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v Crystal Palace

Sunday 21 September K.O. 16:00

7

Nikica Jelavic

Forward

Nikica Jelavic
  • Born: 27/08/1985
  • Birthplace: Capljina, Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Nationality: Croatian
  • Apps/ Goals: 57 (23) / 23
  • Croatian international Nikica Jelavic joined Everton on January 31, 2012.

    The deadline day signing joined from SPL champions Rangers on a four-and-a-half-year deal for an undisclosed fee.

    Born in Capljina, the striker began his career as a youth at GOĊ K Gabela. A move to NK Neretva in Croatia came before a transfer to Hajduk Split at the age of 15.

    After breaking into the senior side at the age of 17, he spent five seasons competing in the Prva HNL before signing for S.V. Zulte Waregem.

    In 2007, Jelavic was called up to the Croatian national team for the Euro 2008 qualifiers, although he did not feature.

    He then started to crop up on larger clubs' radars, joining Austrian champions Rapid Vienna at the start of the 2008/09 season.

    His goalscoring became increasingly prolific, with seven goals in nine starts and 15 substitute appearances in his debut season. That was bettered in the next campaign with a return of 17 strikes in 33 games, as well as four goals in six Europa League fixtures.

    His international debut came on October 8, 2009 against Qatar. Jelavic came off the bench and scored his first international goal to give Croatia a 3-2 win in the final minutes of the game.

    On August 20, 2010, Jelavic completed a £4million move to Rangers. In his season-and-a-half at the Ibrox Stadium, the forward scored 36 goals in 55 appearances.

    The Croatian became David Moyes' third signing of the January 2012 transfer window, following the arrivals of Landon Donovan on loan and Darron Gibson.

    Jelavic made his Everton debut coming on as a substitute against Wigan on February 4, 2012 but was then sidelined with a stomach injury until the beginning of March.

    A substitute appearance at Loftus Road in the 1-1 draw with QPR gave fans a glimpse of what he could offer, but it was the very next game in which he captured their hearts.

    With 22 minutes on the clock at Goodison, Jelavic marked his home debut with a superb half-volley to seal a 1-0 victory over Tottenham.

    The goals would truly flow that month, with the Croatian capping a great team performance with one first-half strike and forcing the error for the second as the Blues beat Sunderland in an FA Cup quarter-final replay at the Stadium of Light.

    A brace at Norwich helped to earn a point and Jelavic again opened the scoring at Wembley a week later before the FA Cup semi-final turned on its head.

    Despite the result and the cup exit, the Blues bounced back in spectacular fashion - and Nikica was inflicting his reputation as an ice-cool finisher upon the Premier League.

    The sensational 4-4 draw against Manchester United in April saw the striker net a looping header and instinctive volley before another brace against Fulham at Goodison came six days later.

    The final day of the season saw Jelavic net again as the Blues beat Newcastle United 3-1. That took his tally for Everton to 11 goals - making him the Club's top scorer for the season despite only starting his first game with two months of the campaign left.

    Euro 2012 saw the instant fans' favourite transfer his form in front of goal to the international stage by netting in Croatia's opening group game against the Republic of Ireland.

    Jelavic scored his first goal of the 2012/13 campaign in August's 3-1 win over Aston Villa and then netted a winner for Croatia in their World Cup qualifer against Macedonia.

    However, the Croatian international found things more difficult in his second season in the Premier League but nonetheless bagged late winners against Sunderland,  Tottenham and Man City at Goodison. He had to contest with Victor Anichebe for a starting spot in the second half of the season and finished the season with eight goals to his name.

    Returning to pre-season after an extended break, Jelavic displayed form in front of goal with strikes against Real Madrid and Real Betis either side of a brace against Blackburn Rovers.

    He scored twice against QPR in the FA Cup in January but that would be his final Everton appearance before a switch to Hull City.

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