September 21, 2020 – After 106 games and 15 goals, Ivan Rakitic retires from the Croatia national team.
HNS announced that after 106 appearances and 15 goals for the Croatia national football team, Ivan Rakitic decided to hang up his boots. The current vice-captain of the national team was one of the key players in Croatia’s campaign for the World Cup silver in 2018, when he scored the decisive penalties in the victories against Denmark and Russia.
“Saying goodbye to the Croatia national team is the most difficult decision in my career, but I felt that this was the moment when I had to break and make that decision. I enjoyed every game I played for my homeland, and unforgettable moments from the World Cup will remain among my favorites. I am convinced that we still have a great team with a bright future ahead. I wish my friends and teammates all the international sports luck in the upcoming challenges, and they will have the biggest fan in me,” said Ivan Rakitic on his farewell.
Rakitic spoke about the decision with coach Zlatko Dalic, HNS president Davor Suker and captain Luka Modric, and in the coming days he will address the public with a wider statement.
“I spoke to Ivan who explained to me his thinking and the reasons why he decided on this move. As a coach, I am sorry that he will not continue to play for Croatia, but of course, I respect his decision, as was the case with Mandzukic, Subasic and Corluka after the World Cup,” commented Zlatko Dalic on Ivan Rakitic’s decision to say goodbye to the Croatia national team.
“The fact that in a difficult situation he chose Croatia over Switzerland, in which he grew up, speaks volumes about his love for the Croatia national team. Over the next more than 100 appearances, he showed with how much passion he plays for Croatia.”
After the World Cup, Rakitic was absent more than he was available to Dalic, and he played his last game for the national team on October 13 last year against Wales.
“Ivan had a great career in the national team, and none of us will forget that cold-bloodedness when performing the decisive penalties at the World Cup. I am grateful to him from the bottom of my heart for everything he has given Croatia on and off the field as the assistant captain of the national team and I wish him all the best, a lot of success and health in the continuation of his club career,” Dalic concluded.