Cosmos Sign Kranjcar
The New York Cosmos announced today the signing of Croatian attacking midfielder Niko Kranjčar for the NASL Spring Season. As per club policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Kranjčar, 31, was an integral playmaker for then-Premier League side Portsmouth FC during the club’s FA Cup-winning 2007-08 campaign. He has represented his country at every level, first as a U-16 player in 2000, and debuted for Croatia’s senior national team in 2004. His 81 caps and 16 goals to date are the tenth-highest and sixth-highest totals, respectively, in the history of the national team.
“I’ve enjoyed my time training with the Cosmos, working with these players and coaches has been a great experience,” Kranjčar said. He was included in the team’s preseason tour of California. “I think the style of play here suits me well, I and I’m excited to officially represent the club on the field this season.”
“Niko is not only a world class player, but also a fantastic human being,” said Cosmos Head Coach and Sporting Director Giovanni Savarese. “He has elite vision and technical ability with the ball at his feet, and we’re confident he can bring creativity to our approach in the attacking half of the field.”
After coming of age in hometown club Dinamo Zagreb’s youth system, Kranjčar became the first team’s youngest captain at 17 years old. From 2001-05 he won three Croatian Cups, two Croatian Football Super Cups and a Croatian First Football League title with Zagreb, and was named Prva HNL Player of the Year in 2003.
In early 2005 Kranjčar transferred to Hajduk Split, another famed Croatian club and Dinamo Zagreb’s chief rival. Wearing the No. 10, he help the team win the 2004-05 Croatian First Football League Championship and was the team’s top goal scorer across all competitions for the 2005-06 campaign, netting a match winner in extra time of the 2005 Croatian Football Super Cup. His dynamic presence on the pitch earned him league player of the year honors for the second time.
Zlatko Kranjčar, Niko’s father, managed the Croatian national team when Niko debuted for the senior squad in an August 2004 friendly against Israel. He garnered attention on the international level for his performance at the 2006 World Cup in Germany, and moved from Hajduk Split to Portsmouth in August 2006.
Kranjčar spent six seasons in England split between Pompey and Tottenham Hotspur, scoring 20 goals in 155 league appearances while playing under manager Harry Redknapp at both stops. In 2013 Kranjčar reunited with Redknapp at Queens Park Rangers on loan from Dynamo Kyiv, helping QPR achieve promotion to the Premier League via a Championship Playoff Final win against Derby County on May 24, 2014.