"It's Time": Šime Vrsaljko Retires from Croatia National Team

By 26 August 2022
"It's Time": Šime Vrsaljko Retires from Croatia National Team

August 26, 2022 - The long-time Croatia national team player and 2018 FIFA World Cup silver medalist has decided to end his national team career. Šime Vrsaljko says goodbye to Croatia. 

Šime Vrsaljko's goodbye letter is transmitted in full below:

It's an indescribable feeling to wear that red and white jersey, go out in front of the Croatia fans, put your hand on your heart and sing the national anthem. Yes, you feel a huge burden at that moment because you know that for the next 90 minutes, an entire nation wishes the same as you - victory, triumph, celebration. But above all, you feel immeasurable pride that you - with your teammates - have the privilege of representing your country.

Because of this emotion, it is not easy to make the decision that it is over. Accept that it is time for younger players and that you can no longer give what you could before. That you will no longer put on the sacred jersey, that you will no longer celebrate important goals and victories with Croatia, or hug everyone before the big game and shout from the bottom of your lungs to the captain's "Above all":


It is not easy to say goodbye because playing for Croatia is a dream come true.

However, I know it's time. And I know that it is fair to the national team, teammates, and coach.

That makes it easier for me.

It's also easier for me because I know I did my best. At every training session, at every game, at every competition. I don't regret anything and appreciate every moment spent with the Croatia national team. It is easy to think about Russia in 2018, but I experienced many other ups and downs, successes and failures, tears of joy, but also tears of great sadness. Every experience has enriched me as a player and as a person, and I wouldn't change a thing along the way.

It's easier for me because I've made friendships that will last a lifetime. It's easier for me because the Croatia national team is my second family, and those relationships will not end with the end of my national team career.

It's easier for me, of course, because of Russia. The place where we made our dreams come true through an unforgettable month in which we not only reached the World Cup final, but day after day, we cheered, made our nation smile, and united our nation. Those matches, those celebrations, and those receptions in Zagreb and Zadar are something I will never, ever forget. It's no secret that I sacrificed my knee for that success, and I would do it all again because that's what we all lived for. We in the dressing room, and you in the stands.

Dear fans - your support, emotion, and love for the national team have always been an additional incentive for me, an atom of strength in those crucial moments when everything breaks. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for that.

It was a pleasure to share the dressing room with great players and people for these 11 years. Thanks to all my teammates - I would go into every battle with you. As much as we left blood, sweat, and tears on the field, we socialized, had fun, and laughed as much off the field. I will cherish those memories forever.

Local patriots, I am proud to have shared the dressing room with my fellow Zadar family, Suba, Livi, and Luka. Do I need to say anything more about Luka? Playing with one of the world's best midfielders of all time is a special privilege for all of us, but Luka is, above all, a friend to me. Equally, it was an honor for me to learn from the great Darijo Srna and then succeed him on the national team.

Dejan is a story in itself. Happiness in life, let alone in business, is to find a person with whom you are on the same wavelength, with whom you share the good times as easily as you share the difficult moments. Who would have thought that I would enjoy sharing a bed with him for 11 years? Loki, you made this national team story even more special to me, and I look forward to continuing our friendship.

Thanks to Slaven, who gave me a chance and introduced me to the national team. Thank you, Zlatko Dalić, for the cooperation and unforgettable Russia. Thank you to all the coaches for the support, advice, and effort they put into making us the best possible team, on and off the field.

Thank you to all staff members - doctors led by Dr. Nemec, Dr. Bahtijarević, Dr. Janković, and Dr. Vlahović, excellent physiotherapists and diligent economists, Iva, Nikša, Tomi, Draga, and all the employees of the Federation who are with us and who complete our national team family. I also thank all the leaders of the Federation for their support, former president Šuker, as well as the tireless Mr. Srebrić. Thanks to the current president, Marijan Kustić, for his excellent communication and understanding.

Thank you to all the media that followed my national team journey. You have an important role in preserving the cult of the national team, and I hope that you will continue to contribute constructively and affirmatively to the successes of the Croatia national team.

Special thanks go to my parents and brother, who supported me at all times. I can only try to be an equal inspiration and support to my children. My heart is full because I know that my Dida Šime from another world is proud of me because I fulfilled everything he dreamed of.

I am happy that even today, I see the talent, quality, ambition, and passion in the national team that I saw at the beginning of my national team career. We have set a high bar in Russia, but there is no need to worry about it - always give your best, and the fans will appreciate it, and the results will reward you. I will always be with you!

It's not easy, but...

It's time.

Yours Always,

Šime Vrsaljko

To follow the latest sports news in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.