Joe Šimunić, Ivan Rakitić, Niko and Robert Kovač, Mladen Petrić and Ivan Klasnić are some of the players from the diaspora who have given a lot to Croatian football.
Another player from the diaspora who is tipped to soon be knocking on the door of the senior Croatia team is 18-year-old Luka Sučić.
Born in Linz, Austria, Sučić plays at Red Bull Salzburg. The left-footed creative midfielder made his Bundesliga debut last year and also his Champions League debut in the same season against Bayern Munich. He has already represented Croatia at youth level in the U15, U16, U17 and U19 team.
Speaking as a guest on the SuperSportske podcast this week, current Croatia U19 coach Joe Šimunić says if Sučić remains healthy it is just a matter of time before he gets called up to the senior national team.
Šimunić believes Croatian football will benefit in near future with the return of talented players to their home country and says Sučić, who has played under him for the Croatia U19 team is just one of those.
“I am of the opinion that, if he stays healthy, Sučić will soon be part of the A national team,” Šimunić says.
As a youth selector for the Croatian Football Federation, Šimunić is one of the most relevant interlocutors when it comes to the development of footballers in Croatia, but also the diaspora from which Croatia has drawn great talents over the years and he says Sučić is not the only one.
“There are more like him – as many as you want. One boy in Germany, Igor Matanović, the boy is born in 2003, he is 195 cm tall and already plays for the first team of FC St. Pauli. It’s amazing. There’s a boy in Stuttgart too, Jakov Šuver, born in 2003. However, both Matanović and Šuver are already playing for the German youth national team,” Šimunić said.
Whether the federation can attract Matanović and Šuver is another story.
“I don’t know, but if someone has a thirst, that’s all you have to have. If you have the desire, you will get the chance. You may have to wait a little longer, but you will get it. If someone is calculating, then it means that his heart is not in it. Then it is more of a business move than something that goes to your credit,” said Šimunić.
You can see Luka in action here.
You can see the podcast featuring the former Croatia defender below.