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Mladen Rudonja

Personal information
Height1.75 m
Playing positionStriker

     Home | Football Player | Mladen Rudonja

Mladen Rudonja ( ) (born 26 July 1971 in Koper) is a retired Slovenian footballer who represented his country at two major tournaments - Euro 2000 and the 2002 World Cup.

He most often played as a forward or a winger (usually on the left). Despite this, he did not score a goal for the Slovenian national side until his 53rd cap - in the second leg of a playoff for the 2002 World Cup against Romania in Bucharest. The match finished 1-1, a result that was enough to secure Slovenia's qualification, having won the first leg 2-1 in Ljubljana. He has always been very popular with the fans (who nicknamed him "Turbo Rudi") and after this match he gained almost national hero status. All in all, he accumulated 65 caps for the national side, which makes him the 6th most capped player in Slovenia's history. He was voted 3rd best national team player in a TV competition.

His main assets were speed and seemingly endless stamina. His performance against Spain in Korea saw Joe Royle (British commentator) note that he never stopped for 90 minutes. As a result, he gained a position that was possibly unique in world football: a purely defensive centre forward. Some observers thought his success in this position may lead to more players adopting his style in international games, as part of the global shift to more defensive tactics, however this proved unfounded. His club career never really caught on in the same way, after a good spell with K. Sint-Truidense V.V. he left for Portsmouth where he achieved little. After the 2002 World Cup, he left for NK Olimpija Ljubljana to wind down his career, playing alongside Croatian legend and former Portsmouth teammate Robert Prosinečki as Olimpija sought to recapture former glories. He has now retired from professional football, although he occasionally plays in charity games and amateur friendlies.

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