|Full name||Mate Bilić|
|Date of birth||(1980-10-23) 23 October 1980 (age 41)|
|Place of birth||Split, SR Croatia, SFR Yugoslavia|
|Height||1.84 m (6 ft 0 in)|
|1999||→ Mosor (loan)|
|2002–2003||→ Almería (loan)||31||(9)|
|2003–2004||→ Sporting Gijón (loan)||41||(15)|
|*Club domestic league appearances and goals|
Mate Bilić (born 23 October 1980) is a Croatian retired footballer who played as a striker.
During his professional career he played mainly in Spain – where he arrived at the age of 21 – representing five different clubs. He amassed La Liga totals of 124 games and 22 goals over the course of five seasons for Sporting de Gijón and Zaragoza, as well as 197 games and 66 goals in the Segunda División.
Born in Split, Croatia, Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, Bilić began his professional career in 1997 at hometown club HNK Hajduk Split, and went on to establish himself as a regular during 1999–2000 after a season-long loan spell with NK Mosor in the Croatian second division. He scored 15 league goals for Hajduk over two separate campaigns, including nine in 2000–01 as the side won their fourth Prva HNL title.
At the end of August 2001, Bilić transferred to Real Zaragoza in La Liga, but scored only once in 18 league appearances. Between 2002 and 2006 he represented UD Almería, Sporting de Gijón, Córdoba CF and UE Lleida (all in the Segunda División).
In June 2006, Bilić signed with SK Rapid Wien of the Austrian Bundesliga. In January 2008 he returned to Spain and Gijón, helping the Asturian club return to the top flight after a ten-year absence by scoring ten times, despite playing in roughly half of the games.
Bilić scored a hat-trick at Sevilla FC on 13 September 2008, but Sporting were defeated 3–4. During the season he again formed an effective attacking partnership with David Barral, with the pair combining for 22 league goals as the team finished in 14th place; in the following years he was used much more sparingly, only scoring one competitive goal in 2010–11, in the Copa del Rey against RCD Mallorca (2–2 home draw, 3–5 aggregate loss).
Bilić won a total of 16 caps for the Croatian under-17, under-19 and under-21 national teams, scoring six goals. Before making his debut for the full side he had also been eligible to play for Bosnia and Herzegovina, as his parents hailed from Tomislavgrad, Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Head coach Slaven Bilić first selected his namesake for a friendly game against Romania on 11 February 2009, but he did not feature in that match. He eventually made his debut on 14 October, in the nation's final 2010 FIFA World Cup qualifier against Kazakhstan in Astana, coming on as a substitute for Mario Mandžukić in the 63rd minute; Croatia won the game 2–1, but failed to reach the play-offs after finishing third in their group.
On 14 November 2009, Bilić scored his first international goals, in a friendly with Liechtenstein in Vinkovci, helping to a final 5–0 victory – the first of his two came only 42 seconds after kick-off. On 19 May 2010, in another exhibition game, against Austria in Klagenfurt, he replaced Mladen Petrić at the hour-mark and netted the only goal of the match in the 86th minute.
|1–2||14 November 2009||HNK Cibalia, Vinkovci, Croatia||Liechtenstein|| |
|3||19 May 2010||Hypo-Arena, Klagenfurt, Austria||Austria|| |
- ^ "Goleadores de 2005–2006" [2005–2006 top scorers] (in Spanish). El Mundo. 2006. Retrieved 17 February 2016.
- ^ El Sporting regresa a la élite (Sporting return to the elite); Mundo Deportivo, 16 June 2008 (in Spanish)
- ^ Sevilla FC 4–3 Sporting Gijón; ESPN Soccernet, 13 September 2008
- ^ "Barral y Bilic mejoran los números de Braulio" [Barral and Bilic better Braulio's numbers] (in Spanish). Diario AS. 20 June 2009. Retrieved 11 October 2019.
- ^ "Novo y Bilic puntúan" [Novo and Bilic score points] (in Spanish). Marca. 15 December 2011. Retrieved 11 October 2019.
- ^ Nsue domeña el sueño copero del Sporting (Nsue takes over Sporting cup dream); Marca, 11 November 2010 (in Spanish)
- ^ Bilić neće Bilića: Ćiro Blažević sprema BiH pozivnicu za Matu (Bilić does not want Bilić: Ćiro Blažević extends BiH invitation to Mate) Archived 27 September 2008 at the Wayback Machine; Sportske novosti, 26 September 2008 (in Croatian)
- ^ "Player Database". EU-football. Retrieved 11 June 2022.
- ^ a b Napunjena mreža Lihtenštajna (Goal galore against Liechtenstein); Sportnet, 14 November 2009 (in Croatian)
- ^ a b Produžen savršen skor s Austrijom (Perfect streak extended against Austria); Sportnet, 19 May 2010 (in Croatian)