Former Red Star football player Ivan Toplak passed away at the age of 90 in Maribor, the club announced today.
Toplak was born in 1931 in Belgrade, he started his football career in Branik from Maribor, and established himself in Ljubljana’s Olimpija.
He played for the Red Star from 1954 to 1961 and scored 144 goals in 210 games in that period.
Toplak spent two years as a coach in Zvezda, from 1964 to 1966, and later worked with the young and Olympic national team of Yugoslavia, with which he won bronze at the Olympic Games in Los Angeles in 1984.
He played one match for the senior team of Yugoslavia as a player, while as a selector he led the national team in eight games from 1976 to 1977.
He also tried his hand as a coach in the United States, where he led the California Clippers, a team from the University of Salford and San Jose Earthquakes for eight years.
Mrkela: Toplak was an example of a true expert and pedagogue
“A great man who marked the whole epoch in the Red Star left us, and he gave a lot to Serbian and Yugoslav football. I had the privilege and honor to know him and learn from him. Toplak was an example of a top connoisseur, expert and true pedagogue, “Mrkela told the club’s website.
Former football player and coach of the Red Star, Ivan Toplak, passed away today in Maribor at the age of 90.
Toplak was also the selector of the Yugoslav Olympic team, which won bronze in 1984, and Mrkela was part of that team.
“He was my selector in the Olympic team when we won the bronze medal in Los Angeles in 1984. He led that great generation very well, with players like Dragan Stojković Piksi, Bora Cvetković, Jovica Nikolić and many other outstanding football players.” said Mrkela.
“That success will forever remain inscribed in the national football history. Ivan Toplak will forever remain in my memory,” he added.