FC Red Bull Salzburg have extended the contract of youngster Duje Caleta-Car until 2020. The 19-year-old Croat has already made 27 competitive appearances for the Red Bulls and has been called up by the Croatian national team.
Sporting director Christoph Freund is delighted about the defender's progress, saying: "Duje has developed hugely in the last year and a half and is on a very good path. We are convinced of his quality and delighted that we have been able to tie him to Red Bull Salzburg for the long term."
INTERVIEW WITH OUR HIGH FIVE
Duje, you are currently the player with the best challenging figures of anyone in the Austrian Bundesliga. Did you realise that?
[Laughs] Yeah, of course! I'm pleased that others have noticed it too. I had a difficult start to the season - just as we all did - which makes me even more pleased that I have developed so well in recent months.
It must be nice to spend the winter on top of the table after all the difficult beginnings, no?
That's right! It shows also how much quality we have in the team. You are always under pressure at Red Bull Salzburg of course, to beat your opponents in every match. It's also part of our nature as professional footballers to want to do that ourselves.
You were called up to the Croatian national team for the first time this year. How did that feel?
Yeah that was an unbelievably good feeling! We have some big names in the national team, after all, like Ivan Rakitic, Mario Mandzukic and Ivica Olic. It is a great honour for me to have been called into the squad by the new coach Ante Cacic [who replaced Nico Kovac in September]. I will definitely develop further in the national team, and I hope it is an opportunity I will get a lot more of.
Croatia have a big tournament next summer, after all, Euro 2016 in France! Croatia drew a difficult group with Turkey, Czech Republic and Spain.
It's a great group for us too. I don't give myself too great a chance of taking part in the Euros, however. You have to be realistic so you don't get disappointed. I still have an important challenge ahead with the under-20 team. My time in the full national squad will definitely come at the right time.
Let's come back to the challenges that face Red Bull Salzburg. You have signed a four-year contract. What led you to take this decision?
I have developed really well at Red Bull Salzburg, and I feel I have grown to meet the pressure and the increasingly big responsibility. I won't always be the talent or the youngster, after all. I feel that Red Bull Salzburg is the right club for me to fulfil all my aims at.