Mario Mandzukic was born on May 21, 1986 in Slavonski Brod. He fled war-torn Yugoslavia for Germany and in 1992 set out on the path to a career in professional football with TSF Ditzingen. Four years later he returned to his homeland, where he joined local club NK Marsonia, scoring 14 goals in his debut season in the Croatian second division.
Super Mario MK II
After nine years, the right-footed forward moved to capital city and top-flight club NK Zagreb, aged 19. The Croatian earned a cross-city move to Dinamo two years later, scoring 54 goals in 109 appearances, earning his first call-up to the national side and winning three national titles and two domestic cups, before moving to Bundesliga outfit VfL Wolfsburg in 2010.
Mandzukic scored just eight league goals in his first season at the club, but followed that up with a further twelve in 2011/12, the Croatian Player of the Year accolade and three goals at EURO 2012. That was enough to persuade FC Bayern, the club 'Super Mario II' would join that summer, initially as back-up for the injured Mario Gomez. Surpassing expectation, the versatile forward went on to establish himself as the Bavarians' leading marksman, with 15 goals in 24 Bundesliga appearances in his debut, treble-winning no less, season at the Allianz Arena.