Osasuna – Real Madrid: The personal record of the methodical and ‘old man’ Ante Budimir | Soccer | Sports

Just a year ago, in Pamplona, ​​there was more talk about Ante Budimir’s anecdotes than about his goals. One rainy day in January, a 78-year-old woman, Mari Carmen, tired of waiting for a taxi that never arrived, recognized the striker on the street and asked him: “Are you Budimir? “Can you do me a favor and take me to the hospital?” The player did not object and the woman, before getting out of the car to go to the medical appointment that she had scheduled, asked him for a selfie so that her family would believe that she had really been with him. Her daughter published it on social media and the story spread quickly around the city. In those months, the Croatian was in the middle of a streak of scoring one goal in 19 League games.

It was Osasuna’s best season in decades, but the Balkan player did not exceed eight goals. In this one, however, less brilliant for the team, he has already surpassed his personal record in the elite: 15 goals (14 in the League, two behind Pichichi Bellingham) and there are still 10 games left. The last one, with a mask after fracturing his right maxillary sinus three weeks ago in Las Palmas and losing consciousness. Real Madrid’s visit to El Sadar (4:15 p.m., Movistar) is the next objective of this tall, 1.90 tall striker who, at 32 years old, is experiencing his most lucid days. And in June, everything indicates that he will threaten Spain in the opening of the Euro Cup.

Of a discreet character, not at all ostentatious and deeply religious, last summer they saw him arrive in Tajonar in very fine form. What had not changed, and still does not change, is his perfectionist and crushing desire. In good times and bad times, when he finishes group training, it is common to see him exercising on his own for another hour, repeating finishes, unmarkings and movements over and over again. “He believes in this repetition methodology, more similar to other sports, like basketball,” he explains in Osasuna.

He was the first player who asked to speak to me before signing to find out how I would use him

Vicente Moreno, his former coach at Mallorca

Vicente Moreno, his coach at Mallorca, also remembers that when he arrived on loan from Italian side Crotone in January 2019. “Some colleagues saw such insistence as absurd, but it was clear to me that repetition is part of improvement. He would grab some young man and ask him to focus on him the way he wanted. He made shots of all kinds and changed his feet to take shots,” explains Moreno, who recognizes that the signing for the vermillions was more the club’s than his own, although he did have to appear at the last moment. “He asked to speak to me before signing. It was the first time it happened to me. He asked me if I knew him and how I would fit him into the team. He caught my attention and I liked him. He wanted to know everything. He is one of the players you want to work with, and he also demands of you,” the coach values.

“He is methodical and, at times, a little stubborn. It’s a oldcome“, described the sports director of the Navarrese club, Braulio Vázquez, last October when he renewed it until 2027. “With the same salary, he did not ask for more, and the same clause (20 million),” the entity points out.

Croatia stopped calling him after the World Cup in Qatar and in November his goal qualified them for the Euro Cup.

He arrived in Pamplona a quarter of an hour before the 2020 summer market closed in an operation that El Sadar describes with a popular classic: “A river stirs, fishermen gain,” they indicate. When Mallorca was relegated, despite Budimir’s 13 goals, the starting price set in Son Moix was “unaffordable”, according to Osasuna. Valladolid bid for him, but did not reach an agreement either. “So the last week was reached with a blockade (the player wanted to leave) and we reappeared to take him with a loan and a voluntary purchase option,” they detail in El Sadar. He scored 12 goals on loan and they paid eight million, the most expensive signing for the rojillos. “Chimy Ávila had broken his cruciate for the second time and, although it is a different profile, he came to alleviate that loss, as an offensive reference,” they explain from Tajonar.

Neither party has done badly. His 41 goals in First Division with the rojillos place him just four behind the legend Jan Urban (still far from Sabino Andonegui’s 57). And the forward has finally put his egg in a place after many years of searching for contracts. In that coming and going of destinations, Crotone bought him twice in two years: in 2016 for one million and in 2018, for 1.7. In the middle, he sold it to Sampdoria for 1.8.

Born in the Bosnian town of Zenica but raised in Croatia, Budimir has had a hard time settling down and enjoying his best afternoons. Also in the national team, where he debuted at the age of 29, he disappeared from the squad after the World Cup in Qatar and returned triumphantly last November. His first official goal, against Armenia, served to qualify Modric and his team for the Euro Cup. The happy days of oldcome Budimir.

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