Thu 08 July 2021 | 13:30

Slaven Bilic Biography

Many football fans in Croatia know him as the one who introduced the new generation of the Croatian national team. In this article, we take a look at Slaven Bilic biography.

Slaven Bilic, born 11 September 1968 in Split, Yugoslavia, is a Croatian former played and current football coach. During his playing career, he was playing as a defender for many clubs, notably for West Ham United and Everton. By 2021, he is the coach of Beijing Guoan. He served as the national team coach of Croatia from August 2006 until the 2012 European Football Championship. He also played as a right-back in the Croatian national football team and has studied to become a lawyer.

In 1988, Bilic started his career with his parent club Hajduk Split. Later, he had successful spells with German side

Karlsruher SC

and English clubs West Ham United and Everton before ending his playing career in 2001. At the national team level, Slaven Bilic played as one of Croatia's most reliable defenders under national coach Miroslav Blažević, appearing in 44 international matches between 1992 and 1999.

With Croatia, Bilic participated in two tournaments, the 1996 European Championship and the 1998 World Cup. Croatia won the bronze medal at the 1998 World Cup finals in France, and Bilic's teammate Davor Suker was the tournament's top scorer.

His coaching career started in 2001 with Hajduk Split, coaching the team for the second half of the 2001/2002 season. From 2004 to 2006, he managed Croatia's U21 national team and then took over the senior national team from Zlatko Kranjčar in August 2006. Under his guidance, the national team made it to the quarter-finals of the 2008 European Championship and was national team manager for a further four years.

All You Need to Know About Slaven Bilic Biography

In 2012, he left the national team job for Russian club Lokomotiv Moscow and subsequently went to Turkey to manage Beşiktaş for two seasons before becoming coach of West Ham in June 2015. Bilic became the new head coach of the Chinese side Beijing Guoan on 6 January 2021.

Slaven Bilic Information

In this section of

Slaven Bilic biography

, we will share some general information about him such as

Slaven Bilic nationality

to let you know him much better.

Slaven Bilic Bio

  • Full Name: Slaven Bilic

  • Nickname: Nane

  • Profession: Professional Footballer

Slaven Bilic Physical Stats

  • Weight: 85 Kg

  • Height: 1.88 m

  • Eye Color: Blue

  • Hair Color: Black

Slaven Bilic Football Information

  • Position: Defender

  • Jersey Number: 6

  • Professional Debut: 1988

Slaven Bilic Date of Birth and Personal Info

  • Date of Birth: 11 September 1968

  • Birth Place: Split, SR Croatia, SFR

  • Zodiac Sign: Virgo

  • Nationality: Croatian

Stay tuned as in this section of

Slaven Bilic biography

we want to share some information about

Slaven Bilic childhood


Slaven Bilic Early Life

From the age of nine, Slaven Bilic was playing football for his native club

Hajduk Split

. His first professional appearance came in the 1988-89 season when he appeared in three matches and scored two goals.

After winning the first match 1-0 at home, where he was not on the squad, on 2 October 1991, he played the full 90 minutes in the First Round second leg match against

Tottenham Hotspur

, where they were knocked out after a 2-0 defeat.

After spending five seasons as a professional, during which he also won the first Croatian league after independence in 1991-92, Bilic transferred to Karlsruhe for a fee of £750,000 in the summer of 1993.


Slaven Bilic played his first match for the German club on 14 August 1993, in a 2-0 home victory against Hamburger SV, where he came on to replace his teammate Burkhard Reich in the 61st minute. After sitting on the bench for the next match against FC Koln, he started the next match against Borussia Mönchengladbach, where they clinched a 1-0 win. He gave the assist to the only goal of that match to the Russian striker Sergey Kiryakov.

On 4 December 1993, Bilic managed to score his first-ever Bundesliga goal for Karlsruhe in the home match against Hamburger SV, which he scored on 85th minute to equalize the match. In the 0-2 away win against SV Werder Bremen which they played on 12 March 1994, he gave the assist to Manfred Bender’s second goal of the match.

In the next month, he managed to score another league goal for his side, this time against

MSV Duisburg

, to help Karlsruhe win the match 1-2. During the 1993/94 Bundesliga season, he played a total of 26 matches, scored 2 goals and gave two assists to his teammates.

In DFB Pokal, he also was present in three matches for his club, where he scored a goal against Borussia Mönchengladbach on 11 September 1993. They were knocked out of the competition the next month with a 0-1 home defeat against the same team.

During that season, he played his first match in UEFA Cup for the club on 14 December 1993, in the first round first leg against PSV Eindhoven, where he played the full match that they won 2-1. With a goalless draw against the Dutch club two weeks later, they managed to go to the Second Round of the UEFA Cup.

He was present at the two legs of the Second Round against


, where they were defeated 3-1 in the first match, but managed to clinch a surprising 7-0 win against the Spanish club, with Slaven Bilic scoring one of the goals.

In the UEFA Cup, where they were able to reach the semifinals, but knocked out by the Casino Salzburg, he played a total of 9 matches and scored one goal.

Slaven Bilic started the 1994/95 season in the 2-0 home win against SC Freiburg, which was also the opener of the new Bundesliga season. On 16 September 1994, Bilic scored his first goal of the season in the 3-1 home victory against TSV 1860 Munich.

For the next match against 1. FC Köln, he was once again on the score sheet as he scored the first goal of his team with an assist from Michael Tarnat to make it 2-1. Bilic and his teammates managed to win the match 3-4.

During his second season at Karlsruhe, Slaven Bilic played 28 matches in Bundesliga, starting all of them, and scored 3 goals. He also played 4 matches in DFB Pokal, where his team were knocked out in the quarter-finals against 1. FC Köln.

The next season started for Slaven Bilic on 12 August 1995 in the opener of


against Eintracht Frankfurt, ending in a 2-2 draw. Two weeks later, he was present in the first round of DFB Pokal against Tennis Borussia Berlin, where he scored a goal to help his team win 1-2.

He also played in the 6 UEFA Intertoto Cup that season and scored two goals against Sheffield Wednesday and Górnik Zabrze. Bilic also converted one of the penalties in the semifinal match against Turkish side Bursaspor.

Stay tuned as in this section of

Slaven Bilic biography

we want to share some information about his playing career in London.

West Ham United

In the winter transfer window of 1996, he joined Harry Redknapp's

West Ham

for a fee of £1.3 million, where he played there for two seasons. He made his debut for West Ham on 12 February 1996 in the league match against Tottenham Hotspur, which they won 0-1.

Until the end of the 1995/96 season, Bilic played a total of 13 league matches for his new club and failed to score a goal or give assists to his teammates.

The next season started for him in the opening match of the English Premier League season against Arsenal FC, where he started the match and was replaced by Rio Ferdinand in the 87th minute. Slaven Bilic scored his first-ever goal for West Ham United on 29 September 1996, in the league match against Liverpool where they suffered a 1-2 home defeat.

In the 21st matchday of Premier League, he scored another goal for his team against


AFC, helping West Ham in a 2-0 win. That season Slaven Bilic played a total of 35 league matches for the club and scored two goals.


Everton bought the player for £4.5 million in March 1997, but Bilic opted to stay in London for the rest of the season to help the team avoid relegation, and in return, he received a £200,000 'loyalty bonus' from the club.

After the Hammers were saved in the league, the Croatian defender joined


in August. His first match under Everton was played on 9 August 1997, where he played the full 90 minutes against Crystal Palace. He received his first yellow card of the season in that match.

Bilic's first season was a fairly straightforward one, but he was forced to miss a number of games as a result of suspension due to the numerous cards he received. Bilic suffered a groin strain after the 1998 World Cup with the Croatian national team, which forced him to miss the first part of the 1998-99 season, playing few games in the remaining part of the season due to other injuries.

During his only season at Everton, Bilic played a total of 24 league matches for the club and gave one assist to his teammate Graham Stuart in the match against his former team West Ham United.

Everton decided to take Bilic out of the team in July 1999, while continuing to pay him £27,000 a week but allowing him to play with the national team and live in Zagreb. As a result, during the 1998/99 season, he only played four league matches for his club.

Two days after the club had agreed to a £1 million settlement to release him, Bilic switched back to Hajduk Split on 2 March 2000, where he went on to win his second Croatian Cup a few weeks later and where he concluded his career the following season.

Croatia National Team

Slaven Bilic debuted with the

Croatian national team

on 5 July 1992, in the friendly match against Australia in Melbourne, where they lost 1-0. He became one of the two starters in the middle of the defence and qualified with the team for the 1996 European Championship, in which Croatia was knocked out in the quarter-finals by the German team, who later won the tournament.

Two years later, Bilic also played in the World Cup in


, where Croatia established itself as the tournament's surprise team, defeating Romania in the round of 16 and Germany in the quarter-final, and eventually facing France in the semi-finals. Bilic's performance in this match, which his team lost 2-1, led to the dismissal of French captain Laurent Blanc and his subsequent absence from the final of the tournament, highlighting the consequences of a foul that the referee deemed a red card, and attracting criticism from some of the press for simulation.

After winning their next match against the Netherlands, Bilic and his teammates finished third in the competition. Bilic played his last match on 4 September 1999 against Ireland, in a victory (1-0) which was not enough for Croatia to finish second in the group behind Yugoslavia and qualify for Euro 2000.

He played a total of 44 matches for his national team, scoring 3 goals, all in the qualifications for France '98. Of those goals, two were against Bosnia-Herzegovina in two different matches (4-1 in the first leg in Bologna and 3-2 in the return leg in Zagreb), while the other was scored in the first leg of the playoffs against Ukraine, scoring the first goal of the two goals of Croatia that won 2-0 in Zagreb.

Slaven Bilic Profile

Hajduk's bench was his first coaching challenge, where he managed to win second place in the championship at the end of the season. In the UEFA Cup, his team was eliminated in the First Round following a 2-2 draw at home and a 1-0 lost away against the Polish club Wisla Kraków.

The appointment of Bilic as Hajduk coach caused strong reactions from fans, and also from journalists because they thought that he was not an experienced coach in this position. However, despite not winning anything, he managed to improve Hajduk's play and put them in the fight for the league championship with Dinamo.

When he announced his decision to leave the club, there were numerous attempts to persuade him not to do so, especially in the newspapers. In the final game, he was greeted by loud chants of his name from the fans.

For two years he was studying for his coaching license and he travelled to London and Turin to watch Arsène Wenger and Marcello Lippi's coaching and training methods.

U21 Croatia National Team

After leaving the Hajduk job, he was selected as the new head coach of the Croatian U21 national team. His first match was against Hungary U21, in the UEFA European Under-21 Championship Qualifying, where they managed to clinch a narrow 1-0 home win.

In the end, Slaven Bilic and his team failed to qualify for the European Championship after losing to Serbia and Montenegro in the play-offs, after which he had to undergo surgery for a spinal problem.

Although his spell with the U21 national team was not successful, it did allow Slaven Bilic to identify young talents, such as Eduardo da Silva and Luka Modrić, who were able to make a name for themselves.

Stay tuned as in this section of Slaven Bilic biography we want to share some information about his coaching career with Croatia.

Croatian National Team

He was chosen as the head coach of the Croatian national football team on 25 July 2006. In the wake of the failure at the

World Cup

in Germany under Zlatko Kranjčar's management, there were predictions of very difficult days awaiting national football. There had been problems in club football with little new talent development for a long time, and the national team was seen as having very few quality prospects.

Similarly, Niko Kranjčar continued to be an enigma, with the brothers Niko and Robert Kovač considering retirement and Dado Pršo finishing his national team career with no sign of who might replace him. Croatia's qualifying group matched them against the big teams like England and Russia, led by the world-famous Guus Hiddink, and other teams like Israel, Andorra, Estonia and Macedonia. It was predicted to be the most difficult qualification since independence.

He selected four players of the national team from the legendary Bronze '98, including Robert Prosinecki, Aljoša Asanović, Nikola Jurčević and Marjan Mrmić, to act as assistants. On the other hand, former players like Goran Vučević, Ivo Šušak, Gordan Ciprić, Dean Računica and Tonči Gabrić worked as scouts for the national team.

He also rejuvenated the national team, meaning that players like Stjepan Tomas, Mario Tokić, Ivan Bošnjak, Joey Didulica, Milan Rapaić and Goran Sablić made only brief returns and the likes of Luka Modrić, Vedran Ćorluka and Eduardo da Silva injected new life into the national team.

In the national team, the until then unremarkable Luka Modrić was transformed into a key player, Kranjčar moved to the left-wing where he began to have great games, Vedran Ćorluka debuted as a right defender, and Eduardo da Silva and Mladen Petrić were placed in the front line. Bilic made his debut on the bench in


against a different team, the newly crowned world champions Italy, and they won 2-0.

Croatia has never played a tougher qualifier in its history as great as they did under Bilic. The English giants lost 2-0 in Zagreb and 3-2 in an already legendary match at Wembley, the world-renowned maestro Hiddink got two undeserved 0-0 draws, Israel for the first time in many years lost at home 4:3 to Croatia, while in the same qualifying matches they went on to draw 1:1 against the English and beat the Russians 2:1.

This new national team built by Bilic proved to be very strong in character and excellent in terms of football. Several players made major transfers. By reviving the cult of the national team, which was welcomed at Zagreb airport for the first time after the 1998 World Cup, Bilic created a young, extremely powerful and courageous generation.

Croatia's performance at the European Championship in Austria and Switzerland in 2008 was ranked by many polls to be the most memorable event of 2008. Although undefeated, Croatia ended their European Championship campaign in the quarterfinals.

Following three wins in the group, defeating hosts Austria (1-0), then favourites Germany (2-1) and with a younger team against Poland (1-0), Bilic's side advanced to the quarter-finals. In the quarter-final match, Klasnic's goal in the last minute of the second extra time was about to take Croatia to the semifinals, but Semih Şentürk's goal a minute later meant that the match will be decided on penalties. In the penalty shootout, Luka Modric, Ivan Rakitic and Mladen Petric missed their penalties to let Turkey advance to the next round.

Having accomplished the objective he set himself, which was reaching the quarter-finals of the European Championship, as well as due to the unconditional support of the Croatian public, Bilic renewed his contract with the Croatian Football Federation for another qualification cycle and took the national team into the fight for a place at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.

After failing to qualify for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa by finishing third in their group behind England and just 1 point behind Ukraine, Slaven Bilic remained in his position as the Croatian national football team's manager.

In the qualification for the European Championship in Poland and Ukraine, Slaven Bilic managed to take the Croatian national football team to the 2012 European Championship after finishing 2nd in the group and defeating Turkey in the European Qualifiers Playoffs.

At the Euro 2012, Croatia was in a group with Italy, Spain and Ireland. After winning their first match against Ireland with three goals to one, they had a 1-1 draw against Italy in the second match, before losing 0-1 to Spain in the last match of the group stage. As a result, Croatia was knocked out of the competition by finishing in third place.


On 14 May 2012, Bilic joined

Lokomotiv Moscow

on a three-year contract and took charge of the railway team following the end of Euro 2012. Bilic sat on Lokomotiv’s bench for the first time on 20 July 2012, where he and his team managed to clinch an away 2-3 win against Mordovia Saransk in the Russian Premier Liga.

In the first nine matches in the league, Lokomotiv got 6 wins, 2 defeats and one draw, but after the 1-1 draw with Zenit in the 10th matchday of the season, their poor run of results started and they were defeated four times in five matches.

In the Russian Cup, Lokomotiv and Bilic were knocked out in the Round of 16 with a 3-1 away defeat against Akhmat Grozny. Under Bilic's management, Lokomotiv had a very unsuccessful season, placing only 9th in the league, marking the club's worst result in the history of Russian league competition.

It was because, according to Denis Glushakov, the Croatian did not have the necessary character to establish discipline and unite the team at the right time, the way it was managed by Yuriy Semin. One player described Bilic as the weakest manager he had ever worked with. Bilic was sacked as head coach of Lokomotiv on 17 June 2013.

Stay tuned as in this section of Slaven Bilic biography we want to share some information about his career in Turkey.


Bilic signed a three-year contract with Besiktas on 26 June 2013. His salary during the first season would be €1.5 million, €1.6 million in the second season and €1.7 million in the third season. Meanwhile, UEFA stripped the Turkish club of the right to play in the Europa League in the 2013/14 season because of the match-fixing scandal.

His first match as the head coach of the Turkish team was in the opening match of Turkish Super Lig on 18 August 2013, where they managed to win 2-0 against Trabzonspor. Four days later, they played in the Europa League qualifier against Norwegian Tromsø IL and lost 2-1.

Besiktas, under Bilic guidance, managed to win all of their first four matches in the league, but on 22 September, they lost 0-3 at home to Galatasaray. During the season, Besiktas had mixed performances in the league. They were also eliminated from the Turkish Cup with a surprising 2-1 defeat away against Bucaspor in the Fourth Round. Besiktas finished the Super Lig at third position with 62 points in 34 matches.

During his two seasons in charge in the Turkish club, Bilic was unable to achieve good results and left his post at the end of the 2014/15 season.

West Ham United

Bilic was appointed as head coach for English club West Ham United on 9 June 2015. Although they were eliminated early on from the Europa League, Bilic's team had a successful start to the season in the Premier League with three away victories over Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester City. It was reported that West Ham was able to achieve three away victories over these clubs in the same season for the first time in their history.

At the end of October, the team led by Bilic also triumphed over reigning Premier League champions, Chelsea. West Ham United moved up from 12th to seventh place at the end of the league.

During his second season as head coach of West Ham United, he managed to finish at 11th position with 45 points in 38 matches in the league. They also made it to the quarter-finals of the League Cup, before being eliminated with a 4-1 defeat against Manchester United.

He started the 2017/18 season with a heavy 4-0 defeat against Manchester United at Old Trafford. With just two wins in the first 11 league matches, he was fired from his position as manager of West Ham United after a 1-4 defeat against Liverpool at home.

Al Ittihad (Saudi Arabia)

After almost a year away from football, Bilic has been appointed as the new head coach of Al Ittihad in October 2018. His first match as Al Ittihad coach was on 19 October 2018, in a league game against Ohod Al-Medina, where he got a 1-1 draw.

Bilic and his team lost the next four consecutive league matches while he was experimenting with different formations. His first win with Al Ittihad came only seven matches later where they defeated Al-Batin FC 1-3.

Bilic failed to make much progress in the league and was sent off in February 2019, after a 0-2 home defeat against Al-Hilal Riyadh.

West Bromwich Albion

Bilic made his return to England on 1 July 2019, after taking charge of West Bromwich Albion. He made a victorious start to the new Championship season with a 1-2 win against Nottingham Forest. The team’s best run of the season came between 4 November 2019 and 8 December 2019 where they managed to win six consecutive league matches.

At the end of the 2019/2020 season, the club managed to finish 2nd in the Championship, following Leeds United and making it back to the Premier League. In their first match of the new season, Bilic’s team was defeated 0-3 at home against Claudio Ranieri’s Leicester City.

The team was one of the outsiders in the English Premier League, scoring only 7 points in 13 games, defeating only Sheffield United 1-0. The Croatian was dismissed after a 1-1 draw with Manchester City, which was the club's fourth of the season.

Beijing Guoan

Chinese side

Beijing Guoan

announced the signing of Slaven Bilic on 6 January 2021 on a two-year contract. In his first match in the opener of the new Chinese Super League season, they were defeated 2-1 against Shanghai Shenhua.

Style of Play

Slaven Bilic is known as one of the very tactical Croatian football coaches of his generation and he always likes to experiment with different systems and tactics in his clubs. At Croatia national team, however, he mostly played with 4-4-2.


In Croatia, many regard him as one of the best coaches of his generation and the one who built the new generation of the Croatian national team. However, on the club level, he has failed to establish himself as a good coach.

Slaven Bilic outside Football

He has an academic law degree. Besides Croatian, he is fluent in English, German and Italian, and speaks Russian, Turkish and Spanish. He is considered by journalists and fans to be the most extravagant coach in world football: Bilic's hands are decorated with tattoos, he smokes and has long worn an earring in his left ear.

Slaven Bilic Personal Life

In this section of Slaven Bilic biography, we will take a look at his personal life and share some information about

Slaven Bilic life story


Slaven Bilic religion


Family, Children and Relationships

He is divorced after being married for fifteen years to lawyer Andriana. He has a son Leo and a daughter Alana. Besides Croatian, he is fluent in English, German and Italian, and speaks Russian, Turkish and Spanish.

As a Catholic: he always wears a medallion with St Anthony of Padua, he also sometimes wears medallions with the image of John Paul II and wears a T-shirt with the image of Our Lady.


Bilic always tries to participate in many different charity projects mostly in his native country and has been a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador since 2008.

Legal Issues

So far there are no reports of legal issues or disputes for the Croatian football coach on media.

Slaven Bilic Career Statistics

In this section of Slaven Bilic biography, we will take a look at his career stats both on the club and international level.


In 375 matches played with different European football clubs, Bilic managed to score 42 goals, which is good for a defender.


For 7 years between 1992 and 1999, Bilic played a total of 44 matches for his country, scoring 3 goals.


In a total of 428 matches he has coached as of July 2021, Slaven Bilic has a win ratio of 46.26 percent with 198 wins, 110 draws and 120 defeats.

Slaven Bilic Honors

As a player, Bilic won the Croatian First League and three other trophies with Hajduk Split, while with Croatia he was third-placed in the 1998 World Cup.

As a manager, he has no particular trophy, however, he managed to achieve promotion to the EPL with West Ham in 2020.

His notable personal awards include Best Croatian footballer of 1997 and Media Servis person of the year among others.

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