Norwich City FC midfielder Mario Vrančić was a young boy when his family fled the impending war in Bosnia and found refuge in Germany.
To mark Football Welcomes, Mario has answered the questions of Year 4 pupils at Avenue Junior School about his life and career.
Mario was born in Brod in Bosnia, one of the first towns to be hit by conflict when the Bosnian war broke out in 1992. Mario’s parents fled to Germany before the war began, his father going first to look for work, while Mario followed later with his mother. He cannot remember the details of the escape, but knows from his parents’ stories that it must have been a bad time. For a while, it was not certain that the family’s status would be recognized as war refugees, but the family received their right of residence in 1994. Mario began his football career at Mainz 05 and went on to play in Germany’s top league, the Bundesliga. He represented Germany at youth level and was part of the squad that won the 2008 European Under-19s Championships. In 2015 he made his debut for the Bosnian national team. “No one would be happier than me to play for the national team because Bosnia and Herzegovina is my homeland,” he said. “Regardless of where I would live, that Bosnian spirit and pride is always in me.” Mario signed for Norwich City FC in the summer of 2017 and is a central midfielder and a regular starter for The Canaries this season. Like the Gallego brothers, Mario’s older brother Damir is also a professional footballer and currently plays for German club FT Braunschweig.
Norwich City FC were one of 30 clubs across the country to support the Amnesty international Football Welcomes weekend in 2017. Across the country football clubs and fans came together to celebrate the contributions of refugee footballers to the beautiful game.
This year Norwich City FC are again proud supporters of Football Welcomes.
The club has several other strong links to refugee history and experience. Their nickname and emblem is a direct result of refugee migration! Find out more below.