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The National (Scotland)
The National (Scotland)
Mark Walker

Ex-Celtic star Juranovic insists he turned down European giants for Union Berlin

Josip Juranovic has revealed he turned down the chance to sign for some European giants to move to Union Berlin because he refused to be a back-up.

And he admitted he remains gutted he had to leave 'world institution' Celtic after 18 months.

The Croatian World Cup hero sealed a £7.5 million move to the Bundesliga this month and made his debut for surprise title chasers Union Berlin last week.

He was linked with moves to Manchester United, Chelsea, Barcelona, Atletico Madrid and plenty of other massive clubs before opting to move to Germany.

And he explained his surprise decision to sign for Union despite firm interest from footballing superpowers.

Juranovic said: "I don't want to talk about the names of the clubs, but I will tell you that we had several options on the table. Some of those clubs were - I don't know how else to say it - much bigger than Union Berlin.

"But I would have gone to these clubs as a back-up option and I was not interested in that. Not because I'm afraid of competition, but because I want to play all the time and be in the eyes of Croatia manager Zlatko Dalic.

"Previously, some Croatian players signed for big clubs and didn't play for them and were dropped from the national team. I couldn't take the risk.

"That's why Union Berlin was my choice, because I was clearly told that they would bring me as a player they see in the first team and they are also a big club who are high up in the Bundesliga.

"But leaving Celtic was very difficult for me. I met so many good people there, so many friends who will remain my friends for the rest of my life.

"Sometimes I wonder if I was only there for 18 months because that time flew by.

"Celtic is a world institution, such a big club, a club that the fans adore so much. I shudder when I think about the 60,000 fans at every home game.

"Those derbies against Rangers are a special experience and you immediately understand why it is one of the biggest games that exist in the football world.

"At Celtic, the players respected each other. In Scotland, the football was hard, but fair.

"Celtic is a special way of life and I will remember those 18 months for the rest of my life."

And Juranovic is delighted with the way he has settled into his new club.

He added: "I want to improve myself as a player and the Bundesliga always seemed to me like a league in which I could play well.

"I enjoyed myself in the first game and Union's 3-5-2 system suits me. The Bundesliga is a big challenge, it is full of excellent clubs.

"My approach is always the same. Do your best and give everything for the team and you will always find the path you deserve."

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