In Profile: Duje Ćaleta-Car

By SFC Media time Fri 02 Sep Ainsley Maitland-Niles
Photo by Getty Images | Duje Ćaleta-Car

Deadline-day signing Duje Ćaleta-Car brings international and Champions League experience to Southampton’s backline after signing a four-year deal at St Mary’s.

The imposing defender started his career at hometown club Šibenik in Croatia, making his senior debut at the tender age of 15.

A year later, he was on the move to Austria, where he gained further experience at FC Pasching and Red Bull Salzburg, where he made his Europa League debut at 18.

Spending time on loan at Liefering, Salzburg’s second team, Ćaleta-Car later became a regular fixture in a defence that won four Austrian Bundesliga titles and three successive league and cup doubles, as Salzburg dominated the domestic scene.

ROSTOV-ON-DON, RUSSIA - JUNE 26:  Alfred Finnbogason of Iceland clashes with Duje Caleta-Car of Croatia during the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia group D match between Iceland and Croatia at Rostov Arena on June 26, 2018 in Rostov-on-Don, Russia. (Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images)
Ćaleta-Car making his World Cup debut for Croatia against Iceland in 2018

His final season saw the team reach the semi-finals of the Europa League in 2017/18, only losing out to a goal in extra time against Marseille, who subsequently became the Croatian’s next club.

At the end of that season, Ćaleta-Car made his international debut against Brazil, and was included in the World Cup squad that ultimately reached the final for the first time in the country’s history, losing out to France in Russia. The defender featured in Croatia’s final group game, a 2-1 win over Iceland.

Following that unforgettable summer, he was on the move to France, spending the next four seasons with Marseille, twice finishing second behind Paris Saint-Germain.

Soccer Football - Ligue 1 - Olympique de Marseille v Paris St Germain - Orange Velodrome, Marseille, France - October 24, 2021 Paris St Germain's Kylian Mbappe in action with Olympique de Marseille's Duje Caleta-Car REUTERS/Eric Gaillard
Defending against Kylian Mbappé, as Marseille battled it out with PSG for titles

Ćaleta-Car played in the Champions League in 2020/21, and last season reached the semi-finals of the inaugural Europa Conference League, which was won by José Mourinho’s Roma, who had another of Saints’ deadline-day signings, Ainsley Maitland-Niles, in their ranks.

An experienced international with 23 caps, Ćaleta-Car represented his country all the way through the age groups and featured twice for the senior team at Euro 2020, against England and Spain, and will hope to be included for his second World Cup in Qatar later this year.

The centre-back amassed more than 250 appearances for Salzburg and Marseille combined, evenly split between the two clubs, including 48 games in European club competitions, ensuring he brings a wealth of top-level experience to his first assault on the Premier League.

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