33 years ago Boban in Maksimir marked the beginning of

33 years ago Boban in Maksimir marked the beginning of the war in Yugoslavia ilNapolista IlNapolista

It was May 13, 1990 and in the Maksimir Stadium in Zagreb all the hatred between Serbs and Croats before the end of Yugoslavia was manifested.

33 years ago Boban in Maksimir marked the beginning of the war in Yugoslavia

May 13, 1990 is an important date in Zvonimir Boban’s career. The ex-Milan player was not yet 20 years old, he was a young football talent that attracted everyone’s interest and admiration. A young boy strong and promising enough to afford the luxury of wearing the number ten jersey, an honor few have enjoyed in the sport’s past.

The game that day was not relevant for the Yugoslav championship, but everyone longed for the game between the two best teams in the country – Dinamo Zagreb and Red Star Belgrade. Although the Serbian team has already won the championship, twenty thousand fans flock to the Croatian stadium to watch the game. Unfortunately, the “Delije” were also among the guests on this day.

The Delije were the Serbian Ultras fans, the “hero” supporters of Red Star, led by a man named Raznjatovic, who was nicknamed “Arkan” in homage to the name of a Slavic hero who exterminated the Germans. The Delije come to Zagreb for the game, but they bring more than just flags and banners with them.

“It’s a beautiful sunny day, the ‘heroes’ are walking the path to the stadium, they have stones, stones, iron bars, rockets, acid to break down the security barriers: stadium guerrilla paraphernalia,” writes Gigi Riva in his book Farouk’s Last penalty .

“There are athletes on both sides who will be wearing the same blue jersey as Yugoslavia at the Italian World Cup in less than a month,” but in the end, instead of a soccer match, a civil war started that day.

The dynamics of the clashes near Maksimir on May 13

At 6 p.m. that day, young Boban stood in a line with his teammates, waiting for the game to start. Panavic and Suker play together with the future Croatian talent. On the other hand, behind the legendary Stojkovic are Savicevic, Pancev and Prosinecki. The latter was also born to a Croatian father and a Serbian mother. Stojkovic said: “I saw some people coming onto the field from the north stand and I told my teammates that it would be better if we took refuge in the dressing room, that would be too dangerous.”

Only a few players remain on the field, some from Dinamo, including Boban. At the same time as the stadium announcer is announcing the line-ups, Serbian fans, who have been busy for hours chanting anti-Serbs and known in the country for their violence, begin to demolish the stadium. They dismantle the seats and throw them at the stadium, but the police are still standing there, helpless. Only when the Croats enter the field do the security forces mobilize and attack the Croats themselves.

The police consisted mostly of Serbs, since Serbia had the military power in Yugoslavia. This was one of the contradictions of the federation Tito wanted, in which each country could have its chance to command but power always belonged to a few. A federation that began to disintegrate year after year after the death of the founder, until the war produced new political faces.

Boban doesn’t fight back and tells the cops to stop. One of them approaches with the intention of attacking him. Number ten jumps to his feet with full force, knocking his knee over the cop’s chin. At that moment, a photographer can portray the two of them and breathe life into an iconic image of the time.

This game was planned because the presence of the Ultras had been desired not only by Arkan but also by Serbian President Milosevic. Tudjman did not object to their presence, as Riva also writes: “Unrest suits Franjo Tudjman.”

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