Friday, 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.

Tuesday, 22 March 2022

Croatia without Brozović and Vrsaljko in Doha, Brekalo Misses Slovenia Match

March 22, 2022 - The Croatia national football team faces two friendly matches against Slovenia and Bulgaria in Doha. Brozović and Vrsaljko will not travel with the team to Qatar, while Brekalo has tested positive for coronavirus. 

Croatia coach Zlatko Dalić announced the tournament in Doha on Monday as the national team gathered in Zagreb for the first time since qualifying for the 2022 World Cup. Croatia will face Slovenia and Bulgaria in Doha on March 26 and March 29, reports HNS.


Dalić revealed that Šime Vrsaljko and Marcelo Brozović dropped out due to injuries, while Mile Škorić and Nikola Moro will step in instead.

"Brozović and Vrsaljko dropped out of the original lineup due to injuries, and I'm sorry about that. We gather in Zagreb, but five players come to Doha directly from their clubs. Our motivation is great in the upcoming matches to prepare for what awaits us in June. This will be a very good test for all of us to see what we can do, to prepare for the Nations League," said Dalić, who made it clear that he intends to use all players.

"We invited 25 players, and the idea is for everyone to play. We will give a chance to all the players, but there is no point in burdening them to the maximum. I want to try all the players. Our goal is for everyone to play. We will make two teams for those two games; the players are very busy in their clubs anyway. I think it will be good to relieve them a bit."

"We will play with three in the defense in both games; we will try that system to have another tactical addition. We will have two good games because the opponents are good. We will work on the unity of the national team," Dalić began and added:

"I am looking forward to this gathering and matches because the national team is together after four months. Unfortunately, Brozović and Vrsaljko dropped out due to muscle injuries, both of whom remained at their clubs to rehabilitate. That is why we activated the reserves Škorić and Moro." 

What happened with Petković?

"I do not want to write off Bruno Petković, and I did not write him off. I want him as he was in the qualifications. That is good for us, and I am waiting for him. I want him back in shape; I emphasize in the striker position because I see him there.

I hope that he will come back and that by June, he will be better and understand my message that he is not up to standard and that he can do much, much better. We do not have a more complete and better striker than Bruno Petković when he is in the right form. He has not been written off, and I want him on the national team. "

Who will be in goal?

"Livaković will defend one game, and one by Ivušić. That's the plan. Grbić has no right to be called if he does not defend at his club. The goalkeeper is not in the right condition if he does not defend. So we have no reason to fear, Livaković is defending well, Ivušić as well, and younger keepers are coming. There is also Lovre Kalinić, who is good in Hajduk," reveals coach Dalić.

Brozović and Vrsaljko dropped out, as well as Josip Brekalo

"Something always happens that we did not anticipate, and Brozović and Vrsaljko dropped out. We are following the others, especially the young players, surely some will come to the competition. First of all being Stanišić and Sučić, who are already with us.

There is also Šutalo, but all in good time. We have the basis of the team; we have the breadth because each position is filled with two or three players. We have a combination of experience and youth, new ones give energy, but without more experienced ones, it will not work. We are not in a hurry with the final conclusions; we will give everyone a chance. We follow young players who have an opportunity to jump in with good performances," said Dalić.

Last night, news arrived that national team member Josip Brekalo tested positive for coronavirus and will miss Croatia's first friendly match in Doha on March 26 against Slovenia. Depending on how the situation develops, he will compete in the second match in Doha on March 29 against Bulgaria.

Brekalo recorded 30 appearances for the national team and scored four goals.

To read more about sports in Croatia, follow TCN’s dedicated page

Monday, 10 August 2020

Sime Vrsaljko Tests Positive for Coronavirus

August 10, 2020 - Atletico Madrid has confirmed that one of the two players positive for coronavirus is Croatia national team player Sime Vrsaljko.

The other is Argentine Angel Correa, and both have no symptoms, reports

Atletico conducted regular testing of players and members of the professional staff on Saturday, and announced on Sunday that the two players were positive, but did not want to reveal their identities, which they did today. Tests were repeated yesterday and no other club member tested positive for coronavirus.

"The club doctors allowed the identities of the players to be revealed in order to break the speculations and it is about Angela Correa and Sime Vrsaljko. Correa is at home in self-isolation, as is Vrsaljko, who does not train with the first team anyway because he is recovering from an injury. We will monitor his condition especially since he developed antibodies a few months ago," the club said in an official statement.

Atletico was due to travel to Lisbon today, where they will play the Champions League quarterfinals against Leipzig on Thursday. However, the trip has been postponed until tomorrow, when the entire delegation of 93 members will leave for Portugal. Atletico's appearance in the quarterfinals is not in question yet.

To read more about sport in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.


Wednesday, 23 January 2019

World Cup Image by Croatian Photojournalist Named 4th Best of 2018

Croatian photojournalist Drago Sopta took fourth place in the category of best sports photographs for his photo of Šime Vrsaljko after the World Cup semifinal.

Wednesday, 12 September 2018

Croatia’s Football Star Vrsaljko Records Touching Video for Leukaemia Patient

There is a special connection between the patient and the Croatian football team.

Monday, 13 August 2018

Nikola Kalinić Finally Speaks About Dismissal from Russia World Cup

Atletico Madrid’s latest reinforcement Nikola Kalinić has spoken for the first time about being dismissed from the national team during the World Cup.

Sunday, 23 July 2017

Great News for Croatia: Šime Vrsaljko Ready for Atletico Madrid and Kosovo

A day we have all been waiting for, Croatian footballer Šime Vrsaljko is ready to return to the pitch.

Saturday, 29 April 2017

Today's Top 10 Highest-Paid Croatian Footballers

Who are Croatia’s highest-paid footballers today?

Monday, 20 March 2017

Another Blow to Defense: HNS Confirms Šime Vrsaljko Will Miss Match Against Ukraine

More bad news for the Croatian defense…

Friday, 3 March 2017

Croatian Footballer Saves the Day after Teammate Suffers Brutal Injury

Croatian footballer and Atletico Madrid defender Šime Vrsaljko received praise for saving his fellow teammates life in the La Liga match last night against La Coruna Deportivo. 

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