Awarded a UEFA Champions League debut on matchday one, Dinamo Zagreb’s teenage goalkeeper Adrian Šemper is the latest under the microscope in UEFA.com’s weekly wonderkid series.
Name: Adrian Šemper
Club: Dinamo Zagreb
Debut: 6 May 2016 v Slaven Belupo (Croatian First League)
Born: 12 January 1998
They say …
“He is young but very calm. He’s got everything he needs to be the Croatia keeper one day. He doesn’t have any major limitations – he is a big prospect.”
Marijan Vlak, former Dinamo goalkeeper and current assistant coach
“There is a bright future for Adrian and Dinamo should be part of that. If he continues to work and progress like this, he will be a world-class goalkeeper.”
Zoran Mamić, erstwhile Dinamo coach
Šemper joined Dinamo aged six and has come through the youth ranks to the first team. Though he made his senior debut in May, he did not become Dinamo’s No1 until late last month, following Eduardo’s transfer to Chelsea. The Zagreb-born shot-stopper was himself reportedly the subject of Chelsea interest last January. Dinamo rebuffed the London club’s advances, however, and offered him a five-year deal.
Playing style …
Šemper often calls his sports psychologist before big games, helping to maintain his focus and composure. He has excellent reactions, strength and ball-handling ability, and performs in a manner that belies his age.
Shades of …
Inspiration comes in the shape of Manuel Neuer. Šemper watches the Bayern München player’s matches and dreams of one day reaching the level of the German international.
Eureka moment …
Aged 18 years, eight months and two days, Šemper experienced the glitz and glamour of the UEFA Champions League for the first time when Dinamo faced Lyon last week. He has represented Croatia at Under-17 and U19 levels, and last season made five UEFA Youth League appearances.
Best-case scenario …
More bids for Šemper will doubtless be forthcoming if he continues to develop. A senior international call-up in the near future is not out of the question either.
He says …
“I am a Dinamo Zagreb boy. All my life I’ve dreamt that one day I would make my debut for the first team and I will never forget that moment. I’m living the dream right now.”