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Dražen Petrović: The King of Real Madrid


Dražen Petrović spent only one season in Real Madrid, but Real fans seemed to feel that he had spent all the time there. Real leaders agreed with Dražen in the utmost secrecy, and on October 27, 1986, he signed a contract with the most celebrated and the most legendary European club in Madrid. Nearly two years before the end of the contract with Cibona Zagreb, Dražen signed a four-year contract with Real, the contract contained a clause that he could leave before the expiration of the contract. Hall of Famer Mirko Novosel represented Dražen during negotiations and Antonio Arizaga represented Real Madrid. Novosel managed that Dražen, just five days after his 22 birthday, signed for that time an unimaginable contract worth more than a million dollars. Novosel was also able to extend his stay in Cibona for another two seasons, with playing for the national team and the Summer Universiade in 1987. Almost everything was planned for him in Barcelona. However, leading men of Barcelona were somehow reluctant and they said he should wait a day or two...Immediately Real came by and Dražen signed a royal club membership card. Everything was agreed in five minutes.

"My greatest wish came true," Dražen said. To move to Real Dražen was also given the red Porsche, which shortly afterward was stolen.

It was clear that Dražen would leave Cibona, and he could only go to the big club. And Real was such. So many times he had destroyed Real while playing for Cibona. They played for the first time on December 6, 1984. Cibona won by 99:90. Dražen scored 44 points, 29 in the second half. The second time they played on January 31, 1985, in Madrid, Cibona won again, the result was 89:87, and Dražen scored 35 points. The third time they played in the Champions Cup Finals in 1985 - Cibona - Real 87:78. Dražen scored 36 points. In January 1986, Cibona won against Real in Madrid by 108:91. Three minutes before the end result was 100:75. Dražen with 49 points. Next time Cibona won again by 88:81, Drazen had 43 points. In two Euro seasons with Cibona (1985 and 1986), in five matches with Real, the won ratio was 5-0. Dražen averaged 41.4 points per game.

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Real could only stop him in one way - to bring him to his ranks. How much they hated him in Madrid before, now they worshiped him. Dražen had a status as a Spanish football player. In Madrid, he touched the sky. He stayed in Madrid for 365 days. He wore jersey number 5, played 47 games for Real Madrid and scored 1,026 points, an average of 28.3 points per game. In his first 45 days with Real, he won the King’s Cup and was named the Most Valuable Player of the game. His team defeated Barcelona in the finals of the Spanish Cup.

In the finals of the European Cup Winner’s Cup, Real played in Athens against Snaidero from Caserta. The final score was 117-113, with Dražen scoring a career-high 62 points.

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