Former Liverpool midfielder Igor Biscan has moved back to his first club, Croatian champions Dinamo Zagreb. Biscan signed a three-and-a-half year contract with the Croatian side on Monday, and will be able to play for them from January.
Biscan was signed by Gerard Houllier in 2000, for around £5.5m, as a central midfielder. In what became a pattern under Houllier, the player was rarely used, and when he was he was more often than not used out of position by the Frenchman. He spent a lot of time playing in the reserves as a central defender.
By the time he’d left the club in 2005, he’d become something of a cult hero, and had played a part in Liverpool’s fifth Champions League success, having been drafted into the first team by Rafael Benitez because of injuries for many of the Reds knockout games leading to Istanbul.
Despite his good performances in the latter stages of that season, there was no offer of a new contract for him and he went to Panathinaikos. He has been a free agent since the summer.
Dinamo president Mirko Barisic said: “I am extremely happy with Igor Biscan’s return. I was already president when he went to Liverpool and it’s with joy I now see him here again. My big wish is that Igor finishes his career here, he has a big role with Dinamo and we want to be successful in Europe with him.”
Coach Branko Ivankovic was delighted too: “This is a brilliant start to the future for the club, everyone is thrilled and full of enthusiasm. Igor is back at his own club, among his own players. We’ve already shown the club’s intentions by signing Boban, Sokota and Mikic. We expect to achieve all of the ambitions and goals we have set for ourselves.”
Igor himself said he was thrilled: “After seven years I have returned to my club, and of course I’m thrilled. I believe I will fulfil all the expectations of me. When I left, Dinamo were going down, but now they have a good future and this administration is proving how ambitious they are day by day. Now it’s my duty to match the expectations of all those who worked hard on bringing me back and to Dinamo hold onto its domination in the Croatian league, and to maintain consistency in Europe.”
Biscan has been without a club since the summer but says that he has tried to keep in shape: “I have to admit that I’ve not been training for six months, but I haven’t let myself go. I’ve started training with Mr Miljenko Rak who will hopefully get me back into surely help me to get back to routine as soon as possible. I want to get myself fit and be available as soon as possible.”
Biscan is unlikely to make a return to the national team, despite changes of manager since he was told he was unwelcome in the squad: “The national team is a painful subject for me,” he said, “and after everything that happened I don’t see myself going back to it. A lot of things would need to happen before I would feel any desire to return. Some people within the national team did a lot of bad things – to me and my family – and I think it’s understandable I don’t want to go back. Even though there are many new players and a new coach, I do not want to go back. The former coach said he would call me up if I was needed, but he never did. I simply do not feel I belong there.”
Igor was captain when he left Zagreb, but doesn’t see himself getting the job back: “I don’t expect the captain’s armband. Dinamo already have a captain and vice captain, but I am of course flattered that people see me in that role. It isn’t fair for me to speculate now about whether I’ll be made captain, it’s something the team should decide. If circumstances lead to me becoming captain though it would of course be a huge honour for me.”