Croatia’s emphatic 3-0 win over Argentina at the 2018 FIFA World Cup will make the whole world take notice of this Eastern European team. They may not be among the favourites to win the World Cup but don’t be surprised if they go deep into the tournament because this is a team with a lot of quality.
Croatian club, Dinamo Zagreb has played a pivotal role in the success of the national team because six of the players who started the game against Argentina rose to fame with Zagreb and three of those six are products of the club’s famous academy.
In addition, all three substitutes that Croatia used, as well as three more players on the bench were also graduates of Zagreb’s academy. The only player in Croatia’s World Cup squad who currently plays for Zagreb is their backup goalkeeper Dominik Livaković.
It is obvious that the club had no way to keep hold of such talented players but if they did, then they would have an amazing starting XI. So here is an XI of players sold by Dinamo Zagreb - the club that has provided the backbone of Croatia’s national team.
Honourable mentions - Tin Jedvaj (Bayer Leverkusen), Ante Coric (Roma), Alen Halilovic (Hamburg), Eduardo (Legia Warsaw), Marko Rog (Napoli) and Milan Badelj (Fiorentina).
Goalkeeper - Eduardo Carvalho (Chelsea)
Eduardo is the only player on this list who is not a Croat but we can’t have an XI without a goalkeeper, can we?
The current Dinamo Zagreb goalkeeper, Dominik Livaković, is a Croat and also part of the World Cup squad but we have only included sold players in this XI.
Eduardo is a Portuguese international who has represented his country 36 times. He notably played for Braga, Genoa and İstanbul Başakşehir F.K. before joining Zagreb in 2014.
During his two year stint in Croatia, he played 99 games, won the league twice and the domestic cup twice. He was also part of Portugal’s Euro winning squad in 2016.
The veteran goalkeeper joined Chelsea in 2016 and has been the third choice goalkeeper at the club since. Which is why he hasn’t played a single competitive game for Chelsea.