Croatia defender Vedran Ćorluka has announced his retirement from international football on Friday.
The centre-back has decided to call time on his Croatia career after 12 years wearing the Croatian colours. Ćorluka, who played 103 times for his country, announced the news on his Instagram profile.
“Dear Croatian national team fans, after 12 years and 103 caps in my favourite shirt, the time has come to farewell the Croatian national team. Thank you for unconditional support and love over the years, without you the feeling of playing for Croatia would not be as near as special as it was for me in every match over these 12 years,” Ćorluka wrote.
Ćorluka could not have wished for a better end to a magnificent career for Croatia by winning the silver medal at the World Cup in Russia.
“Of course, there were good and not so good matches, but everyone was played with heart. Thanks to my teammates who I spent these unforgettable years with, thanks for being like my family, younger brothers, some older brothers, thanks for teaching me what togetherness is and where it can take us…to the World Cup final,” Ćorluka added.
The defender affectionately known as Čarli, says he will continue to be Croatia’s most fiery fan and says he has no doubt that together they will celebrate like they did this summer.
“Thanks to coaches Slaven (Bilić), Igor (Štimac), Niko (Kovač), Ante (Čačić) and Zlatko (Dalić) for the faith you showed in me all these years and for helping me realise my dreams as a player in my favourite and nicest shirt. And finally, thanks to everyone I met on my path, but now it is time to close this door which will open it for someone else and their dreams being realised await. From today I am the loudest fan who will always carry this in my heart,” love Čarli.
Dragi navijaci Hrvatske reprezentacije, nakon 12 godina i 103 nastupa u najdrazem dresu došlo je vrijeme da se oprostim od Hrvatske reprezentacije. Hvala vam za sve ove godine bezuvjetne podrške i ljubavi, bez vas osjećaj igranja za Hrvatsku ne bi bio ni blizu poseban kao što je za mene bio u ama baš svakoj utamici kroz svih ovih 12 godina. Naravno, bilo je tu i dobrih i onih malo manje dobrih utakmica ali znajte, svaka je bila sa srcem. Hvala i svim mojim suigracima s kojima sam proveo sve ove nezaboravne godine, hvala vam sto ste mi bili obitelj, nekada mladji brat a nekada stariji, hvala vam sto ste me naucili sto znaci zajednistvo i gdje nas ono moze dovesti…do finala SP.🥈Bit cu vas najvatreniji navijac i ne sumnjam da cemo se opet zajedno veseliti kao ovog ljeta. Hvala svim trenerima Slavenu,Igoru,Niki,Anti i Zlatku na povjerenju koje ste mi ukazali kroz sve ove godine i što ste pomogli da ostvarim svoje snove igrajuci za najdrazi i naljepši dres. I za kraj, još jedno veliko hvala svima koje sam susreo na ovom putu no došlo je vrijeme da zatvorim ova vrata koja se sada otvaraju za nekog novog koji čeka da se i njegovi snovi ostvare. Od danas najglasniji navijač koji će u srcu zauvijek nositi tu peticu, voli vas Čarli. ❤ 🇭🇷 #iznadsvihhrvatska
He also penned on letter which the Croatian FA published.
In 2002, when I put on this jersey for the first time, I was just a 16-year-old kid overjoyed with an opportunity to defend Croatia colours in youth categories. I could not have imagined, or dared to dream, what this jersey will mean to me later on, what will I experience wearing it, and how this jersey will define not just my football career, but my entire life.
145 matches later, 103 in the senior national team, it is time to say goodbye to this jersey. And thank you.
Thank you for letting me meet many wonderful people that shared Croatia dressing room with me. Many of them will remain my friends for life. These are my teammates, and we were singing, crying, celebrating and grieving together, having the most beautiful and most difficult moments of our careers.
These are all the managers and coaches that made me a better players. These are all the nice people among the staff and the Croatian Football Federation, that are doing a brilliant job to enable us the optimal conditions.
The general public sees only the matches, but the national team is much more. Massages at 3 a.m., awaiting the results of MRI, endless air and bus travels, press conferences, meetings, lunches – all this is included. This life would be much more difficult without Croatia being a true family. There are disagreements, but in the end, we always stand by each other. This is what makes Croatia special.
I have travelled throughout the world in this jersey. I have played in major competitions, against the greatest teams and the greatest players. I have experienced winning against Germany, Spain, or England, as well as losing to Georgia or failing to reach the World Cup.
I have experienced Portugal. And Mexico.
Not to forget Turkey. We have all experienced Turkey.
And then, I had the privilege, luck, honour, reward – I don’t know how to name it – to experience Russia.
I would be more than happy with my international career without this Russian experience, there have been many victories and moments to remember. However, it was Russia that finally confirmed these emotions that the 16-year-old kid from the beginning could not have imagined.
All the matches in the mud, all the hard work at the practice sessions, all the long trips, all the defeats, all the matches behind closed doors, the criticism, the “unfulfilled potential” tags – all of this was erased in one-month fairy tale, when Croatia’s dreams came true and we became World Cup runners-up. It’s still incredible to say or write this. A half of million people welcomed us back home? Did it really took us six hours to the main square? Did we really sing “Lijepa li si” in front of this crowd, wearing silver medals our necks?
The most beautiful and the dearest jersey in the world, the Croatia jersey, made this possible. I have had the opportunity to share the strongest of emotions with my teammates, as well as with our great fans – thank you for your support! All these moments – both beautiful and less beautiful – I have experienced with my family and friends, and I cannot thank them enough for all the support throughout my career.
In return, I gave all that I had for this jersey. I have learned this for my predecessors.
I expect nothing less from those that will wear it in the future, and I will be their biggest supporter. Above all – Croatia!