'Hajduk Zivi Vjecno': Ante Zanetic First Croat in Best World Football Team in 1960

By 12 January 2016

A huge achievement for Luka Modric to be named in the FIFA team of the year, but was he  - as has been reported - the first Croat to make the world's best eleven?

It was a proud moment for Croatia in Zurich on January 11, 2016, as not only was the Ballon d'Or ceremony at the Kongresshaus filled with the magical music of Croatian sensations 2Cellos, but Croatian international and Real Madrid star Luka Modric was named in the FIFA FIFPro XI 2015 Team Of The Year, one of the best three midfielders in the world. 

Several portals - including this one - referred to Modric's inclusion as the first time a Croatian footballer had been included in the world's best team. But, it appears, this is not quite true. 

Many thanks to Ivica Profaca and Facebook page Hajdučke Vijesti for pointing out that the first Croat to make the world's best team (we believe Modric was the second) was in fact Ante Zanetic from Hajduk Split in 1960. 

Zanetic, who played for Hajduk from 1954-1961, part of the golden generation for Croatia's most famous club, also played in the successful Yugoslav club which won the 1960 Olympics. 

Zanetic was named in the 1960 team of the year, and with team mates including Pele, Puskas and di Stefano, it would have been a mouthwatering match indeed to have seen the 1960 team line up against last night's superstars in Switzerland.