Jarni celebrates his goal against Germany
The Jarni Saga Comes to an End
At long last, there is a conclusion to the ongoing saga of Real Betis's Croatian international Robert Jarni. It has been confirmed today that he has signed with European Champion Real Madrid. Real Madrid is to pay Real Betis $5.25 million for the left-sided player. The contract is for 3 years, and the details of it have yet to be released.
Jarni had a notable World Cup, in which he was a main reason that Croatia finished in 3rd place. His play as the left lateral defender with great attacking capabilities inspired Croatia, notably with a fine goal against Germany in the quarterfinal. Despite a dream World Cup, at the time, Robert was in trouble with his club team Real Betis Sevilla of Spain. This came about when he left early for the WC without giving proper notice to his club. This coupled with a fallout with the Real Betis President, and club officials vowed that Jarni would no longer play at Betis. At that point, after the WC, the Croatian was linked with Coventry, and the rumor-mad British press reported agreements between the two. Then Real Madrid came in the mix, and matched the offer. Jarni negotiated in Madrid, then changed his mind, said no, and all seemed that he was destinied to go to Coventry. Then last week, Coventry officials released statements saying that he would not play in England in 1998-1999, and their president assured he would play in Madrid. This day's signing brings this long story to an end.
Real Madrid now has a left side of any coach's dreams. The left lateral defense is the domain of the undisputed Roberto Carlos. The extreme left wing is now the terrain of Savio Bortolini, an outstanding young player, and the best Real Madrid player in the summer of 98. Raśl is an undisputed member of the starting 11 since he was seventeen, and he will continue, either as a left forward or left midfielder. Now Jarni comes in, with a versatile role as a possible understudy to R.C., or the spot as a left wing. He has also the possibilty of playing as the left interior midfielder. His inclusion will certainly add some competition for spots on the amazingly deep Real Madrid line-up.
The next step for Jarni is to seek success in Spain and Europe. He will have a shot in the Champions League, and he now can test his partnership with countryman Davor Suker on a new level. Real Madrid in the meantime will try to shuffle their lineup in an attempt to use all their cards, on a team potentially filled with trump cards. Real's next mission: reinforce the right side...