Ivica Osim: a Yugoslavian football giant who twice rejected Real Madrid

Coach who led Yugoslavia at the 1990 World Cup and whose spell with Japan was ended by a stroke has died aged 80Ivica Osim was ill, his wife Asima said. Would I mind coming to his Sarajevo flat the following day? But the following day he was little better. Go to the cafe in the square, Asima said, wait there and he would try to come down later. By that point, in all honesty, I wasn’t expecting much. But after an hour or so he shuffled slowly over, sat down and began to talk. His voice was weak, his pale eyes watery, but when we said goodbye three hours later, it was because I had to go to the airport.That was in 2009 and Osim was still suffering the effects of the stroke two years earlier that ended his career as Japan manager. He had been watching an Arsenal game and when he came round in hospital, his first question was what the final score had been. In truth, he never really recovered and died on Sunday, five days short of his 81st birthday. But he talked, with characteristic eloquence, thoughtfulness and directness.

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