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Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Nikica Jelavić

Date of birth: 27.08.1985
Place of birth: Čapljina
Height: 1,88
Nationality: Croatia
Position: Striker - Centre Forward
Foot: both
Nickname: Jela, Jelly
Chant: ...Jela, Jelavić, Jelavić, Jela, Jelavić!

Croatian striker Nikica Jelavić joined Everton in January 2012 from Scottish club Rangers who at the time were in a right financial mess.

Did You Know? Jelavić scored his first 10 Everton goals in just 910 minutes on the pitch. This record was better than the likes of Graeme Sharp, Bob Latchford, Dixie Dean and Duncan Ferguson!

Jelavić was born in Čapljina, SFR Yugoslavia and started off at his local youth side GOŠK Gabela.

His career took a more serious turn when he moved to the nearby cross-border club in Croatia, NK Neretva from the town of Metković, managed by Branko Gutić.

At the encouragement of Ante Prco, Ivan Gudelj, Dražen Mužinić and Vilson Džoni he was brought to Hajduk Split's junior side at the age of 15.

He played his first match for Hajduk's senior side in the Prva HNL at the age of 17. Five years later in 2007 he signed for S.V. Zulte Waregem.

For the season 2008–09 Jelavić played for the Austrian champions Rapid Vienna. In the Austrian Bundesliga he played 24 games (as first squad in 9 and as substitute in 15) and scored 7 goals without any yellow or red cards. In 2009–10, in the Austrian Bundesliga he played in 33 games (as first squad in 31 and as substitute in two) and scored 17 goals with 5 yellow cards and 1 red card. In the Europa League, he played six games and scored four goals with one assist.

In the summer of 2010 Jelavić was linked with a transfer to Rangers. A fee was originally agreed between the two clubs on 26 July, but the transfer was delayed by a dispute between the player and Rapid Vienna over a payment Jelavić claimed the club owed him. On 19 August, Rapid announced that Jelavić would be signing for Rangers, after the player announced he would not play in Rapid's Europa League qualifying match against Aston Villa.

On 20 August 2010, it was announced that Jelavić had completed a £4 million move to Rangers on a four-year-deal. He made his debut in a home match against St. Johnstone on 28 August 2010. Due to his former club Rapid Vienna eliminating Aston Villa from the Europa League, Jelavić was ineligible to participate in Rangers' Champions League campaign, after becoming cup tied after appearing for the Austrian side in the earlier rounds.

On 22 July 2011, a day before Rangers opening match of the season against Heart of Midlothian, it was announced that Jelavić would wear the number nine shirt for the 2011-12 season he had previously worn the number 18.

On 30 August 2011, it was reported that Rangers had rejected a £6.5m bid from Championship club Leicester City for Jelavić. Jelavić scored his first European goal for Rangers on 3 August 2011 in a 1-1 draw against Malmö in a UEFA Champions League qualifying game.

On 5 November 2011 Jelavić scored his first brace of the season helping Rangers to a 3-1 victory over Dundee United. Jelavić scored another two goals in a 2-0 win over Hibernian on 10 December 2011. His third brace of the season came on 14 January 2012 in a 2-1 win over St Johnstone.

On 31 January 2012, Jelavić signed a 4-and-a-half year deal with Everton for an undisclosed fee and will wear the number 7 shirt.

He made his debut for Everton away against Wigan Athletic on 4 February 2012 coming on as a second half substitute.

Jelavic scored in the FA Cup quarter final replay against Sunderland to help Everton reach the Semi Final of the competition. He also scored in the Semi Final, however Everton were narrowly beaten.

Notably Jelly also bagged a brace away against Manchester United where the Blues came from behind to draw 4-4!

During the 2012-13 season Jelavic struggled to recapture his form for Everton and at times looked really frustrated and seemed to be trying too hard to score.

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