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Zlatko Dalić boycotts FIFA awards vote: ‘Croatia deserves more respect than this’

Zlatko Dalić boycotts FIFA awards: ‘Croatia deserves more respect than this’

Zlatko Dalić boycotts FIFA awards vote

The FIFA The Best awards took place last night in Paris with only one Croatian player, Luka Modrić, honoured. 

The awards, which were held for the 7th time, saw all national team head coaches and captains, as well as fans and media, cast their votes for the best in 2022.

Croatia head coach Zlatko Dalić decided not to take part in this year’s voting process for FIFA’s awards, citing world football’s governing body’s relationship with his national team, the Croatian Football Federation said.

“I am disappointed with FIFA’s attitude towards the Croatian national team because I strongly maintain that, based on everything we’ve achieved as a national team, we deserve more respect from the head governing body of world football than we have received. We are the only national team that was among the top four teams at both the World Cup in Qatar and in the current UEFA Nations League cycle. We made the front pages worldwide by winning a match against the world’s greatest team Brazil, and along with France, we are the only team to have won two medals at the two most recent World Cups. This year, We beat France in Paris and Denmark in Copenhagen, we took Brazil and Belgium out of the World Cup. In the 23 matches we’ve played since the EURO 2020, we’ve only lost twice,” said Dalić. 

“And yet even after all of that, look at the list of the 14 candidates for The Best FIFA Men’s player – aside from the great Luka Modrić, where are other Croatian players? I do not want to cite any names of the international players that are among the finalists because I have tremendous respect for every player and coach that’s been nominated, but was there really no place for Mateo Kovačić on that list, even though he’s won the FIFA Club World Cup and played a brilliant World Cup in Qatar? Where is Joško Gvardiol’s name? After all, he was listed among the Top 11 for both the World Cup and for the Bundesliga by most sources. And did Dominik Livaković not deserve to be one of the five finalists for the Best FIFA Men’s Goalkeeper after everything he did in Qatar?” 

“Among the five finalists for the Best FIFA Men’s Coach – all of whom are coaches that I respect immensely – are three national team coaches, and not one of them has managed to both qualify for the UEFA Nations League final tournament and win a medal at the World Cup. With all due respect for Morocco’s head coach and their success at the World Cup, in the two matches we played against them, we tied once and Croatia won the bronze medal the second time,” added Dalić. 

“Let’s remember that, going by both the stats and the overall impression, Dominik and Joško deserved to be awarded as the best goalkeeper and the best young player at the World Cup. I feel that we have not been extended the respect we deserve, and both the time slots of our matches at the World Cup and the quality of refereeing – especially at the semi-final match – made me feel that there was a lack of respect towards the Croatian team. I fully believe that our national team’s performance on the pitch and conduct off of it has made us deserving of the very same respect that we show our opponents at every match.”

“If English, Brazilian, Spanish, German, or Italian players and coaches had the kind of results that we do, they’d be on the shortlist for every possible football award. I want more respect for us, for our national team, for our players, and for myself, because with two medals, we more than deserve it. FIFA should promote the fact that a tiny country such as Croatia can play against the biggest nations in the world because that’s the most beautiful message for the whole football world,” said Dalić.

“Having taken all of the above into consideration, I have decided not to partake in the voting process for this year’s awards, but I want to congratulate all of the winners on their well-deserved awards, especially to Luka on the excellent fourth place – though he is always number one for me”, concluded Croatia’s head coach.

Modrić was named in The Best World 11 and finished 4th in The Best men’s player award. The 37-year-old was the oldest player named in the World 11, which also featured Thibaut Courtois, Joao Canelo, Vrgil van Dijk, Achra Hakimi, Casemiro, Kevin DeBruyne, Lionel Messi, Kylian Mbappe, Benzema and Erling Haaland.

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