27 February 2019 – Former Croatia captain Darijo Srna (36) could be making a surprise return to the national team.
Srna, who retired after EURO 2016 in France after playing a record 134 matches for his country, has been asked by good friend Luka Modrić to come out of international retirement to help the national team out, daily Sportske Novosti reports.
“Modrić and Srna are close friends and are in constant contact and he is convincing him to come out of retirement and again make himself available for the national team,” the report said.
Coach Zlatko Dalić has a dilemma at right-back on his hands with Šime Vrsaljko likely to be out for the rest of the year after undergoing knee surgery. Fellow defender and current first choice left back, Josip Pivarić, also underwent surgery this month and will be sidelined for a long period of time. There are also injury concerns with centre back Dejan Lovren.
This is not the first time that Srna is being coerced into making a return to the national team. Last year Dalić made an unsuccessful bid to bring the defender back. Srna turned down the requests for three main reasons then – firstly he had already retired, secondly, he had just returned to playing again after a break of almost 12 months, and thirdly, Vrsaljko was available then so there was no real panic.
Now, Vrsaljko is out and Srna is playing consistently in Italy’s Serie A with Cagliari and is in form with 21 games under his belt. If he can get over the hurdle of already retiring then he could be a bolter when the squad is named for the opening EURO 2020 qualifiers against Azerbaijan and Hungary next month.
At the age of 36, Srna is not a long-term solution so this might weigh on him making a decision to return. Srna debuted for Croatia in 2002. He scored 22 times and was remembered for his trademark crosses from the right and speed.