Croatia coach Zlatko Dalić has been named European Coach of the Year by the Alliance of European Football Coaches Associations (AEFCA).
Dalić, who led Croatia to the World Cup final in Russia this summer, collected the award in Turkey on Saturday during the AEFCA’s 39th annual symposium.
“Our biggest success before the World Cup in Russia was third place at the 1998 World Cup in France. Although we had quality footballers, for 20 years we did not have success. After I was named coach of the national team, I questioned why we hadn’t had any success and started to search for a solution. We showed at the World Cup that small nations, when they believe in themselves and put in a lot of work, can achieve great success,” Dalić said.
The FIFA Coach of the Year finalists was quick to praise his captain Luka Modrić and the rest of his team.
“Actually, it was not mine, but my team’s success. All I did was put them in the right place, chose the right tactics and implemented it. It is very important that we had a player like Modrić in the side. He was my right-hand man and helped a lot,” Dalić said.
Although key players like Mario Mandžukić and Danijel Subašić and Vedran Ćorluka have retired, Dalić stills believes Croatia can do great things at the EURO 2020.
“We can achieve great success also at the next EURO. To be always at the top for a small nation is not easy but we can do it,” he concluded.