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Marko Livaja leaves Croatia squad after training ground incident

Croatia names squad for Euro 2024 qualifiers 

Marko Livaja

Marko Livaja has left Croatia squad on Tuesday and will not feature in the  UEFA Nations League finals later his month, the Croatian Football Federation (HNS) confirmed today in a statement.

“Livaja had a conversation with coach Zlatko Dalić regarding an incident that occurred during training on Monday at the HNK Rijeka stadium, where a few individuals insulted the Croatian player in an inappropriate and vulgar manner,” HNS said.

After copping abuse, Livaja reacted and went to the stands where he confronted the culprits. Assistant coach Vedran Ćorluka would pull Livaja away before the situation escalated. 

Dalić and Livaja agreed that the incident created an uncomfortable atmosphere and an environment in which Livaja could not focus on upcoming Nations League matches. As a result, the Hajduk Split striker will not be available for the Final Four.

“Unfortunately, after everything that has happened in the past 24 hours, I feel that I am not ready to give my maximum to the national team and that my presence would only be a disturbance to the team, which deserves to have peace during the preparations for this important competition. I wish the guys all the luck in the Netherlands, to bring home the gold, for which they certainly have the quality and unity. I thank the coach for his understanding, President Kustić and the team at the Federation for their support, and I hope that the fans of the national team will understand this outcome. The national team means a lot to me, and I hope to continue being a part of it in the future,” said Marko Livaja.

Coach Dalić had this to say: 

“I am extremely sorry that this happened and that the unacceptable behaviour of a few individuals has resulted in us losing an important player for this competition. I understand Marko and the gravity of the situation he found himself in, and I respect his decision to not participate in the Nations League finals after everything that has been written and experienced. Marko remains in our plans going forward, and our goals for the Nations League finals remain the same.”

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