start of the manager’s career, shed a tear. Kiš, on the other side, reveled, staring with open arms at the sky, openly weeping with happiness, as he had finally taken the Champions League winner’s medal.

The crowd cheered. Ovations poured, as even AC Milan applauded the Croatian champions who could have scored five more in the past 80 minutes.

this is the Hajduk that we all remember. This is the Hajduk which we will tell to our grandchildren that we watched. As the captain for a decade plays his last Champions League final, as the legend of Split, who will be remembered as the one who stayed, the one who believed, picks up his first Champions League medal, despite leading his club to three.

AC Milan scored 11 minutes later. It was too little, too late. In the 91st minute, the score was 2-1, and there was only one minute of added time.

They’ve scored, Hajduk could care less… the goal means nothing to either team. It is a consolati- BANG – what in the name of…

And the power was cut. Every light in the stadium went out a split second after everyone saw Bendiš collapse to the ground.

He was in the hospital again, not two years after the incident with the Marseille Heist, of which he holds the unfortunate subtitle on the Wikipedia article. It took him all summer, and by the time he recovered, Inter Zaprešić and RNK Split were genuine contenders for the first division.

But he came back… and in January, he showed that he was back to stay. No one knows who shot the sniper from the room of the stadium. Just as no one knows who stole 20 million euros from the main BNP Paribas bank in Marseille. All they found were rappelling ropes, tire marks, and a dead electrician, as the sniper got away.

But he came back, and he came back strong. He finally replaced Stijepan Andrijašević, his assistant for ten years, who enters the very last six months of his contract, and he’s replacing the head of youth development with Dinamo’s, which may well be the death blow for the former great.

Hajduk has pulled a Bayern, and they may have destroyed their rival in the progress.

At the end of the day, one only has to wonder whether Bendiš can ever fully recover. Whether or not anyone will ever be the same after that match at Lužniki, when they heard his pregnant wife screams pierce through the blackness, will be the question of the ages.
Well done on winning the Champions League final but...holy sh*t. Hunt down this sniper and hang him from his toes.

You are reading "[FM13]The Adriatic Adventure [Hajduk Split]".

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