1 June 2019 – The Croatian national team were in the small Dalmatian town of Omiš this week to help celebrate the 100th birthday of the local club, NK Omiš.
The visit to the former pirate town nestled between the Adriatic Sea and the Cetina river was particularly special for one player in the squad. Ivan Perišić was returning back to where it all started and playing in his hometown again.
The winger spent the first 14 years of his life in Omiš and some of his best friends, and even his best man, were in the Omiš team he played against yesterday.
Perišić, who was handed the captain’s armband and scored the opening goal, was touched by the reception he received.
“Well done to everyone who organised this match, from Dalić and captain Luka to everyone in the Croatian Football Federation who made it possible for the game to be played. I’m full of emotions, here I took my first steps and thanks to all who came and supported us. I hope they will keep supporting us in the future,” Perišić said.
Perišić proved that his love for his hometown are not just words. Yesterday he revealed a big tattoo of Omiš on his calf. The tattoo features the town’s church of St. Michael the Archangel, the Croatian checkers with his number 4 on it and also the number 44 which is his shirt number at Inter Milan.
Perišić’s old nickname in Omiš was Koka (hen) because he used to help out on his father’s chicken farm. Perišić moved from Omiš to Split as a teenager to try his luck at Hajduk Split. He moved to Sochaux in France before playing an official match for Hajduk. Today he is at Inter Milan, where he has played 140 matches, after have stints at Roeselare, Club Brugge, Borussia Dortmund and Wolfsburg along the way.
Perišić has 75 caps for Croatia and has scored 22 goals for his country, including one in the World Cup Final.