“Where is Robert Prosinečki now? Where are the former sports directors?” Olimpija director Igor Barišić asked rhetorically at Monday’s press conference. He himself already had all the necessary answers ready. The only ones he cares about. We confess or swear that we did not take his words as a challenge. They didn’t push us into an immediate action to find different answers, but the opportunity for a conversation that would shed light on the matter from the other side was nevertheless opened up. Diametrically opposite. He was a member of the golden generation, the author of one of the most iconic goals in the history of Slovenian football, he was also the right-hand man of Milan Mandarić and, finally, the sports director, who was taken from the dragon’s nest by the personnel tsunami carried out by the current Olimpija management set in the middle of last summer. Because of all the above, Mladen Rudonja was also an interesting interlocutor; he has been silent for the last year, but now he decided to talk about everything and everyone in an interview without holding back. From Albert Riera’s special talent to the famous documents with which he allegedly tried to sell Olimpia to a third party behind the president’s back. From the egos of the previous and current management to the championship team.
A bad year has passed since that turbulent event in Bled and then in Ljubljana. During this time, you did not appear in public very much, why did you decide to speak now?
I wanted to let the club and the team prepare for this season in peace and do it correctly. I am very happy that Olimpija finished the season where it belongs. I’m also happy that Albert Riera got involved quickly, I take this opportunity to congratulate him on winning the double crown. I also congratulate the players, who in my opinion are the most deserving of this success, I congratulate the fans. We must not forget Robert Prosinečke, who put together this team. Riera arrived a week before the start of the championship and he too was very honest when he mentioned that he had received the keys to a Ferrari. Of course, he had to be taken away and driven across the finish line, but we forget that the credit for the composition of this team also goes to Prosinečka. But I am sorry that the management cannot follow the successes on the field.
In what sense?
Things that have been dragging on for a long time at Olympia are being repeated. There are many reasons for this, but perhaps the one that Riera talked about with you stands out the most. These people are not from football, so they don’t understand certain things. If you want an example: Igor Barišić, as the business director of the club, cannot be the one who drives players to the club on his own. When I was still at the club, he brought in some new footballers without my knowledge – Pintola, Karamatić… It is understandable that in such a situation the sporting director and the coach cannot be satisfied. If you make it clear that the team needs a striker and also present proposals for potential reinforcements, then you come to training where a new defender appears out of nowhere… It doesn’t work that way. Especially with coaches such as Robert Prosinečki and Albert Riera. I know very well what was going on behind the scenes. That’s why I wasn’t the least bit surprised that the story with the latter ended the way it did. Unfortunately, the administration exceeds its tasks. They meddle in things that should be left to the people who put them in charge. They do everything but what they are supposed to do. They should be a support to the team, to the professional staff, to offer them opportunities to bring what the team needs. Then it happens that Riera forbids these people from entering the locker room. If everyone only cared about their part of the club, there would be much more peace at Olimpija and long-term plans could be made.
When you mention going beyond your duties, are you referring to your departure from the club?
Also. I have already mentioned part of what was happening with Barišić. Because of this, we went to the president, talked to him and asked him if he knew what was going on. He also said that he was not satisfied with Barišić and that he would replace him. Those were his words. Then all of us, together with the coaching staff, got resignation statements to sign. With this, Delius – as he claimed to us – would have made it easier to remove Barišić, because he would have shown him that he really does not have support in the club. We actually wanted to sign these statements, until one of us realized that signing this statement could leave us without any compensation. You can’t blame anyone if they decide they’re not happy with you and would rather work with someone else. But tell me. Say what you think, what you’re planning! Why all these games and lies? Why do you have to hide everything, work behind your back? This is not going anywhere and unfortunately such things do not bode well for the future of Olympia.
But when the current management group was most under attack and the fans were wondering who brought it to the Ljubljana club, many people pointed the finger at you.
YOU CAN READ THE FULL INTERVIEW WITH MLADEN RUDONJA ONLY IN FRIDAY’S PRINTED EDITION OF THE SN TEAM, WHICH IS ALSO AVAILABLE AT TRAFIKA24.SI!
Tags: Rudonja waited season hit Olimpija management lied signed ..