- Mario Mandžukić has announced his is retirement from international football
- The 32-year-old Juventus forward was among Croatia's star performers at Russia 2018 Mundial
- Mandžukic earned a total of 89-caps and scored 33 times for Croatia
Juventus forward Mario Mandžukić has joined compatriot Vedran Ćorluka who quit on Friday to announce that he is retiring from international football on Tuesday.
According to a report on Croatia Week, Mandžukić, who is the country’s second highest goalscorer penned an emotional letter to inform Blazers fans of his decision.
“Dear fans, I always preferred to talk on the picture than off it. That is why these words are harder than slide-tackling an opponent or sprinting in the 120th minute.
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“It is harder as I know how much joy it brings me all the gatherings, matches and victories.
“It is harder as I know that listening to ‘Lijepa Naša’ before a match is the biggest emotion.
“It is harder because it is an honour to wear the Croatian shirt and to represent my country.
“It is harder because I know this is final and after these words, there is no coming back.
“But, it is time nevertheless for these words.
“I am retiring from the Croatian national team.
“However much the silver medal charged new energy, it made this tough decision easier. I experienced my dream, achieved historic success and felt the unbelievable love of the fans.
“This month and the arrival back to Zagreb and Slavonski Brod and all of Croatia will remain the most important memory of my career. It was the nicest trip with the national team and return home.
“I am happy, fulfilled and proud of the silver medal which we grafted for years through hard work, effort, disappointments and tough times. There is no ideal moment to go. If we could, I believe that we all would play for Croatia whilst we are living as there is no bigger pride. But, I feel that the moment is now for me.
“I gave my best and contributed to the biggest success in Croatian football.
“14 years ago I first put on the sacred shirt as a youth international. Since then I have met and played with a lot of excellent players, coaches, trainers, and people around the national team. We all had the same goal – to give our all for the success of Croatia.
“Thank you, everybody, because everyone in their own way left a mark on my career. On that path were always my closest ones, who I want to thank for their support.
“At the end, thanks to the fans.
“Nobody is perfect. I missed chances, lost the ball and made bad passes. But, I always gave it my all and left my heart on the pitch. Thank you for recognising that and being with me and the Croatian national team,” the letter read in part.
Interestingly, the 32-year-old Mandžukic featured 89 times for Croatia, netting 33 goals. During the summer World Cup in Russia, Mandžukic scored important goals for Croatian national team especially, his extra-time winner against England in the semi-final.
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At the last count the Juventus star is now his country’s second most prolific striker in history after Davor Šuker’s 45 goals.
Meanwhile, NAIJ.com previously had reported that Croatia’s Nikola Kalinic has refused to accept his FIFA World Cup silver medal following his sudden axe after the Blazers first match against Nigeria at the Mundial.
According to a UK Sun report citing Russia’s Sportske Novosti, Nikola Kalinic has repeatedly stressed he did not deserve the honour. Compassionately, Kalinic's squad mates as well as backroom staff have handed the 30-year-old his runners-up medal despite refusing to come on against Nigeria’s Super Eagles in their World Cup opening game.
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