It has been a whirlwind of discussion this weekend regarding 23 year-old Borna Sosa’s decision to dump Croatia and get a German passport to play for the 4-time World Cup champions. Sosa was born in Zagreb to Croatian parents. He played three seasons for Dinamo Zagreb before heading to Stuttgart. He has been capped by the Croatia U21 side 19 times. He is regarded as one of the best up and coming left-backs in Europe. His mom was born in Berlin.
So what’s going on here? Did the HNS drop the ball by not giving Sosa a senior cap earlier or is he a snake for turning his back to the Vatreni?
Borna Sosa reveals what happened from his perspective in an Index.hr interview:
Why did you decide to play for Germany?
I decided to play for Germany because I’m already 23 years old and have been playing in the Bundesliga for three years; still without a senior cap for Croatia. I have realized that the HNS is not counting on me and they think that they have better players in my position. I respect their decision and there is no anger. We remain on good terms. It’s my decision to play for Germany.
Have you talked to the HNS about a senior call up before?
I’m not the type who waits for others to make moves. I make them when I think it’s good and necessary. I made the decision personally. This season I had no contact with people from the Croatian national team and no one ever called me from the HNS. I spoke with Dalić for the first time this morning, when the news came out that I had decided to play for the German national team.
Is it true you received a guarantee that you would make your debut against Malta in March during World Cup qualifiers?
That’s not true. Dalić did not tell me that I would make my debut against Malta, nor did we ever talk. There was speculation and there was talk about it. Officially, I never received any invitation from the Croatian national team.
Did former Croatia assistant coach Ivica Olić ever come to Stuttgart matches to follow your performances? We were told that Olić was in charge of following you and informing you about the plans of coach Dalić.
Olić did not come, as far as I know. I don’t know what his role was, but he told me through a third person that I would be invited to the senior side in March. I never talked to Olić, there were some messages through intermediaries and I didn’t take it seriously. The only invitation I ever received from Croatia was sent to me by the manager of the U21 team, Igor Bišćan, and, as you know, I responded. I played in the Euro qualifiers we qualified for.
If you had received Dalić’s call earlier, what would you have done?
If I had received Dalić’s invitation and played in March, or in September/October last year when there were opportunities, I would have played for Croatia. There have been a lot of opportunities and I am no longer 17, but 24 years old. Unfortunately, our paths never crossed and I never received a senior call up. I received Dalić’s support and understanding this morning and thanked him. He wished me luck, I wished him the same. Big things are waiting for me as the German national team is a spaceship. I’m looking forward to getting a chance to play with such greats, mostly Bayern players.
What impression did the director of the German federation, famous striker Oliver Bierhoff, leave on you?
The German alliance is the strongest alliance in the world, and Bierhoff as chief proved to be a man of his word. He is calm and sticks to what he says. That is the only way they operate in Germany.
How long did it take you to get to this point with the German federation?
The whole story takes place over 2/3 months. They did everything we could to resolve the citizenship as soon as possible and I am very grateful for that.
How did it start?
They found out that my mom was born in Germany and they got in touch with me. We started the process and we were constantly communicating. They came to every game I played. They said I was being considered to them as a player for the German national team system.
Have you ever met Dalić?
I don’t remember, I think I saw him once in my life, nothing official. The HNS had information for two months that I had an offer from Germany. I personally reported this to an HNS director. It’s over. I told them I had an offer from Germany and to talk to them. That was it, no one from the HNS contacted me after that. They made their decision, I made mine, and there is no bad blood.
You must have read the comments that some Croatians fans are not happy with your decision. What do you say to that?
I’ve said before that this is a business decision. Many call me a traitor, but they do not understand that I still love Croatia the most in the world and it will always be my country and the country of my family and friends. I will not play for the Croatian national team, but I still love my country. In the business world, I decided to play football for Germany.
Have you already been selected to play for Germany at EURO 2021?
I don’t know if I will reach the Euros. FIFA still has to change my citizenship and it’s a technical matter that may not be resolved before the Euros. But that’s not crucial for me, I’m thinking about the next 10 to 12 years of my career for the German national team.
Sosa has been on Bayern Munich’s radar for the past year. He could end up being a greater defender or a complete flop. Who knows? Sosa needed to be capped by the senior side during Nations League matches in 2020 without a doubt. That’s completely on the HNS. It’s a shame he has an exit strategy with his mother being born in Berlin.
But you know what? Wearing the checkers is special. It just is.
If Sosa can’t wait another month to be called up by the Vatreni after making national news, then this team isn’t for him. Being hard headed is part of the Croatian gig. If he feels slighted by miscommunication or thinks he’s not wanted – which absolutely is not the case – then I only have one thing to say: Auf Wiedersehen, Sosa!