Vedran Ćorluka (pronounced [ʋědran tɕǒrluka]; born 5 February 1986) is a Croatian footballer who plays for Lokomotiv Moscow as a defender. He is also a part of the Croatia national team.&nbsp

Early days

Ćorluka was born in Modran, a village near Derventa, Yugoslavia, in present-day Bosnia and Herzegovina, but it was officially said he was born in Doboj because his village Modran was closer to Doboj Hospital.[2] He started to play football in Dinamo Zagreb's youth teams when he was only eight years old, impressing many scouts from the youth academy.[3] Ćorluka's professional career started in 2003 but during that season he didn't make an appearance for the first team. He was sent on loan to Inter Zaprešić and played one season for them, helping the team to second place in the league, before returning to Dinamo Zagreb in 2005. After establishing himself as a key player in Dinamo, he went on to help them win the Prva HNL title three seasons in a row, first in 2006 and thereafter. He also played a dominant part in his side capturing the Croatian cup in the 2006 season.

Manchester CityEdit

After consistently strong performances, Ćorluka was signed by Manchester City on 2 August 2007.[4][5] City did not reveal the fee, but Croatian media reports suggested the deal was worth around £8 million, with the 21-year-old penning a five-year deal.[6]

As usual, he consistently found a starting spot for his side in the Premier League. Despite a nightmare blunder during his side's shocking 6–0 defeat to Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, he remained strong during his first season in England as his side finished 9th in the league and gained entry to a UEFA Cup qualifying round via the UEFA fair play ranking. On few rare occasions, he was also used as a defensive midfielder during the season, proving to be a factor for opposing attackers.

He scored his first goal in the 4–2 loss at Aston Villa on the opening weekend of the 2008–09 season.[7] In the UEFA Cup second qualifying round match second leg, Ćorluka scored the decisive spot kick in the dramatic 4–2 penalty shoot-out victory over Danish minnows Midtjylland after the tie had ended 1–1 on aggregate. He played his last match for City against Sunderland on 31 August 2008, throwing his shirt into the crowd at the end of the match.[8]

Tottenham HotspurEdit

On 1 September 2008, it was announced that Ćorluka had signed for Tottenham Hotspur for a fee of £5.5 million on a six-year contract, joining his fellow Croatian international and best friend, Luka Modrić at the club.[9] During the game against Stoke City on 19 October, Corluka was severely injured. Kneed under his chin by teammate Heurelho Gomes, he was immediately knocked unconscious. After ten minutes of on field treatment he was rushed to hospital where it was announced no serious damage was evident.[10] In the Carling Cup final on 1 March 2009, Ćorluka scored his first and Tottenham's only penalty in the shootout loss to Manchester United. He is known to most Spurs fans as 'Charlie'.[11]

Ćorluka scored his first Premier League goal for Tottenham during a 2–2 draw against Bolton Wanderers on 3 October 2009. On 2 February 2011, Corluka started and played the full 90 minutes at right-back ahead of the injured Alan Hutton, in the 1–0 victory over Blackburn Rovers at Ewood Park.[12]

Bayer Leverkusen loanEdit

In the January 2012 transfer window, Ćorluka signed on loan for Bundesliga club Bayer Leverkusen for the remainder of the 2011–12 season on 31 January with the option to buyout his contract in the summer transfer window.[13]

Ćorluka made his debut for the club in a 2–2 home draw against Stuttgart at the BayArena on 4 February, playing the full 90 minutes.[14] In his only Champions League appearance for the club, Ćorluka provided the cross for Michal Kadlec's leveler in the 52' before being substituted in the 90' by Danny da Costa, losing 3–1 to Barcelona.[15] On 25 February, the defender provided an assist for the first of Lars Bender's brace in the 2–0 win over Köln.[16] The Croatian's last appearance for the club came in a 4–1 thrashing of 1. FC Nuremberg on 5 May,[17] a game in which Leverkusen striker Kießling scored a hat-trick.[18][19]

Despite Leverkusen having an option to buy his contract off at the end of season they decided not to pursue the option with financial difficulties being cited as the main obstacle.

Lokomotiv MoscowEdit

On 27 June 2012, Lokomotiv Moscow announced the signing of Ćorluka from Tottenham Hotspur for £5.5million. The signing came in light of recent naming of Slaven Bilić, an ex-Croatia manager, as the manager of Lokomotiv. Ćorluka signed a three-year contract following the successful completion of his medical examination.[20]