Almost exactly three years after announcing his retirement from international football, Croatian striker Mario Mandžukić has called time on his professional career.
Mandžukić, who turned 35 in May, played 89 times for Croatia, scoring 33 goals. He is the second most prolific striker for Croatia after Davor Šuker who scored 45 goals. Mandžukic scored a number of important goals for Croatia during his career, but none more so than his extra-time winner against England in the World Cup semi-final. He also scored in the World Cup final.
After starting his career at Marsonia, Mandžukić played for NK Zagreb, Dinamo Zagreb, VfL Wolfsburg, Bayern Munich, Atletico Madrid, Juventus, Al-Duhail and most recently for AC Milan.
He has won numerous league titles and cups, as well as the UEFA Champions League with Bayern Munich back in 2012-13.
Today, Mandžukić published an emotional letter to “little Mario”as he closes his playing career.
Dear little Mario,
While you put on these boots for the first time, you can’t even imagine what you will get to experience in football. You’ll score goals at the biggest stages and you’ll win the biggest trophies with the biggest clubs. Proudly representing your nation, you will help write the history of Croatian sports.
You’ll succeed because you’ll have good people around you – teammates, coaches, fans, and family, agent and friends who will always be there for you. You’ll be forever grateful to all of them!
Above all, you’ll succeed because you’ll always give your best. At the end, that’s what you’ll be most proud of. You’ll sacrifice a lot, but you’ll know it was worth it because of all the amazing moments.
You’ll recognize the moment to retire, to put these boots in a cabinet and you’ll have no regrets. Football will always be a part of your life, but you’ll look forward to a new chapter.
Your big Mario
P.S. If you happen to play vs England in the World Cup, just be ready around 109th minute
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“Mandžo, thank you for everything and good luck in the future!,” the Croatian Football Federation wrote.
✉️ With an emotional letter to “little Mario”, great @MarioMandzukic9 closes his fantastic playing career. Mandžo, thank you for everything and good luck in the future! ❤️#Family #Vatreni🔥 pic.twitter.com/0LvsbrGEsR
— HNS (@HNS_CFF) September 3, 2021