Zlatko Dalić reacts to Dejan Lovren retiring: ‘A fighter, motivator and leader’
- by croatiaweek
- in Sport
Dejan Lovren announced his retirement from the Croatian national team on Thursday, almost 14 years after making his debut.
The Lyon centre-back, who played 78 times for Croatia and scored 5 goals, said goodbye in an open letter.
Lovren leaves after playing in three World Cups – 2014, 2018 and 2022, as well as UEFA Euro 2020 – and owns a World Cup silver and bronze medal.
His coach for those World Cup medal wins in 2018 and 2022 was Zlatko Dalić and the current Croatia coach paid tribute to him after he found out about the news of his retirement from the man himself.
“I understand and respect Dejan’s decision. When we spoke, I told him that he has my full support, regardless of the course he decides to take. During his career, Dejan battled criticism and distrust, and yet he always remained a fighter – and now, as his international career comes to an end, he has so much to be proud of. He was excellent in Russia and Qatar, he won two medals, and in many ways, he has managed to surpass the players that were his idols in the 90s,” said Dalić.
“Dejan was a leader in the dressing room and I could always rely on him to encourage, motivate, and lift up his teammates. He has a lot of fire in him, and he’s the kind of player you want to have on your side during every battle. I’m glad that I had the opportunity to coach him and that we got to share so many good memories together. I want to thank him for everything he did for me as a coach and for everything he did for the Croatian national team. He was an important factor in our success and I wish him health, happiness, and success on the pitch and away from it,” Dalić concluded.