Mate Bilić

Mate Bilić
Mate Bilić
Personal information
Full name Mate Bilić
Date of birth 23 October 1980 (1980-10-23) (age 31)
Place of birth Split, SFR Yugoslavia
Height 1.84 m (6 ft 0 in)
Playing position Striker
Club information
Current club Sporting Gijón
Number 9
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1997–2001 Hajduk Split 62 (18)
1999 Mosor (loan)
2001–2004 Zaragoza 18 (1)
2002–2003 Almería (loan) 31 (9)
2003–2004 Sporting Gijón (loan) 41 (15)
2004–2005 Córdoba 31 (3)
2005–2006 Lleida 40 (18)
2006–2008 Rapid Wien 54 (17)
2008– Sporting Gijón 108 (27)
National team
1996 Croatia U17 2 (0)
1998–1999 Croatia U19 6 (2)
2000–2001 Croatia U21 8 (4)
2009– Croatia 7 (3)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 21 May 2011.

† Appearances (Goals).

‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 1 August 2011

Mate Bilić (born 23 October 1980 in Split) is a Croatian footballer who plays for Sporting de Gijón in La Liga, as a striker.

During his professional career, he played mainly in Spain - where he arrived at the age of 21 - representing five different clubs.


Club career

Bilić began his professional career in 1997 at hometown club HNK Hajduk Split, and went on to establish himself as a regular during the 1999–2000 season, after a season-long loan spell with NK Mosor in the Croatian second division. In two seasons combined, he scored 15 league goals for Hajduk, including nine in 2000–01, as the club won its fourth top flight title.

At the end of August 2001, Bilić transferred to La Liga side Real Zaragoza, but failed to impress as he only scored one goal in 18 league appearances. Between 2002 and 2006, he would represent, one season each, UD Almería, Sporting de Gijón, Córdoba CF and UE Lleida (all clubs playing in the second division).

In June 2006, Bilić signed with Austrian Bundesliga SK Rapid Wien. However, in January 2008, he returned to Spain and Gijón, helping the Asturian side return to the topflight after a 10-year absence (despite playing in roughly only half of the games, he netted ten goals).

On 13 September 2008, Bilić scored a sour hat-trick at Sevilla FC, as Sporting was eventually downed 3–4.[1] During the season, he again formed an effective offensive partnership with David Barral, with the pair combining 22 league goals for an eventual retaining of Sporting's league status; in the following seasons, he was much more sparingly used, only scoring one official goal in the 2010–11 campaign, in the Copa del Rey against RCD Mallorca (2–2 home draw, 3–5 aggregate loss).[2]

International career

Between 1996 and 2001, Bilić won a total of 16 international caps for the Croatian under-17, under-19 and under-21 national teams, scoring six goals. However, he was also eligible to play for Bosnia and Herzegovina before making his full international debut for Croatia, as his parents hailed from Tomislavgrad, Bosnia and Herzegovina.[3]

Croatia head coach Slaven Bilić first called his namesake for a friendly game against Romania on 11 February 2009, but he did not feature in that game. He eventually made his full international debut on 14 October 2009, in the nation's final 2010 FIFA World Cup qualifier against Kazakhstan in Astana, coming on as a substitute for Mario Mandžukić in the 63rd minute. Croatia won the game 2–1, but failed to reach the play-offs after finishing third in their group.

On 14 November 2009, Bilić scored his first international goals, in a friendly with Liechtenstein in Vinkovci, helping to a final 5–0 success. The first of his two came only 42 seconds after kick-off and is currently the fastest goal ever scored by the Croatian national football team.[4] On 19 May 2010, in another exhibition game, against Austria in Klagenfurt, he replaced Mladen Petrić at the hour-mark, and scored the only goal of the match in the 86th minute.[5]

International goals

Goal Date Venue Opponent Score Result Competition
1–2 14 November 2009 Cibalia, Vinkovci  Liechtenstein
3 19 May 2010 Hypo-Arena, Klagenfurt  Austria


  1. ^ Sevilla FC 4-3 Sporting Gijon; ESPN Soccernet, 13 September 2008
  2. ^ Nsue domeña el sueño copero del Sporting (Nsue takes over Sporting Cup dream); Marca, 11 November 2010 (Spanish)
  3. ^ Bilić, eligible for Bosnia (Croatian)
  4. ^ Napunjena mreža Lihtenštajna; Sportnet, 14 November 2009 (Croatian)
  5. ^ Produžen savršen skor s Austrijom; Sportnet, 19 May 2010 (Croatian)

External links

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