Atletico Madrid are an underrated team and with underrated teams, more often than not you get underrated players. These are the guys who excel at what they do yet have flown by under the radar because they are not at a bigger club. One such player has been Croatian Šime Vrsaljko.
Vrsaljko started his career at Dinamo Zagreb; a club that has been a conveyor belt of top Croatian talent. Here he made 73 appearances and in 2013 would leave the club for greener pastures. Italy was his next stop and in 2013 Vrsaljko joined Serie A side Genoa.
Injuries however curtailed his appearances for the Italian side and soon he was shipped off to Sassuolo a year later. It was here where the 26-year-old would shine. His ability to attack at pace and defend diligently helped his team to achieving their first ever Europa League qualification after finishing 6th in Serie A.
Soon Atletico Madrid would come calling and he left for Spain. At Los Rojiblancos he was an integral part of firebrand coach Diego Simeone’s side. The Croatian was part of a stout defence which cleared its way to the2017/2018 Europa League trophy. Vrsaljko’s incisive runs and tracking back contributed greatly to the Spanish side’s victory.
On the other hand, the 26-year-old is giving a brilliant account of himself on an individual level at the World Cup. Whether it has been making tireless overlaps on the flank or executing perfectly timed tackles on wingers, the former Sassuolo man has been a joy to watch. However his weakness though at times he is caught out of position defensively putting his team in unnecessary dangerous situations
Now part of a Vatreni squad that has reached the semi-finals of the World Cup, the Croatian will look to end the tournament as champions of the world. Singaporeans might just be getting a world cup winner at the International Champions Cup.