Hajduk’s Nikola Vlašić and Andrija Balić and Dinamo’s Ante Čorić all made the list
Every year, renowned football internet portal Goal.com calls upon the expertise of its 37 editions across the globe to come up with their annual list of the 50 best under-18 players in the world. Official list was published on January 20, 2016, and it includes three future football stars from Croatia – two from Hajduk Split and one from Dinamo Zagreb.
Hajduk’s Nikola Vlašić is ranked 34th and here is what Goal.com has to say about the player that has already started a mini bidding war among European football clubs:
34. NIKOLA VLASIC | Croatia & Hajduk Split | 1997 | The brother of the former indoor world champion high jumper Blanka, Vlasic is one of Hajduk’s most prized possessions. Intelligent and versatile, he can play in nearly any role in attack – on the wing, as a trequartista or a ‘false nine’ – and is more suited to creating rather than scoring goals. With an explosive turn of pace and short, powerful legs, he has already drawn comparisons with Xherdan Shaqiri.
Another youngster from Hajduk, Andrija Balić appears on this list:
19. ANDRIJA BALIC | Croatia & Hajduk Split | 1997 | At just 18, this precocious, impudent, long-haired playmaker is the man that makes Hajduk Split’s midfield tick. Considered a mix of Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic, Balic is already being courted by half of Europe, with Juventus, Udinese, Stuttgart and West Ham all particularly keen on acquiring the Croat.
Dinamo’s Ante Čorić is the highest ranked Croatian player on this list making it to No. 7:
7. ANTE CORIC | Croatia & Dinamo Zagreb | 1997 | Dinamo Zagreb look to have unearthed another gem in the shape of Ante Coric. The truly exciting thing is that Zoran Mamic says that the elegant, 18-year-old attacking midfielder is even better than Mateo Kovacic and Alen Halilovic were at the same age. Almost inevitably, European heavyweights Real Madrid and Chelsea are poised to fight it out for a player earning favourable comparisons with Croatian icon Zvonimir Boban.
Hopefully, these accolades will be a great stepping stone in their careers and we will all be able to see them shine for their future clubs and national team for years to come.
Photos: Hajduk, UEFA, Goal.com