Mateo Kovačić and Chelsea will have their chance to bag a Champions League crown on Saturday when they face Manchester City in Portugal. It will be the 10th straight year a Croatian plays in the CL Final with a Vatreni player being crowned European champion eight straight years. Kovačić could keep that streak alive and make it nine with a win over City.
But before we get to the CL Final, let’s talk about all the success Croatian players had around Europe this season. Perišić, Brozović and Inter Milan dethroned Juventus’ 9-year reign at the top of Italy. While Perišić had an up-and-down season under Conte, Brozović solidified his place as one of the best CDMs in the world. If he continues to play like this at EURO 2021, Modrić will be in good shape to roam the midfield with minimal defensive responsibilities. Perišić had a wonderful goal to cap off the season last weekend and should be hungry for more on the wing against England, Czech Republic, and Scotland.
Atletico Madrid needed the last day of the season to outlast Real Madrid and Barcelona in Spain. Luka Modrić nearly won the title with his injury time goal for Real Madrid in the last minute of the season but Atletico Madrid held serve behind a Luis Suarez game winner. Šime Vrsaljko only played during Kieren Trippier’s 10-match ban; otherwise he rode the bench alongside goalie Ivo Grbić the entire season. Vrsaljko started the campaign recovering from another injury so the fact he will be available for Croatia on defense is huge.
Borna Barišić was a vital part of the Rangers invincible season this year in Scotland. The left-back did it all; playing stubborn defense while scoring from free free kicks on more than one occasion. Rangers did not lose one match and drew only six time; racking up 102 across 38 matches played. The question is: will Barišić be the answer to Croatia’s left-back void this Euro?
Dejan Lovren won the Russian Premier League with Zenit in his first season with he club. Domagoj Vida and Besiktas won the Turkish League on goal differential over Galatasaray. Domagoj Bradarić came off the bench the majority of the season for Lille as they dethroned mighty PSG as French Ligue 1 champions. Defender Josip Juranović won the Polish title with Legia Warsaw.
Which was the best title from a Croatian perspective in your opinion? For me it was Inter Milan because both Croatians played a vital part in bringing the scudetto back to Milan while dethroning a 9-year empire. How will this success translate over to Euro 2021? Stay tuned.