Nikola Kalinić Talks About Returning to National Team, But Under Different Conditions

Daniela Rogulj

Nikola Kalinić opened his soul in an interview for Spanish daily sports newspaper AS. 

Former Croatia national team striker Nikola Kalinić (30) said that he would like to return to the national team after he was dismissed from the squad four months ago during the World Cup in Russia, reports on October 12, 2018. 

“I’m open to returning. It is difficult to explain but it is clear that I would like to return, but some things have to change,” Kalinić said in an interview with Spanish sports newspaper AS. He did not mention what exactly should change for him to play for Croatia again. 

Croatia coach Zlatko Dalić sent Kalinić home after Croatia’s 2:0 win against Nigeria in the first round of the World Cup. Kalinić had refused to enter the game in the final minutes of the match. Kalinić allegedly said that his back injury was still acting up, but we later found out it was because had been dissatisfied with his new status as a reserve. 

Asked what happened in Russia, Kalinić replied: “There has already been a lot of talk about it. That’s in the past. What happened was a long story and we’ve already talked about it enough.”

Kalinić refused to speak to Croatian media about the incident, who strongly criticized his move at the World Cup. Allegedly, Kalinić was dissatisfied because current coach Zlatko Dalić left him on the bench, giving players such as Mario Mandžukić and Andrej Kramarić the advantage. Kalinić played for the Croatia national team for ten years and scored 15 goals in 42 matches. 

The Atletico Madrid striker was also asked about his competition against Juventus star Mario Mandžukić (32) while Kalinić played for Hajduk and Mandžukić for Dinamo. 

“One year we fought for the title of the top goalscorer. It was nice, and he beat me by one goal… An amazing player and a great friend,” Kalinić remembered. 

Mandžukić retired from the national team after Croatia won the silver medal at the World Cup this summer. Mandžukić scored a goal in that match, totaling 33 goals in 89 appearances for the Croatia national team. 


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