Mario Mandzukic is a striker blessed with pace, power and aerial prowess.
Born in Slavonski Brod on 21 May 1986, the Croatian began his career at local outfit NK Marsonia in 2004 before joining NK Zagreb a year later.
After notching 17 goals in 55 appearances in all competitions, fellow city dwellers Dinamo Zagreb came calling in 2007, recruiting him to lead the line for a team that went on to win three league titles and two domestic cups during his three-season stint.
The 29-year-old’s impressive performances in the Croatian capital caught the eye of Bundesliga side Wolfsburg in 2010, a club with whom he would bag 20 strikes in 60 appearances.
Mandzukic was on the move again two campaigns later, signing for European heavyweights Bayern Munich. During his richly successful time at the Allianz Arena, he won two Bundesliga championships, two DFB-Pokal titles, a DFL-Supercup, a Champions League, a Super Cup and a Club World Cup.
Forty-eight goals in all competitions over two years led Atletico Madrid to acquire his services in the summer of 2014, handing him the number nine shirt previously worn by fan favourites Fernando Torres, Falcao and David Villa.
His solitary spell in Spain saw him net 20 times in 43 appearances, including the winning strike that secured a 2-1 Supercopa de Espana aggregate victory over Atleti’s arch rivals Real Madrid last August.
On the international scene, Mandzukic made his full debut for Croatia during a Euro 2008 qualifier against Macedonia in November 2007.
The frontman appeared at both Euro 2012 and last year’s World Cup, finishing as joint-top scorer in the former with three goals. To date, he has represented his nation 60 times and found the back of the net on 19 occasions.
An imposing forward, Mandzukic, who possesses immense physical strength and has the ability to occupy a number of positions, is at his most dangerous in and around the opposition penalty area.