From the Nou Camp to Fratton Park

Player of the Week: Robert prosinecki
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The Independent Football

Robert Prosinecki's performance in Portsmouth's 4-2 First Division win over Grimsby on Monday was hailed as a "masterclass in the art of playmaking" by the official Pompey website. The 32-year-old Croatian did not score but played a role in all the goals, with Mark Burchill and Peter Crouch scoring two each.

The website added that the former Real Madrid and Barcelona midfielder "gave one of the most exciting and awesome performances by a blue shirt for many a long year".

Extravagant praise, yes. Hyperbole, no. Even the Scotland manager, Craig Brown, whose side must nullify Prosinecki's threat when he turns out for Croatia in Glasgow today, said: "Every time I see him, I marvel at his skill, ability and attitude. Against Latvia [in an earlier qualifier], he ran the game completely. He was superb. I am not deliberately hyping him up – the truth is that he is inspirational."

Prosinecki started his career with Dynamo Zagreb, won the European Cup in 1991 with Red Start Belgrade and then moved to Spain, primarily because of the war in his home country. Serious injuries curtailed his development in Madrid, where he spent two fruitless years. A better spell followed at Real Oviedo, which led to Bobby Robson buying him for Barcelona. A loan spell with Seville was then followed by a return home, to Croatia Zagreb.

For a player with his vision, distribution and powerful shot, especially from dead-ball situations, Fratton Park was the obvious next step.