Every large European city has its favorite soccer club. Zagreb is no exception. If you are a soccer fan and find yourself visiting Zagreb, you should definitely visit the Maksimir Stadium, which is a home of the local favorite - Dinamo Zagreb club, and watch a few games.

Građanski nogometni klub Dinamo Zagreb (Dinamo Zagreb Citizens' Football Club) was founded in 1911 under the name HŠK Građanski (Croatian Citizens' Sports Club), it assumed its present name in 1945. Dinamo took the blue color of the jerseys from Građanski, because of this fans have been chanting "blues, blues" ("plavi, plavi" in Croatian) to the team for decades (today, their colors are gold and blue). The club's nicknames are: „modri“, „zagrebački plavi“, „plavi lavovi“ and „purgeri“.

Dinamo was the champion of Yugoslavia four times, and the runner-up 11 times. Since the foundation of the Republic of Croatia, Dinamo Zagreb is the club with the most trophies in the country. In the 2018/2019 season, the club won the Championship for the 20th time. The club achieved the biggest success in the 1966/1967 season, by winning the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup (the forerunner to the UEFA Cup, that is, today's European League). The "modri" reached that triumph by winning against the Czech's Spartak from Brno, the against the Scottish Dunfermline, Romanian Dinamo from Pitesti, the Italian giant Juventus and the German Eintracht. In the finals, they were better than the famed English Leeds United and thus becoming a "miracle from the Maksimir Forest".

Led by legendary coaches Branko Zebec and Ivica Horvat, and the team captain Slaven Zambata, who was the second scorer of the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup that season with six goals, Dinamo presented a number of great players to Europe - Stjepan Lamza, Zlatko Škorić, Rudolf Belin, Josip Gucmirtl, Vlado Čerček, Mladen Ramljak and Krasnodar Rora.

Nenad Dugi / CROPIX

There were players who were forever inscribed in the history of the club before and after that legendary generation - Branko Glaser, Ivan Jazbinšek, Zvonimir Cimermančić, August Lešnik, Stjepan Bobek, Tomislav Crnković, Zlatko Čajkovski, Milan Antolković, Ivica Horvat, Slaven Zambata, Drago Vabec, Zlatko Kranjčar, Velimir Zajec, Marko Mlinarić, Stjepan Deverić, Davor Šuker, Robert Prosinečki, Zvonimir Boban, Vedran Čorluka, Luka Modrić, to mention a few.

Today's Dinamo continues to play successfully on the international stage. In the 2020/2021 season, the club reached the quarterfinals of the Europa League, eliminating the favored London club, Tottenham. With this, Dinamo achieved the club’s second greatest success since winning the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup.

Dinamo is known among fans across Europe, for its loyal and fanatical fans - the Bad Blue Boys. This organized ultras group emerged in the 80s, and it was named after the then popular film "Bad Boys" with Sean Penn in the lead role. BBB's are authors of numerous fan murals throughout the city, you will surely notice them when you visit the city.

Even if there are no games during your stay, and you love soccer, you will have a chance to tour the Maksimir Stadium and peek into the chambers where great victories were prepared and dozens of trophies were raised. The visit to Maksimir, along with the story about the history of the club and the city, the interesting facts about the fan tradition in Zagreb, includes also a walk along the Maksimir field, a tour of impressive trophy rooms with several hundred trophies and much more.

Header image credit: Jakov Prkić / CROPIX