|Full name||Hrvatski Nogometni Klub Rijeka|
|Nickname(s)|| Riječki bijeli|
(The Rijeka's Whites)
|Founded|| 1926 (as U.S. Fiumana)|
1946 (as NK Kvarner)
|Ground|| Stadion Kantrida|
|Owner|| Social Sport Foundation (70%)|
City of Rijeka (30%)
|Current League||1. HNL|
|2013-14||1. HNL, 2nd|
|Website||Club home page|
Hrvatski nogometni klub Rijeka (English: Croatian Football Club Rijeka), commonly referred to as HNK Rijeka or simply Rijeka, is a Croatian professional football club from the city of Rijeka.
HNK Rijeka compete in Croatia's top division, HT Prva liga, of which they have been members since its foundation in 1992. During the reconstruction of Stadion Kantrida, their traditional home ground, Rijeka play their home matches at Stadion Rujevica. Rijeka's traditional home colours are all white.
The club was founded on 29 July 1946 as Sportsko Društvo Kvarner (Croatian) / Società Sportiva Quarnero (Italian). The club's official name was changed to Nogometni Klub Rijeka on 2 July 1954. In the summer of 1995, the club management added the adjective hrvatski (English: Croatian) to the official name. Rijeka are the third-most successful Croatian football club, having won one Croatian First Football League title, two Yugoslav Cups, five Croatian Football Cups, one Croatian Football Super Cup and the 1977–78 Balkans Cup.
The club was founded as SD Kvarner / SS Quarnero on 29 July 1946, after Rijeka (known by its Italian name Fiume until 1945) was ceded from Italy to Yugoslavia following the end of World War II. The club was named after the Bay of Kvarner and the broader Kvarner region, in which Rijeka is the administrative centre. The club's roots can be traced back to 1926, the founding of U.S. Fiumana, which competed at various levels of the Italian Football Championship, including a season in the top tier competition (Divisione Nazionale) in 1928. The two clubs used the same grounds (Stadion Kantrida) and eight U.S. Fiumana players later played for Kvarner.
During the early period in Yugoslavia, Kvarner had moderate success in various Yugoslav and local club championships. They were relegated at the end of their inaugural season in the Yugoslav First League in 1946–47. Kvarner changed its name to NK Rijeka on 2 July 1954 and returned to the First League in 1958. Rijeka remained in the top tier for 11 consecutive seasons until 1969, when they were once again relegated to the Yugoslav Second League. Despite finishing on top in four (out of five) seasons in the second tier, due to three failed qualifying attempts, the club only gained promotion back to the top tier in 1974. With varying success, Rijeka remained in top tier until the breakup of Yugoslavia in 1991. The club's greatest success during this period involved back-to-back Yugoslav Cup titles in 1978 and 1979. Rijeka were also a Cup runner-up in 1987, when they lost the final after a penalty shoot-out. Rijeka never finished higher than the fourth place in the Yugoslav First League. In 1984, the club came closest to their first championship title, finishing only two points behind Red Star Belgrade. Rijeka were also the best placed Croatian club in the Yugoslav First League in 1965, 1984 and 1987.
Rijeka in the 1. HNL
Following the breakup of Yugoslavia, in 1992 Rijeka joined the Croatian First Football League in its inaugural season. Rijeka remain one of only four founding member clubs to never have been relegated. In terms of greatest successes in this period, the club won its first-ever league title in 2017, ending Dinamo Zagreb's run of 11 successive titles. Rijeka has also won five Croatian Cups, including back-to-back titles in 2005 and 2006, in 2014, in 2017, which helped them secure the historic Double, and most recently in 2019. In the final round of the 1998–99 season, a refereeing error denied Rijeka their first championship title. With one match to play, Rijeka were one point ahead of Croatia Zagreb, needing a home win against Osijek to secure the title. With the match tied at 1–1, in the 89th minute, Rijeka forward Admir Hasančić converted a cross by Barnabás Sztipánovics. However, moments later, assistant referee Krečak raised his flag and referee Šupraha disallowed Rijeka's winning goal for an alleged offside. Following an investigation, 3D analysis revealed Hasančić was not, in fact, in an offside position, and that Rijeka were wrongfully denied their first championship title. An investigation by Nacional revealed Franjo Tuđman, the president of the Republic of Croatia and an ardent Croatia Zagreb supporter, earlier in 1999 ordered the country's intelligence agencies to spy on football referees, officials and journalists, with the aim of ensuring the Zagreb club wins the league title.
Rijeka participated in UEFA competitions on 19 occasions, including seven consecutive appearances since 2013–14. The greatest success was the quarter-final of the 1979–80 European Cup Winners' Cup, where they lost to Italian giants Juventus 2–0 on aggregate. The most memorable result in Europe was the home win (3–1) against eventual winners Real Madrid in the 1984–85 UEFA Cup. Controversially, in the return leg at Santiago Bernabéu Stadium, which Rijeka lost 3–0, three of their players were sent off. Madrid scored their first goal from a doubtful penalty in the 67th minute with Rijeka already down to ten men. Over the next ten minutes, two additional Rijeka players were sent off, most notably Damir Desnica. While Desnica received the first yellow card because he did not stop play after Schoeters blew his whistle, the second yellow was issued because he allegedly insulted the referee. However, unbeknownst to the referee, Desnica had been a deaf-mute since birth. With Rijeka reduced to eight players, Madrid scored two additional goals, progressed to the next round and eventually won the trophy.
In 2013, after winning 4–3 on aggregate against VfB Stuttgart, Rijeka qualified for the 2013–14 UEFA Europa League group stage. Rijeka also participated in the 2014–15 UEFA Europa League group stage, where they defeated Feyenoord and Standard Liège and drew with title-holders and eventual winners Sevilla. In 2017, Rijeka reached the 2017–18 UEFA Champions League play-off, where they lost 3–1 on aggregate to Greek champions Olympiacos, and automatically qualified for the 2017–18 UEFA Europa League group stage. In the group stage they recorded a famous home win (2–0) against AC Milan but once again failed to progress to the knockout stages.
In February 2012, Gabriele Volpi – an Italian businessman and the founder of Orlean Invest, as well as the owner of football club Spezia and water polo club Pro Recco – injected much needed capital into the club. With the privatization process complete by September 2013, Volpi, through Dutch-based Stichting Social Sport Foundation, became the owner of 70% of the club, with the City of Rijeka in control of the remaining 30%. On 29 December 2017 it was announced that chairman Damir Mišković, through London-based Teanna Limited, acquired the majority stake in the club from Stichting Social Sport Foundation.
In January 2015, Rijeka sold their star striker Andrej Kramarić to Leicester City for a club-record £9.7 million transfer fee.
Main articles: Stadion Kantrida and Stadion Rujevica
Until July 2015, Rijeka were based at Stadion Kantrida, their traditional home ground for over 60 years. With Kantrida awaiting demolition and reconstruction, since August 2015, Rijeka have been based at the newly-built Stadion Rujevica, an all-seater with the capacity of 8,279. Stadion Rujevica is part of Rijeka's new training centre and serves as the club's temporary home ground. Following the demolition of old Kantrida, a new, state of the art, 14,600 all-seater stadium will be built at the same location. In addition to the stadium, the investors are planning to build a commercial complex that will include a shopping mall and a hotel.
During most home matches, the majority of the seats are occupied by season ticket holders. For the 2017–18 season the club had 5,922 season ticket holders and 8,403 members.
Rijeka's ultras group are called Armada Rijeka, or simply Armada. The group has been active since 1987.
Rijeka's greatest rivalry is with Hajduk Split. Since 1946, the Adriatic derby is contested between the two most popular Croatian football clubs from the Adriatic coast, Rijeka and Hajduk. Other rivalries exist with Dinamo Zagreb and, at the regional level, with Istra Pula. The origins of the Rijeka–Pula rivalry date back to the clashes between Fiumana and Grion Pola since the late 1920s.
|Croatian First Football League 2017-18|