Blažević returned to former Yugoslavia in 1979 to coach NK Rijeka. After winning solid 10th place with Rijeka in a strong Yugoslav Football Championship, Blažević went to NK Dinamo Zagreb, one of Yugoslavia's four most respected teams (other three were Red Star, Partizan and Hajduk) in 1980. After a mediocre first season (5th place), Ćiro became a legend in 1982, when Dinamo won Yugoslav Championship after 24 years. This success had political connotations too. Dinamo's success and ensuing euphoria were seen as a catalyst for Croatian nationalism, which was not tolerated by the Communist regime.
Next year, Dinamo won Yugoslav Cup and led a long battle with Partizan and Hajduk in Championship. Partizan became 1983 champion and Blažević left Dinamo for the first time. He claimed that he had to escape because he was about to be arrested as one of the leading Croatian nationalists; while Ćiro was by no means popular with the authorities, many see this as pure self-propaganda.
However, Ćiro went back to Switzerland, winning 1984 Swiss Championship with Grasshopper-Club Zurich. After that he briefly coached Greek FC PAOK Thessaloniki (1985). In 1986, Ćiro was once again in Yugoslavia, this time on Kosovo, leading FK Pristina. Under Ćiro's command Priština salvaged a First Division status and he again became a folk hero, this time among Kosovo Albanians.
Same year he became Dinamo Zagreb's coach for second time. In that period he failed to accomplish any significant results and therefore left again in 1988. His next team was FC Nantes of France; Ćiro was there until 1990. Nantes stint is best remembered for his alleged involvement in game-fixing scandals that sent to prison high football officials like Bernard Tapie.
In 1990s, with Croatia gaining independence, Ćiro joined the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) and became President Tuđman's admirer and close friend. For third time he became Dinamo (now named NK Croatia) coach and president at the same time. Ćiro won 1993 Croatian Championship and 1994 Croatian Cup, but then left his favorite club once more, because he needed to focus on managing the Croatian national team.
Ćiro was national team manager from 1994, but only in year later it became a full-time job as Croatia faced it's first qualifying ciclus for European Championship. Croatia won the first place in qualifying group, sensationally ahead of Italy and directly entered Euro 96 in England. Blažević was about to gain some world-wide fame.
Rest of his stint as Croatian manager was not so successful. Croatia failed to qualify to Euro 2000, after finishing disappointing third in a qualifying group behind FR Yugoslavia and Ireland. Ćiro remained on his position and began to build a new team, filled with younger players for the 2002 World Cup. However, after Croatia opened the qualifiers with two draws, he was forced to resign in fall 2000.
Well known for his 1998 sensation, Ćiro accepted an offer to lead Iranian national team. After Iran failed to qualify to World Cup 2002, Ćiro was back in Croatia, first saving NK Osijek from relegation and then again in Dinamo. In his forth term as Dinamo coach, Blažević won the Croatian Championship in 2003, but left again same year after clashing with his long-time friend, Dinamo's Vice President Zdravko Mamic.
Ćiro then led Slovenian NK Mura for few months, only to became a coach in Croatian side NK Varteks, a post he held until the end of the season, when he announced that he will coach Hajduk Split in 2005/2006.