Josip Juranovic explains ‘sad’ reason behind Celtic January exit and moment he knew writing was on the wall

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The former Hoops full-back lifted the lid on his Parkhead departure for the first time since moving to Germany.

Josip Juranovic reckons the Celtic board should have done more to keep him at Parkhead - admitting he felt the writing was on the wall following the arrival of Alistair Johnston to add fresh competition for the right-back position.

The Croatian international, who had been heavily linked with a move away from Glasgow, left the Hoops in January for Bundesliga outfit Union Berlin in a £7.5million deal plus add-ons after months of speculation surrounding his future.

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His form at the World Cup last winter attracted attention from European giants Barcelona, Chelsea and Manchester United as the 27-year-old helped his country to a third-placed finish in Qatar.

Josip Juranovic excelled at Celtic for 18 months before joining Union Berlin.Josip Juranovic excelled at Celtic for 18 months before joining Union Berlin.
Josip Juranovic excelled at Celtic for 18 months before joining Union Berlin.

Since completing his move to Germany, Juranovic has made an instant impact at his new club who sit just five points adrift of Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund at the top of the table in third place.

However, he was left disappointed that the Scottish champions never put up a strong fight to keep him in Glasgow’s East End. The addition of Canadian internationalist Johnston from CF Montreal and with Anthony Ralston also an option at full-back, Juranovic felt he had to leave in order to safeguard his position with the Croatian national team.

He admitted: “I had a really good relationship with the fans. I really loved it. It was a tough time to move way, but that’s life. I was a little bit sad Celtic didn’t try to keep me as a player there. But that is football. You can’t know your future.

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“To be honest I was a little bit surprised because I was playing in the World Cup and preparing for my next game. Some of my friends called me and said they’d signed a new full-back, what’s your opinion about that? I was just putting it to the side and concentrating on the World Cup, as it’s the biggest stage in football and I wanted to perform well.

“In my mind I was thinking, we would have three full-backs and someone will be on the bench and someone in the stands with their family. I knew I would maybe not play two games in a row and maybe play the third one.

“I didn’t like some of that stuff – because of the national team. If you are not playing regularly for your club, you won’t get called up for the national team. That’s the main reason why I left.

“I spoke with Ange (Postecoglou) one week before I moved. We always had an honest conversation between us. He is a good coach – a really good coach and I tried to keep him informed. My 18 months there was unbelievable. What can I say about Celtic? It’s one true love.”

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Despite feeling upset with the nature of his exit, Juranovic admits he holds no grudges against Celtic as he revealed when he first became aware of Union’s interest.

“Maybe two weeks before the transfer was finalised,” he confirmed. “I didn’t think a lot about my situation because first I had the World Cup and I was concentrating fully on that. Then I was reading som news that I would be going to, I don’t know, Man united, Chelsea and so on.

“But we need to be realistic. This was the right move for me from my side. In my career, i haven’t ever jumped twop steps ahead. I am always going one step then one step, upgrading my career. I want to play football and that is the main reason why I am here.”

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