Last Week our new striker linked up with his team mates for the first time. He was handed his Green & White uniform and then had a chance to take stock of his new surroundings. Directly afterwards an introduction with Zoran Barisic followed Jelic's first training session at the Ernst-Happel-Stadium's facilities.
It was about ten days ago that the first contact with our representatives was made: "I watched Rapid's international games and was completely convinced that this is the right move. I wanted to play in a strong league for a big club, and Rapid is simply the biggest and best club in Austria, its common knowledge", explained Matej after the training session. As well as rings of fans looking to snap photos of our newest acquisition, Mario Pavelic was also in close attendance. Our new forward doesn’t yet speak the German language "and it's better to have someone translate for me and thus allow me to better express myself." In this capacity Deni Alar and Mario Pavelic, who both grew up bi-lingual are useful allies. Srdjan Grahovac has also offered help in this department: after little over a year in Austria he is already speaking pretty fluent German.
Plenty of targets with Rapid
"It's good when you come to a club and team mates can help you with the language from the get go", added Jelic, who began his career at Dinamo Zagreb and held Thierry Henry as an early idol: "I'm someone who always want the ball. I don't wait for it, I go looking for gaps and go in hard against opponents". There doesn't seem to be any deficiencies in motivation here.
"I'm aware that as a striker for Rapid you have big shoes to fill”, smiled Jelic whilst Pavelic translated: "but I want and look forward to this challenge.” For ex-club MSK Zilina in the previous season Jelic bagged 19 goals in 29 games, scoring 13 already this year including 7 in the qualifying rounds of the UEFA Europa League. "I want to always give 100% and develop", explained Jelic, who is on the lookout for a new apartment in Vienna with his girlfriend. He is also keen to knuckle down with his German course: "I want to learn the language as quickly as possible." This determination is embodied in a tattoo under his right arm, which translates into: "as long as I work, I believe". This could become the motto of a successful Rapid career.