Last November against Italy at the San Siro stadium in Milan the workhorse striker made his 100th appearance for Croatia, joining just 4 other players who have represented Croatia 100 times – Stipe Pletikosa, Darijo Srna, Dario Šimić and Josip Šimunić.
Olić, who made his debut for Croatia in 2002 and made his mark scoring against Italy in the 2002 World Cup in Japan, was officially recognised on Wednesday in Zagreb with an award.
“When you play either 10 or 50 matches in the Croatia shirt then its something that makes the family happy. But, when you play your 100th match at the San Siro, then that is a big thing. I wish that Olić continues to play and that his goals take us to the Euros in France,” Croatian FA President Davor Šuker, who was Olić’s teammate in Japan at the 2002 World Cup, said.
“After the World Cup (in Brazil) I wanted to finish this story. If I remember right I had 96 appearances then, but I was not concerned with statistics too much. I then talked with the coach and he wanted me to stay, and then with Srna and Šimunić, two players who had reached that magical number. Then I said to myself that whilst I am playing club football and if they need me then why not,” said Olic on receiving the award.
Olić said that his favourite goal out of the 19 he has scored for Croatia was the one he scored against Bosnia and Herzegovina, but also he will never forget his goal against Italy because of its importance. The loss against Turkey at the Euro 2008 was his most disappointing moment of his career he said.
“I have lost two Champions League finals, and I needed a few days to get over those losses, but that loss against Turkey hurt for a long time,” said the 100-cap veteran.
Olić hopes to make it 101 this Saturday in Zagreb when Croatia take on Norway in a Euro 2016 qualifier. (photo / Drago Sopta HNS )