Croatian Legend Davor Suker can widely be regarded as one of the highest quality players to ever don the famous Claret & Blue, a true World Footballing great if there ever was one.
But, how did a star of his magnitude end up playing at Upton Park? How did the UEFA Champions League winner’s time in East London pan out? And where is he now?
Born in the former Yugoslav Republic, the forward began his diamond-encrusted Career with NK Osijek in what is now Eastern Croatia, where he would graduate into the first-team whilst still a teenager.
A successful spell with his hometown club would lead to interest from Croatia’s most decorated club in the form of Dinamo Zagreb, going on to net over 30 times in over 50 appearances for The Blues.
A time in which teams from Europe’s biggest Leagues started to watch the young Suker, eventually culminating in a switch to La Liga with Sevilla, where he would learn from teammate and Footballing Legend Diego Maradona.
Under his tutorship, Suker would become one of the best strikers in the entirety of The League, whilst his International Career took off to new with the newly-formed Croatian National Team.
After five years full of goals in Sevilla, he was signed up by one of the greatest teams in The World during that era in the form of Real Madrid, battling it out for the Golden Boot with the likes of Barcelona’s Ronaldo.
During his first season in Madrid, Suker would lift both The La Liga Title and The Spanish Super Cup Crown, but that would not top the achievements of his second campaign.
Winning The Champions League and Intercontinental Cup with The Galacticos was surely the Domestic highlight for the barnstorming forward, but in the summer, he would almost lift a much richer prize.
Alongside former Hammers Boss Slaven Bilic, Suker was an integral part of Croatia’s incredible run at the 1998 World Cup, scoring six goals and finishing in third place, winning The Golden Shoe.
His efforts would also yield a runner-up place in The FIFA Ballon d’Or Award and although never quite reaching those same heights again in his International Career, he is still his Nation’s all-time leading scorer.
Meanwhile, back in Spain, Suker was starting to see less and less first-team Football in spite of his remarkable summer and decided to up sticks in 1999, joining up with Arsene Wenger in North London.
By this stage, The Sukerman’s powers were beginning to fade ever so slightly but his spell at Highbury did bring some success, almost lifting The 2000 UEFA Cup Title.
However, the following summer, he was moved on yet again and this time Upton Park would be his destination as one of Harry Redknapp’s final signings in East London.
Netting in The Premier League against Manchester United and Sunderland and The League Cup against Blackburn Rovers, he failed to hold down a permanent position in the first-team and decided that 1860 Munich in Germany would be his final Footballing resting place.
After a two-year spell with Munich’s second-string aide, the prolific forward called time on his Playing Career, one that had lasted for the best part of 20 long years.
Having set up his own Footballing Academy, The Davor Suker Soccer Academy, which operates in several locations across Europe, The Sukerman is currently serving as The President of The Croatian Football Federation, after being appointed in 2012.
Davor Suker will not be remembered the most for the season in which he wore The West Ham United Shirt, but he was part of a very special generation of Hammers at Upton Park and surely one of the finest strikers to dazzle The Claret & Blue Army.