© GEPA pictures/Jasmin Walter
Pressing, passing and playmaking with Red Bull Salzburg’s Luka Sučić
Meet talented teenager Luka Sučić, the Red Bull Salzburg midfielder bringing his style, vision and creativity to the Champions League knockout stages.
When Red Bull Salzburg meet Bayern Munich in their Champions League return fixture, Luka Sučić will be one of the youngest players on the pitch. But the 19-year-old midfielder has maturity and composure way beyond his years.
Red Bull Salzburg’s first-leg meeting with Munich was a compelling 1-1 draw, and Sučić – the Austrian-born Croatian international – heads to the return fixture in Germany on Tuesday, March 8, raring to rejoin his team’s starting line-up after recovering from illness last month.
Here are six things you should know about Luka Sučić:
1. His team are heading to Munich believing anything is possible
In the first leg at the Red Bull Arena, Junior Adamu put Red Bull Salzburg ahead in the 21st minute after an imposing start. They were unlucky to concede the equalizer.
“We took a lot of encouragement from the first leg. I think we had deserved to win, but we'll head to Munich to win now,” said Sučić, who said he was feeling great ahead of the teams’ next meeting. “Everything is open. We'll prepare ourselves really well and head to Munich with a lot of anticipation.”
We'll head to Munich to win now
2. He knows his strengths and plays to them
A graduate of the Red Bull Salzburg Academy, Sučić made his Bundesliga debut for the club in September 2020 and is at his most dangerous in the final third of the pitch. He excels at finding space between the defensive lines.
“In big matches, it’s small things that are decisive, and so in this respect, you have to react very quickly. Since I was very young, I’ve had these skills [the creativity and ability to make quick decisions], and this makes me stronger as a player. I think it comes naturally,” said Sučić.
“I’m very good at reading the game, and I think that gives me an advantage.”
3. Being in a young dynamic team suits him perfectly
Sučić is with a squad of players he grew up with at Red Bull Salzburg’s Academy and is loving the team’s youthful energy and the shared experience.
“Of course, it’s a positive thing that we're the youngest team in the Champions League, but we're not thinking about our age.
“Everything fits very well together, and we're all really happy about that. Most players came up through the Academy, and that really helps when you've all known each other for years.”
4. Nerves just don’t bother him – he’s calm under pressure
With a wand of a left foot, Sučić is a dead ball specialist who often takes responsibility with free kicks, penalties and corners. His first Champions League goal came from the penalty spot last September against Sevilla. When the pressure is on, he has ice in his veins.
“I’m never stressed before a game – I’m a chilled guy. I focus on my tasks in the game and what we need to do. I try and do my best at it.”
I’m not ever stressed before a game – I’m a chilled guy
5. Lionel Messi and Luka Modric were his heroes growing up
So early in his career, the teenager says he's focused on the present and doesn't like to look too far ahead, but he admires the longevity of Luka Modric and Lionel Messi, the players whose thrilling football he grew up watching.
"Modric is my hero because he comes from Croatia as well, he has a fascinating game, and I think it's amazing what he's still achieving at age 36. I think from the first time I saw him play, he was my hero.
“Messi is the best player in the world for me because of his way of reading the game, the goals he scores, he's amazing, and I don’t think we'll ever see his equal.”
Messi is the best player in the world for me... I don't think we'll ever see his equal
6. He’s already a Croatian international player
Sučić has represented Croatia in every age group from the under 15s, and in October 2021, he made his senior debut against Slovakia alongside his hero Modric. Born in Linz, he also qualified to represent Austria, but in the end, it was an easy decision.
“It was easy for me to decide because I’d always wanted to play for Croatia. My family told me to decide whichever way I wanted.”