Feel Bad This Morning? Spare A Thought For Nikola Kalinić
If you think you're feeling bad this morning after England's excruciating defeat to Croatia in the World Cup, spare a thought for Nikola Kalinić.
Nikola Kalinić, who some (not that many) might remember from his time at Blackburn Rovers some years back, is a Croatian footballer.
Wait, what? Surely even Croatian footballers who didn't make it to the World Cup should be happy for the team? After all, messages of sympathy flooded in for the England team last night from other England players such as Jermaine Defoe and Daniel Sturridge. They could have been a part of it, but they weren't bitter and got behind the team.
It didn't go our way tonight but the boys have made us proud. This is just the start for this team... #England #WorldCup pic.twitter.com/fYWWTDRV3M
- Jermain Defoe (@IAmJermainDefoe) July 11, 2018
If anyone has anything negative to say about this @England team or individuals keep your tweets to yourself. Nobody would have thoughts they'd be where they are or achieved what they have and they've made everyone proud so get behind them and show love not hate #threelions :heart:
- Daniel Sturridge (@DanielSturridge) July 11, 2018
You see, the problem for Nikola Kalinić is that whilst you were tucking into your free McMuffin this morning and wallowing in pity, he was tucking into a big old plate of humble pie.
He WAS a part of the Croatian squad, but was sent home from the team's camp after refusing to go onto the field of play as a substitute during his side's 2 - 0 win against Nigeria in the group stages.
Imagine that - you're a member of your national team's squad at the biggest tournament in world football, and your team is winning by two goals. The coach turns around to you and says, 'I've got a job for you,' and you refuse to go on.
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Not many people would do that. Not many, except for Nikola Kalinić.
Not only that, the coach, Zlatko Dalić, and his team have gone on to drive Croatia to their first World Cup final ever. That's got to sting, just a bit, watching your former teammates - you'd have to say this is the end of his Croatia career - march on to a glorious showpiece event.
Imagine how he'll feel if they win the whole thing.
Either way, the Croatian team will return to their team as heroes, having gone further than any team in their history.
Oh well, at least he's got his club career to fall back on.
Kalinić currently plays for Italian side Fiorentina, but he spent last season on loan at AC Milan. That's not a bad place to play your football, by anyone's standards.
He has been recently linked with a move away from Italy, but it's likely that clubs will think twice before they take on board somebody who is known to have been so insubordinate when his country needed him.
I reckon not many of Gareth Southgate's team would have turned down their chance.
Featured Image Credit: PA