Ivan Perisic: 5 things on Bayern Munich's loan signing from Inter Milan
Bayern Munich have secured the services of a familiar face to Bundesliga fans, with former Borussia Dortmund and Wolfsburg winger Ivan Perisic arriving on loan from Inter Milan for the season.
It's three years since the Croatian left the Bundesliga, though, so it's high time to fill in the gaps on the 30-year-old...
1) Ivan and the chicken farm
As a child, Perisic earned the nickname 'Koka', or 'hen', since he used to spend most of his time on his father's chicken farm in Croatia. He was forced to leave it behind in 2006, though, when his father pushed for his son to join French club Sochaux from Hajduk Split.
"Leaving for Sochaux was best for the family at the time," Ante Perisic told Slobodna Dalmacija newspaper. "I wanted them to move away from me and my suffering." The money Perisic earned in France was necessary to keep his father's chicken farm afloat, even if he did not ultimately feature in Sochaux's first team in three years at the club...
2) Becoming Belgium's finest
After failing to make the breakthrough in France, Perisic spent a successful loan spell in Belgium at Roeselare, scoring five goals in 17 appearances. That paved the way for him to earn another opportunity to show his talents in Belgium's top flight at Club Bruges, where he did even better.
In 2010/11, he scored 16 goals in 27 games as Bruges clinched a place in the UEFA Europa League by finishing fourth, and Perisic – the league's top scorer – was recognised as the Belgian Professional Footballer of the Year. That was enough to convince Jürgen Klopp to sign him for Dortmund.
3) Home sweet home
It was at the Signal Iduna Park where the new Croatia international really made his name. In one and a half seasons with BVB, the winger netted 12 goals in 64 games, including 28 appearances in the Bundesliga and all six in the DFB Cup as Borussia claimed a first domestic double.
Midway through the 2012/13 season, Perisic made the move to league rivals Wolfsburg. He was an instant starter for the Wolves and a crucial player over two and a half years, only missing matches through injury, as Dieter Hecking’s side secured the 2014/15 DFB Cup – the first in Wolfsburg’s history.
Watch: Perisic's top 5 Bundesliga goals
By now, teams across Europe were interested in Perisic’s services and came calling in the wake of that cup success. Inter won the race for the winger, but not before he picked up another medal in Germany, starting the Wolves’ Supercup triumph over new employers Bayern in August 2015.
A familiar face in the Bundesliga, Perisic returns to Germany – the country where his two children were born – and immediately encounters a familiar face himself. His new coach at Bayern, Niko Kovac, was previous his coach for the national team. Perisic won 16 of his 82 caps under the 47-year-old, as well as starting all three group games at the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, where Perisic scored twice.
4) Remember where you came from
Perisic started playing football for a club in his home town of Omis, a town of around 15,000 inhabitants, and he has never forgotten his roots. "Each year, even when he was at Bruges, Ivan would send us all sorts of kit and material," said Branko Susnjara, Perisic's first coach at NK Omis, to Sky Sport. "All the equipment these lads need came from him, and he comes to support us when we play on tour. Whenever he comes home, on a training break or even during his summer holidays, he'll come back and train here."
5) Beach volleyball bow
In 2017, Perisic tried his hand at another sport, earning a wildcard into the International Volleyball Federation Beach World Tour in Porec. His playing partner, Niksa Dell’Orco, tried to show him the ropes, but both were left digging their heads into the sand after defeat to Brazilian duo Alvaro Morais Filho and Saymon Barbosa in the first round.
"This was always my dream," Perisic said. "I've been playing beach volleyball since I was 10. I'm very passionate about this game and every summer I've been practising with my friend."
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