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Dream team

Ultimate Croatia dream team - Modric & Rakitic in, Perisic out

11:15 GMT+3 05/12/2022
Croatia's dream team
Croatia have produced some absolute superstars in recent decades and their all-time best XI sure looks special!

Croatia have been a force to be reckoned with ever since its recognition as a separate football federation by both FIFA and UEFA.

Modern-day Croatia has been playing competitive international games since 1994, starting with the qualifying campaign for Euro 1996.

They then competed at the World Cup in 1998, finishing third following some superb performances from the legendary Davor Suker, who was the tournament's top goal scorer.

Croatia then enjoyed arguably their finest moment when they reached the World Cup final in 2018.

Many iconic players have featured for the Croatian national team over the years, but which legends make up their all-time best XI?

Let's take a look!

  • stipe pletikosa - england croatia - euro 2008 qualifier - 21112007

    GK: Stipe Pletikosa

    The greatest goalkeeper in Croatian history, Stipe Pletikosa made his international debut in 1999.

    He represented the country in five major tournaments and is the third-most capped player in the history of the national team after Darijo Srna and Luka Modric.

    Pletikosa made 114 appearances for Croatia between 1999 and 2014 and played at the 2002 World Cup, Euro 2004, 2006 World Cup, Euro 2008 and 2014 World Cup.

    He retired after his last World Cup game in 2014.

    Danijel Subasic will feel disappointed to miss out on the No.1 jersey, but Pletikosa eventually just edged it, with his longevity making the difference.

  • Darijo Srna Croatia

    RB: Darijo Srna

    Srna made his debut for Croatia in November 2002 and is the second-most capped international player in the history of Croatian football with 134 appearances.

    The right-back featured at Euro 2004, World Cup 2006, Euro 2008, Euro 2012, World Cup 2014 and Euro 2016 for Croatia, scoring 22 goals for the national team between 2002 to 2016.

    He was was instated as the captain of the national team in 2009, an honour he held until his retirement from international football in 2016, before Modric became captain.

    His consistency, quality on the ball and playing style sometimes earned him comparisons with the legendary Brazilian Cafu.

  • Dario Šimić

    CB: Dario Simic

    One of Croatia's most-beloved defenders of the 1990s, Simic featured in a variety of positions including centre-back, sweeper and full-back.

    He was especially known for his immense physical strength and aerial ability.

    Simic featured for Croatia between 1996 and 2008, becoming the first player to earn 100 caps for his country.

    He was an important member of Croatia's squad for each of the six major tournaments they qualified for during the 1990s and 2000s, including three World Cups (1998, 2002 and 2006) and three Euros (1996, 2004 and 2008).

  • robert kovac wayne rooney - croatia england - euro 2008 qualifier - 11102006

    CB: Robert Kovac

    Brother of renowned manager Niko Kovac, who led Croatia to the 2018 World Cup final, Robert Kovac is one of the greatest centre-backs in the country's history.

    He represented them at the 2002 and 2006 World Cups and also participated in Euro 2004 and 2008.

    After 84 appearances for Croatia between 1999 and 2009 and captaining the team for a year after Niko's retirement in 2008, Robert retired in 2009.

  • Robert Jarni Croatia 1998

    LB: Robert Jarni

    One of the great left-backs of the 1990s, Jarni was a regular for the national team between 1990 and 2002.

    He participated in three World Cups, one in 1990 with Yugoslavia and in 1998 and 2002 with Croatia, making a total of 88 international appearances.

    The best moment of his career came at the 1998 World Cup in France when he appeared in all seven of Croatia's matches at the tournament, helping them win the bronze medal in his first ever World Cup appearance.

    It was in the quarter-final of this very World Cup that Jarni scored his first and only international goal, in a 3-0 win against Germany.

  • Luka Modric Croatia

    CM: Luka Modric

    Regarded as one of the greatest midfielders of all time, Modric is arguably the best footballer Croatia has ever produced.

    He made his international debut against Argentina in March 2006 as he led Croatia's second golden generation, playing in every major tournament that the team qualified for.

    Modric has played at four Euros in 2008, 2012, 2016 and 2020 and three World Cups, in 2006, 2014 and 2018.

    It was the Real Madrid star who led Croatia to the World Cup final in 2018 as their best performer and the rightful winner of the Golden Ball at the tournament, eventually also winning the Ballon d'Or for his efforts.

  • Ivan Rakitic Croatia 2018

    RM: Ivan Rakitic

    One of Croatia's modern-day greats, Rakitic played for his country across a number of positions in midfield.

    Born in Switzerland to parents from Yugoslavia, Rakitic actually played for the Swiss national team at youth level, but decided to represent Croatia at senior level.

    Since making his debut for the Croats in 2007, Rakitic featured at Euro 2008, 2012 and 2016 as well as the World Cup in 2014 and 2018, at which Croatia reached the final.

    The former Barcelona midfielder made 106 appearances for Croatia, scoring 15 goals before retiring in 2019.

  • Robert Prosinecki 1994.

    LM: Robert Prosinecki

    Voted as the best player at the 1987 FIFA World Youth Championship with Yugoslavia and the best young player at the 1990 World Cup, Prosinecki was a true legend of the game.

    The midfielder earned 49 caps for Croatia between 1994 and 2002, playing at Euro 1996 and the World Cups in 1998 and 2002.

    After retiring from professional football, he also worked as an assistant manager of the Croatia national team between 2006 and 2010.

    Prosinecki also managed two other countries, Azerbaijan (2014-2017) and Bosnia and Herzegovina (2018-2019).

  • Zvonimir Boban

    AM: Zvonimir Boban

    The current UEFA Chief of Football, Boban is one of the greatest Croatian players of all time.

    The Milan legend captained the national team when they attained third place at the 1998 World Cup. In the semi-final of that tournament, Boban was injured, but still marshalled on before losing 2-1 to France.

    In the third-place playoff, it was Boban who provided the assist for Davor Suker to score the winner against Netherlands, which saw Croatia win the bronze medal.

    Boban played 49 times for Croatia between 1992 and 1999, scoring 12 goals.

  • HD Mario Mandzukic Croatia Euro 2012

    ST: Mario Mandzukic

    One of the greatest Croatian strikers, Mandzukic made his debut for his country in November 2007 under then manager Slaven Bilic.

    He participated in four major tournaments, Euro 2012, 2014 World Cup, Euro 2016 and 2018 World Cup, where he helped Croatia reach the final.

    Mandzukic made 89 appearances for his country, scoring 33 goals, and retired after his team were defeated by France in the World Cup final in 2018.

    After he hung up his boots, Mandzukic took up the assistant-coach position with the Croatian national team.

  • Davor Suker

    ST: Davor Suker

    The greatest Croatian goalscorer in history, the best moment in Suker's career came at the 1998 World Cup in France, where he won the Golden Boot by scoring six goals in seven games.

    At that same tournament where he helped Croatia win the Bronze Medal, Suker also won the Silver Ball, behind Brazil legend Ronaldo.

    Such was his record at the 1998 World Cup that the Croatians did not lose a single game in which he scored prior to their semi-final loss to eventual champions France.

    In just 69 caps for his country, Suker scored 45 goals between 1990 and 2002 and is still the highest international goalscorer for Croatia in history and the most iconic goalscorer Croatia has ever produced.