Birthday Boys- Portu and Mario Mandzukic


In today’s edition of the Birthday Boys sees us undertake the task of having a look at the career’s of Spanish winger Portu and Croatian journeyman Mario Mandzukic.


Credit: Reuters

Portu has been a great player in his position and one of the best in La Liga. His game brings many things and has seen his career blossom but, where did it all begin for the Spaniard.

The right winger started his youth career at Valencia and made his way into the B team in 2010.  He made 72 appearances for Valencia’s B team and not really unlocking his potential.

In 2014, he made his way out of Valencia to Albacete on a 2-year loan deal. In his first season at the club he made 39 appearances scoring six goals and three assists in all competitions. In his final year at the club, he played 40 times getting the same amount of goals as the season before but one less assist.

In 2016, the Spaniard made his move to Girona on a free transfer. That season Girona got promoted into La Liga with Portu scoring eight goals and getting eight assists.

In Girona’s first La Liga season, Portu scored more goals but assisted less scoring 11 goals and assisted six times in 37 appearances that season.

In his third season for Girona in La Liga he would score double digits in goals scoring ten times and assisted on three ocassions in 37 games for Girona.

In 2019, he made a £9 million switch to Real Sociedad to try and launch his career that bit extra. In 29 games this season, Portu has added assists back to his game. The winger scored seven times and assisted nine goals so far this season.

Mario Mandzukic


The Croatian forward turns 34 today and has been a hell of a journeyman starting in Croatia and moving to places like the UAE, Spain and Italy but, how did it all begin for Mario.

The Croatian started his youth career at Ditzingen in Germany but moved to NK Marsonia in 1996 to return to his homeland.

In 2003, the forward would move to Zeljeznicar SB on a one-year loan with the striker getting some valuable first team experience as a youngster.

In 2005, Mandzukic would move to NK Zagreb in the hunt of finding first team football. He played 25 games for the club scoring 11 goals and getting one assist.

After two years at NK Zagreb, Mandzukic moved to one of the biggest clubs in Croatia to Dinamo Zagreb for a fee of £1 million.

In his first season, he appeared 39 times, scoring 15 goals and assisting 12 times in all competitions. The next season would see him score even more and performing even better scoring 19 times and getting 15 assists in 38 appearances.

His third season for Dinamo Zagreb saw him make 35 appearances for the club scoring 19 goals another time and assisted eight times.

In July 2010, VfL Wolfsburg came in for Mario signing the Croat for £6 million luring him back to Germany. In his first season back in Germany he only managed to score eight goals and assist two times in 27 games showing the high demand of the Bundesliga.

The 11/12 season would see Mandzukic return to his best. 12 goals and ten assists in 33 games saw the forward get back to where he left off in Croatia and get used to the Bundesliga.

In July 2012, only two years after he came back to the Bundesliga, the forward was on the move again this time join German giants Bayern Munich for a fee of £11 million.

It was a bright start for Mandzukic in Baveria making a lot of appearances for the giants. He appeared a total of 40 times for Bayern in all competitions scoring 22 goals and getting four assists.

His second season at Bayern was his most successful for Bayern. He made 48 appearances that season scoring 26 goals and assisting ten times that season.

Atletico Madrid would acquire the services of the forward in July 2014 for £20 million. 43 appearances followed for the Croatian scoring 20 goals and assisting five times in all competitions for Atletico.

In July 2015, after one year in Spain, he left to go to Juventus for £22 million. He spent four and a half years in Italy. In total it was his longest spell at a club making 162 appearances scoring 44 goals and assisting 18 times.

In January 2020, he moved to the UAE to play for Al Duhail and has made six appearances so far scoring one goal.

Internationally, Mandzukic has played 89 times for the Croatian National Team scoring 33 times in the process. He has featured at two European Championships and two World Cups with Croatia missing out in the 2018 World Cup final losing to France.

He’s won bags of trophies for all the clubs he has played for. For Dinamo Zagreb, he’s won the Croatian Championship three times and the Croatian Cup twice. With Bayern, he’s won the German Super Cup, the UEFA Supercup, the FIFA Club World Cup, Bundesliga twice, German Cup winner twice and a UEFA Champions League winner. He won the Spanish Supercup with Atletico Madrid and he’s won the Italian Supercup twice, the Italian Cup three times and Serie A four times with Juventus.


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EFL/EPL and F1 writer. @AdrianKitaMedia on Twitter for any comments regarding my pieces on Prost International.

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