Elvir Baljić (Turkish: Elvir Baliç) (born 8 July 1974) is a Bosnian football manager and former player. He was assistant manager of the Bosnia and Herzegovina national football team, with whom he qualified for the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
His career began with FK Željezničar, but in 1993, during the Bosnian War, he signed for FK Sarajevo. During his time with FK Sarajevo, he played eleven games, and scored eight goals.
Later, he was moved to Turkey where he played for Bursaspor. He was the best player at the club for several seasons, which made him an interesting target for the best Turkish clubs. During his spell in Bursaspor, he took also Turkish citizenship in 1996. However he chose playing for Bosnia and Herzegovina national football team instead of Turkey.
Fenerbahçe SK signed him in summer 1998 for €9.3 million. He spent a season at the Şükrü Saracoğlu Stadium scoring 18 goals in 30 appearances as the club finished the season in third place.
Baljić's stellar performances at Fenerbahçe made the 25-year-old a target for various European clubs. Still, his €26 million transfer to Real Madrid under club president Lorenzo Sanz during summer 1999 caused a major surprise. The signing was inititiated by Real Madrid's head coach John Toshack who knew Baljić well from Istanbul as the Welshman coached Beşiktaş while the Bosnian starred for Fenerbahçe. For more than a decade, the transfer fee paid by Real to Fenerbahçe for Baljić stood as the biggest sum of money paid for a player from ex-Yugoslavia, until Edin Džeko's January 2011 move from Wolfsburg to Manchester City for £27 million (€32 million).
Injuries such as a ruptured cruciate ligament in his left knee just before start of the season and subsequent loss of form caused Baljić's Real stint to turn sour pretty much immediately. Throughout the 1999–00 season he made only 11 league appearances (8 of them as substitute), scoring just 1 goal. He never managed to secure a first team place, and the November 1999 sacking of Toshack followed by the arrival of new head coach Vicente del Bosque marginalized Baljić even further. At the season's end, del Bosque included Baljić in the 18-man squad he took to Paris for the 2000 Champions League Final, but did not give him a single minute of action as Real beat compatriots Valencia CF.
During summer 2000 transfer window Baljić was sent back to Fenerbahçe in a loan deal.
Baljić spent the entire 2000–01 season back at his old stomping grounds. He simultaneously managed to recover some of his old form with 5 goals in 27 league appearances as Fenerbahçe won the Turkish Süper Lig.
In the following 2001–02 season he got a chance to showcase his abilities closer to the club that still held his rights as he got loaned to Madrid's Rayo Vallecano in La Liga. Baljić actually insisted on joining Rayo due to its proximity to Real as he had his eye on getting a fresh opportunity with the big club in the future. For their part, Real Madrid obliged and managed to hammer out a loan deal with Rayo. Also, in Rayo he joined countrymen and friends Elvir Bolić and Emir Granov, which Baljić cited as another reason he wanted to be at Rayo. However, the move did not do much to improve Baljić's standing at the Bernabéu as more injuries, poor form, and even disciplinary issues followed with only 1 league goal from 10 appearances.
During the summer 2002 transfer window, Baljić's Real contract was terminated and he again transferred back to Turkey - this time to Galatasaray. Due to his substantial price tag and the subsequent high-profile failure at Madrid, Baljić's acquisition by Real features consistently and prominently on various "worst-ever signing" lists.
Baljić turned just 28 years of age when he began his Galatasaray stint, but it soon became clear his best days were far behind him. His form was average at best and his overall interest in football seemed to be decreasing by the day. He said that he would retire on several occasions, but every time he would come back.
Baljić came back to the sport in January 2006, when he signed for Turkish side Ankaragücü. In the 2006–07 season, he played for Istanbulspor.
Baljić had been a prolific part of the Bosnian national team since its inception, scoring 14 goals in 38 caps. He will be remembered as the only player who scored four goals in single match for Bosnia-Herzegovina. It was a couple of weeks after he signed a contract with Real Madrid, in a game between Estonia and Bosnia-Herzegovina. The final result was 1-4. In February 2010 Bosnia's manager Safet Sušić revealed that Baljić would be one of his assistants. Sušić had previously been Baljić's manager in Turkey.
Scores and results table. Bosnia and Herzegovina's goal tally first:Real Madrid
UEFA Champions League: 2000
Turkish Super League: 2000–01
Bosnian Player of the Year: 1998, 1999