Vedran Ćorluka Retires from Croatia National Team

Daniela Rogulj

Croatia’s vice-captain, part of the ‘Silver Generation’, and one of the members of ‘100 Club’, Vedran Ćorluka has said goodbye to the Croatia national team.

August 10, 2018 – Vedran Ćorluka, the 32-year-old Croatian footballer who currently plays as a defender for FC Lokomotiv Moscow, has decided to retire from the Croatia national team. 

In an emotional farewell letter published on HNS, the player thanked his teammates, his fans, and everyone who has joined him on this journey. 

“When I put on the jersey for the first time in 2002 as a 16-year-old, I was just a beardless kid, and I’m glad that I played for the Croatia national team at least once at a younger age. I could not imagine then, nor dared to dream, how much that jersey meant to me in this life, what I would do in that jersey and how much this jersey would define not just my football career, but my life.

145 games later, out of which 103 were in the A team uniform, it’s time to tell the jersey – goodbye. And thank you. 

Thank you because in that jersey, I have met many wonderful people that I shared the Croatian dressing room with all these years, many of whom will stay friends for a lifetime. These are my teammates, with whom I sang and cried, cheered and mourned, and went through the most beautiful and toughest moments of our career.

These are all the coaches and trainers who made me a better player. These are all the good people around the team and HNS, who are doing their jobs well and diligently to give us the best conditions.

The public only sees the matches, but the team is far more than that. Massages at 3 am, the uncertain expectation of MRI results, infinite travel on planes, buses, press conferences, meetings, meals – it’s all part of life with the national team. Which would be much harder if we weren’t a real family. In which there is also disagreement, but in which we are, at the end of the day, always side by side. This is what makes Croatia special compared to others.

In that jersey, I saw the entire world. I played the biggest competitions, against the biggest teams and the biggest players. I know what it feels like to win against Germany, Spain or England, and I experienced the loss to Georgia or what it feels like to be without a World Cup.

I experienced Portugal. And Mexico.

And Turkey. We all experienced Turkey.

And then I had the privilege, happiness, honor, reward, I do not know what to call it – to experience Russia.

I would be delighted with my national team career without Russia – there were enough big wins and moments to remember. But Russia has brought emotions that a 16-year-old kid could not imagine.

All of the unclear matches, all of the hard training, all of the long journeys, all of the defeats, the games in front of empty stands, the critiques, the ‘unfulfilled potential’, all of this has been erased in these fairy-tale months when we became World Cup finalists. It still sounds incredible to say, or write. Were we really welcomed by half a million people? Did we really drive six hours to the Square? Did we really sing “Ljepa li si” in front of a full Square, with silver medals around our necks?

I was able to do all of this in the beautiful and best jersey in the world, the jersey of the Croatia football team. I had the opportunity to share the strongest emotions with my teammates, as well as with our great fans – thank you for your support! All the beautiful and not so beautiful moments I experienced in the circle of my family and friends, who I can’t thank enough for their career support.

In return, I gave my best in that jersey. So I learned from my predecessors.

I expect nothing less from those who will carry it in the future, and you will have the greatest fan in me. Above all – Croatia!”

The player also bid farewell to the national team in an Instagram post this afternoon. 

Dragi navijaci Hrvatske reprezentacije, nakon 12 godina i 103 nastupa u najdrazem dresu došlo je vrijeme da se oprostim od Hrvatske reprezentacije. Hvala vam za sve ove godine bezuvjetne podrške i ljubavi, bez vas osjećaj igranja za Hrvatsku ne bi bio ni blizu poseban kao što je za mene bio u ama baš svakoj utamici kroz svih ovih 12 godina. Naravno, bilo je tu i dobrih i onih malo manje dobrih utakmica ali znajte, svaka je bila sa srcem. Hvala i svim mojim suigracima s kojima sam proveo sve ove nezaboravne godine, hvala vam sto ste mi bili obitelj, nekada mladji brat a nekada stariji, hvala vam sto ste me naucili sto znaci zajednistvo i gdje nas ono moze dovesti…do finala SP.?Bit cu vas najvatreniji navijac i ne sumnjam da cemo se opet zajedno veseliti kao ovog ljeta. Hvala svim trenerima Slavenu,Igoru,Niki,Anti i Zlatku na povjerenju koje ste mi ukazali kroz sve ove godine i što ste pomogli da ostvarim svoje snove igrajuci za najdrazi i naljepši dres. I za kraj, još jedno veliko hvala svima koje sam susreo na ovom putu no došlo je vrijeme da zatvorim ova vrata koja se sada otvaraju za nekog novog koji čeka da se i njegovi snovi ostvare. Od danas najglasniji navijač koji će u srcu zauvijek nositi tu peticu, voli vas Čarli. ❤ ?? #iznadsvihhrvatska

A post shared by Vedran Ćorluka (@corlukav05_14) on

“Dear Croatia football fans, after 12 years and 103 appearances in the best jersey, the time has come for me to say goodbye to the Croatia national team. Thank you for all these years of unconditional support and love, without you the feeling of playing for Croatia would not be as close as it was to me for all these twelve years. Of course, there were good and not-so-good matches, but know, each one was played with heart. Thanks also to all my teammates with whom I have spent all these unforgettable years, thank you for being my family, a younger brother and sometimes older, thank you for having taught me what it means to be together and where it can bring us… to the World Cup final. But I will be the most prolific fan and I will not doubt that we will celebrate again this summer. Thank you to all the coaches – Slaven, Igor, Niko, Ante and Zlatko for the trust you have shown me all these years and how you have helped me to accomplish my dreams by playing for the best and most beautiful jersey. And finally, another big thank you to all I met on this road, but it is time to close this door and open a new one for those who are waiting for their dreams to come true. From today, the loudest fan that will always wear the number 5 in his heart, Čarli loves you.” 


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