Whatever happened to Dado Prso as Rangers cult hero buys a football club and chops the famous ponytail


There are few players more instantly recognizable to Rangers fans than Dado Prso.

It may be almost 15 years since he was last sighted at Ibrox but the Croatian is not a man you forget in a hurry.

Standing at 6ft 3 with a hulking physique and a marauding style, the towering striker provided a formidable foe for many a Scottish football defender.

And then, of course, there was the trademark ponytail, forever bobbling behind him as Prso powered around the pitch.

He has spent only three seasons in Scotland but it was more than enough to leave a lasting impression on the legions of fans at Ibrox.

As part of our series on Scottish football cult heroes, RecordSport looks back on what made Prso so popular and what he’s been up to since.

How did he end up Scotland?

Prso had announced himself to European football at large as part of the Monaco side which reached the 2004 Champions League Final, where they were defeated by Jose Mourinho’s Porto.

Earlier in the tournament, Prso had scored four goals in a famous 8-3 victory over Deportivo La Coruna.

He left the Ligue 1 side at the end of the season and joined Rangers on a free transfer despite interest from AC Milan.

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Prso later branded the Serie A giants “unprofessional” in their pursuit, whereas Rangers rolled out the red carpet in a bid to get their man.

Prso said in 2020: “I don’t regret signing for Rangers over Milan. I was a fan of AC Milan, but they weren’t very professional.

“As soon as the chairman of Rangers spoke to me it was all over. They even sent a private plane to pick me up.

“That was in complete contrast to Milan, who kept changing their minds.

“I went to Glasgow and don’t regret a second.”

Why did the fans love him so much?

That sentiment was, and still is, mutual with an Ibrox support who quickly took “Big Dado” to their hearts.

Prso hit the ground running in his first season in Glasgow, helping himself to 21 goals across 46 appearances, with 18 of those coming in the league as Alex McLeish’s side clinched the title.

Those numbers dropped off in the following two seasons but their status as a fans’ favorite did not diminish.

There was, after all, much more to Prso’s game.

He’d turned 30 a few months after joining but played with all the desire and enthusiasm of a kid being handed his first opportunity.

It was perhaps representative of the fact Prso had come from nowhere to establish himself in France, having been working as a car mechanic alongside playing for Saint Raphael in 1995, just a year before Monaco came calling.

Prso had built his success on hard graft and played every game as though he was fighting for his future.

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It was those warrior-like qualities that so endeared him to supporters, as well as scoring some memorable goals – including two in wins over Celtic and a vital double away at Aberdeen in 2005.

He also formed part of a “little and large” strike partnership with Nacho Novo, a lesser-seen tactic in the modern game but one that consistently came up trumps for McLeish.

What moment cemented his cult hero status?

Goals against Celtic, of course, have never done any Rangers player harm in creating a lasting impression.

But the lasting image of his Ibrox career might just be Prso tormenting Porto in the 2005 Champions League while he himself was bandaged and bloodied from a head knock earlier in the game.

A clash with Pedro Emmanuel in the first-half of a 3-2 victory left Prso with blood pouring down his face, although typically it failed to even knock him off his feet.

Dice Process
Dice Process

He returned to the pitch with his head wrapped up to score Rangers’ second of the night as McLeish’s men beat the 2004 champions.

It was an evening that encapsulated Prso’s battling spirit, something he combined with effective center forward play and an occasional penchant for a long range strike.

Where did he go after Ibrox?

The depth of feeling between Prso and Rangers fans was evident when he was given an emotional send-off in 2007.

The rigors of a long career had taken their toll on the Croatian and the final months of his Ibrox spell were plagued by injury.

He appeared in a leg brace in front of 50,000 in Govan for a guard of honor that left one of the most ferocious competitors in Rangers history reduced to tears.

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That proved the end of his on-pitch career and Prso has since revealed he can’t play football at all, not even recreationally, given the condition of his knees.

He said in 2020: “Unfortunately, I am in retirement as far as even playing kickabout football goes.

“My knees immediately blow up. My doctors told me I have the knees of an 80 year old man and I need to be careful. Walking is not a problem, but I can’t run.”

Since hanging up his boots, Prso has worked alongside his brother-in-law as a football agent before taking a considerable step further to become the owner of Senegalese club Demba Diop FC.

Dice Process

It was revealed in 2021 that Prso had joined forces with Bernard Laporte-Fray, president of French Ligue 2 club FC Pau, to buy an 80 per cent in the African side for £100,000.

The venture appears aimed at officially linking the two sides in a feeder club style arrangement.

Prso had previously been a coach at Pau between 2018 and 2020, and has also worked in the backroom setup with the likes of Ajaccio and Nice.

And, finally, it appears the famous ponytail has been hung up alongside Prso’s boots.

Recent photos of the now 47-year-old show the long locks have been well and truly chopped, but Rangers fans will forever remember “Big Dado” charging around Ibrox in the Light Blue jersey.


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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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