Darko Milanič

Darko Milanič (born 18 December 1967) is a Slovenian professional football manager and former player. Besides Slovenia, he has managed in Austria, England,[2] and Slovakia.

Darko Milanič
Milanič managing Maribor in 2017
Personal information
Date of birth (1967-12-18) 18 December 1967 (age 53)
Place of birth Izola, SR Slovenia, SFR Yugoslavia
Height 1.84 m (6 ft 12 in)[1]
Position(s) Defender
Youth career
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1986–1993 Partizan 94 (2)
1993–2000 Sturm Graz 190 (10)
Total 284 (12)
National team
1991–1992 Yugoslavia 5 (0)
1992–2000 Slovenia 42 (0)
Teams managed
2004–2006 Primorje
2007–2008 Gorica
2008–2013 Maribor
2013–2014 Sturm Graz
2014 Leeds United
2016–2020 Maribor
2020–2021 Slovan Bratislava
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

As a player, Milanič represented both Yugoslavia and Slovenia at international level. He also captained Slovenia at UEFA Euro 2000.

Club career

Born in Izola, Milanič began his football career with local side NK Izola. In the 1986–87 season, he joined Partizan. During his time at Partizan, he won the Yugoslav First League and the Yugoslav Cup twice.

After the 1992–93 season, Milanič moved to the Austrian side Sturm Graz, where he played for eight seasons and won eight trophies, including two Austrian Bundesliga titles, three Austrian Cups and three Austrian Supercups.

In 2000, at the age of 32, Milanič retired early due to injury and to pursue a coaching career in football.[3][4]

International career

During his spell at Partizan, he earned five caps for Yugoslavia.[5] Even after the independence of Slovenia, Milanič, as being a player of a Serbian club (Partizan), was included by Yugoslavia for the UEFA Euro 1992,[6] but the nation would be suspended due to the Yugoslav Wars.[7]

Milanič later represented Slovenia, earning 42 caps.[8] He captained his country at the UEFA Euro 2000, including a match against his former national side, Yugoslavia, which ended in a 3–3 draw.[7]

Coaching career

After his football career, Milanič turned to coaching. He started his coaching career at his hometown club Izola. After that, he was appointed manager of Primorje and an assistant coach at Sturm Graz under Franco Foda during the 2006–07 season.


At the start of the 2007–08 season, Milanič was appointed as the head coach of Gorica, where he helped guide them to a third-place finish in the Slovenian PrvaLiga. In the 2007–08 UEFA Cup, the team was knocked out in the first qualifying round after losing over two legs to Rabotnički.


On 29 May 2008, Milanič was appointed head coach at Maribor by Director of Football Zlatko Zahovič.[9] He won the Slovenian PrvaLiga during his first year in the 2008–09 season. In May 2010, Maribor won the Slovenian Cup. After winning this trophy, Milanič became the first coach that have won all three domestic trophies in Slovenian club football, having won the Slovenian League and the Slovenian Supercup before that.[10] He has achieved that in only two seasons.

At the beginning of the 2012–13 season, Maribor played in their fourth successive Supercup. The club defeated their "eternal rivals" Olimpija Ljubljana 2–1 to clinch their second Supercup title.[11] In January 2013, Milanič was selected as the Slovenian Manager of the Year for 2012 by winning the league, cup and supercup.[12]

Milanič led Maribor to the group stages of the 2012–13 UEFA Europa League as one of the losers in the play-off round of the 2012–13 UEFA Champions League, where they were eliminated by Dinamo Zagreb.[13][14] This was the second season in a row in which Maribor qualified to the Europa League main stages. They managed to get four points out of six matches,[15] defeating Panathinaikos[16] and drawing with Tottenham Hotspur,[17] both at home. On 9 November 2012, Maribor suffered a 3–1 defeat to Tottenham Hotspur after a hat-trick by Jermain Defoe.[18] In the final game of Group J, Maribor suffered a 4–1 defeat to Lazio.[19]

Maribor confirmed their eleventh league title on 11 May 2013 after defeating Olimpija Ljubljana 2–1.[20] In the 2013 Cup Final, Maribor defeated Celje 1–0, thus securing their fourth "double" in the club's history.[21]

Sturm Graz

On 4 June 2013, Milanič became a manager of Sturm Graz in the Austrian Bundesliga, with Novica Nikčević as his assistant. One of his first signings was Robert Berić, whom he signed from his former club, Maribor. Sturm Graz were knocked out of the Europa League after losing 1–0 on aggregate in the second qualifying round to Breiðablik UBK.[22] He led his side to a fifth-place finish during his first season during the 2013–14 season.

On 21 September 2014, during a press conference, Sturm Graz revealed that Milanič would be leaving the club to join an English side Leeds United after agreeing to buy out his contract at Sturm Graz to make the move.[23][24]

Leeds United

On 23 September 2014, Milanič was appointed as manager of Leeds United on a two-year deal, replacing Dave Hockaday. He was joined at Leeds by his Sturm Graz assistant Novica Nikčević.[25] Milanič parted company on 25 October 2014, minutes after a 2–1 loss to Wolverhampton Wanderers,[26] just 32 days after taking over, for failing to win any of his six games in charge.[27]

Return to Maribor

On 2 March 2016, Milanič returned to the Slovenian PrvaLiga club Maribor.[28] He became the Slovenian champion with the team in the 2016–17 season.[29] Milanič led Maribor to the group stages of the 2017–18 UEFA Champions League after eliminating Zrinjski Mostar, Fimleikafélag Hafnarfjarðar, and Hapoel Be'er-Sheva in the qualifying rounds.[30] In the 2018–19 season, he won his sixth league title with Maribor.[31] He resigned in March 2020 after a 2–1 home defeat against Bravo.[32]

Slovan Bratislava

On 7 September 2020, Milanič took charge of Slovak club Slovan Bratislava, signing a one-year contract with an option for further two years, with Novica Nikčević named as his assistant.[33][34] He was sacked on 9 May 2021 after a series of poor results, despite reaching the cup final and topping the league table.[35]

Managerial statistics

As of match played 9 May 2021[1]
Managerial record by team and tenure
Team From To Record
G W D L Win %
Primorje 15 June 2004[36] 12 April 2006[37] 63 24 15 24 038.10
Gorica 6 June 2007[38] 27 May 2008[39] 38 15 9 14 039.47
Maribor 29 May 2008[40] 3 June 2013[41] 248 138 61 49 055.65
Sturm Graz 4 June 2013 22 September 2014 53 21 12 20 039.62
Leeds United 23 September 2014 25 October 2014 6 0 3 3 000.00
Maribor 2 March 2016[42] 7 March 2020[43] 196 105 56 35 053.57
Slovan Bratislava 7 September 2020[34] 9 May 2021[35] 32 22 6 4 068.75
Total 636 325 162 149 051.10




Sturm Graz[46]




See also


  1. "Darko Milanic". footballdatabase.eu. Retrieved 1 December 2016.
  2. Plestenjak, Rok (15 October 2016). "Zahovićeva marioneta? S tem se je naučil živeti" (in Slovenian). Siol. Retrieved 6 May 2021.
  3. "Leeds: Massimo Cellino confirms Darko Milanic is new boss". BBC Sport. 23 September 2014. Retrieved 23 September 2014.
  4. Phil Hay (21 September 2014). "Leeds United: Milanic to be named United head coach tomorrow". Yorkshire Evening Post. Archived from the original on 21 September 2014. Retrieved 21 September 2014.
  5. Players Appearing for Two or More Countries Archived 3 August 2008 at the Wayback Machine
  6. "Pancev también renuncia a la Eurocopa". Mundo Deportivo (in Spanish). 25 May 1992. Retrieved 5 June 2019.
  7. Rok Viškovič (31 May 2012). "Leta 1992 ni vedel, da je v Sloveniji tako resno" (in Slovenian). Siol. Retrieved 26 June 2020.
  8. "Darko Milanič – Nogometna zveza Slovenije" (in Slovenian). Football Association of Slovenia. Retrieved 26 June 2020.
  9. "Milanič na vroči vijolični klopi" (in Slovenian). RTV Slovenija. 29 May 2008. Retrieved 17 February 2021.
  10. Tina Pertoci (13 May 2010). "Zahovič: Milaniču izrekamo veliko zahvalo" (in Slovenian). Siol. Retrieved 26 June 2020.
  11. "Maribor superpokal obdržal doma" [Maribor kept Supercup trophy at home] (in Slovenian). RTV Slovenija. Retrieved 9 July 2012.
  12. "Darko Milanič trener leta" (in Slovenian). NK Maribor. 2 January 2013. Retrieved 26 June 2020.
  13. "Minimalen poraz Maribora, ki napoveduje srhljivko v Ljudskem vrtu" [Minimal defeat for Maribor] (in Slovenian). RTV Slovenija. Retrieved 31 August 2012.
  14. "Maribor si je zobe znova polomil ob slovenskem rablju z Maksimira" (in Slovenian). RTV Slovenija. Retrieved 31 August 2012.
  15. "Štiri točke so realnost" (in Slovenian). Nogomania. Retrieved 7 December 2012.
  16. "3:0! Maribor osupnil Evropo in prevzel kar vrh lestvice" [3:0! Maribor astonished the Europe and took the top spot] (in Slovenian). RTV Slovenija. Retrieved 7 December 2012.
  17. "Maribor naredil težak izpit z veliko točko" [Maribor passed difficult exam with a big point] (in Slovenian). RTV Slovenija. Retrieved 7 December 2012.
  18. "Tottenham 3–1 Maribor". BBC Sport. 9 November 2012. Retrieved 9 November 2012.
  19. "Four-goal Lazio leave Maribor as Group J winners". UEFA. 6 December 2012. Retrieved 6 December 2012.
  20. "Berić zadel za noro noč v štajerski prestolnici" (in Slovenian). RTV Slovenija. 11 May 2013. Retrieved 13 May 2013.
  21. "Maribor na (kratke) počitnice z dvojno krono" [Maribor on short holidays with the double crown] (in Slovenian). RTV Slovenija. 29 May 2013. Retrieved 30 May 2013.
  22. "Gefle comeback tops bill on night of surprises". UEFA. 25 July 2013. Retrieved 26 June 2020.
  23. "Leeds United: Milanic to be named United head coach tomorrow". Yorkshire Evening Post. 21 September 2014. Archived from the original on 21 September 2014. Retrieved 21 September 2014.
  24. "Leeds United makes move for manager Darko Milanic". NBC. 21 September 2014. Retrieved 21 September 2014.
  25. "UNITED CONFIRM DARKO MILANIC". Leeds United A.F.C. 23 September 2014. Retrieved 23 September 2014.
  26. "Leeds United 1–2 Wolverhampton". BBC Sport. 25 October 2014. Retrieved 25 October 2014.
  27. "Darko Milanic: Leeds United part company with head coach". BBC Sport. 25 October 2014. Retrieved 25 October 2014.
  28. R. K.; M. L. (2 March 2016). "Zahovič: Na vsaki tekmi "krvaveti", drugače rezultata ni" (in Slovenian). RTV Slovenija. Retrieved 14 July 2017.
  29. Aleš Vozel (6 May 2017). "Čas za "čago" v štajerski prestolnici: Maribor je spet prvak" (in Slovenian). RTV Slovenija. Retrieved 14 July 2017.
  30. Aleš Vozel; Dolores Subotić (22 August 2017). "Čaroben večer v Ljudskem vrtu: Maribor šampion v Ligi prvakov!" (in Slovenian). RTV Slovenija. Retrieved 23 August 2017.
  31. Rok Viškovič (30 July 2019). "Kralj Safet in ribič Darko" (in Slovenian). Siol. Retrieved 27 June 2020.
  32. Marko Kovačevič (9 March 2020). "Premik šele v tretjem polčasu". Večer (in Slovenian). Retrieved 27 June 2020.
  33. "Novým trénerom futbalového Slovana Bratislava sa stal podľa očakávaní Darko Milanič". Denník N (in Slovak). 7 September 2020. Retrieved 7 September 2020.
  34. Mađerić, Davor (7 September 2020). "URADNO: Milanič prevzel slovaškega velikana". Slovenski nogometni portal (in Slovenian). Retrieved 7 September 2020.
  35. "URADNO: Darko Milanič po porazu ostal brez službe" (in Slovenian). Nogomania. 9 May 2021. Retrieved 9 May 2021.
  36. STA (15 June 2004). "Darko Milanič trener Primorja". 24ur.com (in Slovenian). Retrieved 26 June 2020.
  37. STA (12 April 2006). "Primorje in Milanič sta se razšla". 24ur.com (in Slovenian). Retrieved 26 June 2020.
  38. Uredništvo (6 June 2007). "Darko Milanič trener Hit Gorice". Delo (in Slovenian). Retrieved 26 June 2020.
  39. M.F. (27 May 2008). "Milanič zapustil Goričane". 24ur.com (in Slovenian). Retrieved 26 June 2020.
  40. Dario Dotto; Simon Šparavec (29 May 2008). "Milanič novi trener Maribora" (in Slovenian). Siol. Retrieved 26 June 2020.
  41. Š. Ro. (3 June 2013). "Šok v Mariboru: Darko Milanič odhaja". Delo (in Slovenian). Retrieved 26 June 2020.
  42. Ig. K. (2 March 2016). "Potrjeno, Milanič trener Maribora". zurnal24.si (in Slovenian). Retrieved 26 June 2020.
  43. M. R. (7 March 2020). "Milanič po novem porazu Maribora: Prišel je pravi čas, da se poslovim" (in Slovenian). RTV Slovenija. Retrieved 26 June 2020.
  44. "Darko Milanic – emotional man". FK Partizan Belgrade. Archived from the original on 10 October 2014. Retrieved 7 October 2014.
  45. "Trophies". FK Partizan Belgrade. Archived from the original on 26 June 2014. Retrieved 7 October 2014.
  46. "Nationale Titel" (in German). SK Sturm Graz. Archived from the original on 7 October 2014. Retrieved 7 October 2014.
  47. SPINS XI 2011–12