Zeljko Buvac Hints at Being the ‘Brain’ Behind Jurgen Klopp’s Success



Zeljko Buvac (L) worked with Jurgen Klopp for 17 years until 2018 | Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

Former Liverpool assistant manager Zeljko Buvac has explained the reason he has no interest in becoming a head coach is because he already felt like he was doing the job of a manager during his 17 years working alongside long-term colleague Jurgen Klopp.

Klopp himself once dubbed Buvac, a former teammate of his at Mainz, ‘The Brain’ and the Bosnian has long been renowned for his football intelligence. But intimations from Buvac that he was a manager in all but name and Klopp was more the performer for the cameras may not go down well.

Jurgen Klopp, Zeljko BuvacBuvac suddently left Liverpool in 2018 | Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

The seemingly unbreakable pair, who travelled from Mainz, to Borussia Dortmund, to Liverpool together for close to two decades, suddenly parted ways in 2018 amid a rumoured breakdown in their relationship. Neither has ever spoken about what happened to cause the split.

Whatever did transpire, it seems as though relations are still frosty.

Following Buvac’s departure, Liverpool went on to win the Champions League and later the Premier League, while he is now sporting director at Dynamo Moscow, taking the job in February after nearly two years out of the game.

In an interview with Russian journalist Nobel Arustamyan, shared by The Athletic, he explained why he has no desire to go into management himself, unless Barcelona offered him a job.

Zeljko BuvacBuvac has since become sporting director at Dynamo Moscow | Matthew Ashton – AMA/Getty Images

“It felt like I’ve been the manager for all those 17 years [with Klopp],” he said.

“I did the job of a manager, except speaking in public and giving interviews. Apart from that, I had all the functions and tried to influence my team as much as I could to help them succeed. But I didn’t need that kind of attention…I don’t want to be a manager now.”

Despite three years working at the club, Buvac admitted that he didn’t congratulate anyone at Liverpool when they finally ended their 30-year league title drought last season. It has also been noted that he didn’t even mention Klopp by name.

“I was happy for Liverpool, for the fans, for the players. But I didn’t [offer congratulations],” he said.

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