Red Star Belgrade named former midfielder Robert Prosinecki as coach on Thursday after he signed a two-and-a-half year contract with the 1991 European Cup winners.
Prosinecki said he was looking forward to being the first Croatian to manage a Serbian club since the two nations split during the former Yugoslavia’s break-up.
“The challenge is that much greater and my first objective is to overhaul Partizan’s advantage and wrestle the league title away from them,” he said.
Red Star are five points behind bitter foes Partizan, who have won three league titles in a row and are top of the 16-team first division.
“The fans’ support depends on my results and I am confident that I can bring plenty of success to Red Star like I did during my playing days here,” Prosinecki said.
The blond-haired playmaker was at Red Star from 1987 to 1991 and won Europe’s premier club competition before moving to Real Madrid and helping Croatia reach the 1998 World Cup semi-finals.
“I have returned here with emotions different to those I had when I arrived as a player but also with an undiminished desire to succeed,” Prosinecki said at a news conference.
He was greeted by a warm round of applause from Red Star’s managing board, headed by president and former teammate Vladan Lukic, after they made a unanimous decision to entrust him with the task of rekindling some of the club’s past glory.
“My vision of Red Star is that of a team playing attacking football, keeping possession and dominating their rivals like we did when I played here,” Prosinecki said.
After leaving Red Star, Prosinecki made 55 appearances for Real Madrid and also had a brief spell with Barcelona in the 1995-1996 season.
He ended his career at NK Zagreb in 2004 and worked as assistant to Croatia coach Slaven Bilic from 2006, helping his country reach the Euro 2008 quarter-finals.