Croatia's 15 Best Footballers of All Time

Who is the greatest Croatian football player ever?

Croatia national football team is still relatively young. The Croatian Football Association officially joined FIFA in 1993 after the country gained independence from Yugoslavia in 1991. Although the football association of this country was just born, Croatia is not a weak team. This country is often named as one of the strongest dark horses among other European national teams and some of their players have won numerous achievements in international tournaments.

In this article, I present a ranking of 15 best Croatian footballers of all time. They do not only have good individual skills, but also played significant roles in helping the national team and their respective clubs gain victory in various competitions.



15. Mario Mandzukic

Mario Mandzukic is a striker who shows scintillating performances with Bayern Munich in the last two years. Mandzukic is known as a hardworking player who possesses excellent off-the-ball movement. He was signed from Wolfsburg by Bayern Munich in 2012 and immediately gained a role as a first-team player in his first season. He was also two years in a row selected as the Croatian Footballer of the Year in 2012 and 2013.

14. Dado Prso

Dado Prso was a tall, strong, striker with great aerial abilities. He spent most of his career playing in the French League before retiring at Glasgow Rangers in 2007. He also became the number one striker for his country in Euro 2004 tournament, where Prso managed to score a goal. At club level, Prso won a Ligue 1 title, a Scottish Premier League trophy, and three times awarded Croatian Footballer of the Year.


13. Niko Kranjcar

Niko Kranjcar is an attacking midfielder who is often dubbed as "the next Robert Prosinecki." The player started his career in Europe's elite league at Portsmouth in 2006. His performances at Portsmouth were somehow good, where he helped the club win the FA Cup in 2008. As an attacking midfielder, Kranjcar possesses high stamina and often scores goals from long-range shots.


12. Eduardo da Silva

After the era of Davor Suker, Eduardo da Silva may be regarded as the best striker of Croatia national football team. This player was born in Brazil, but he has Croatian citizenship. His name became known by football fans all across the world when he was signed by Arsenal from Dinamo Zagreb and showed charming performances at the club. He was perfectly capable of replacing the role of Robin van Persie who suffered from long-term injury and became a mainstay of the Gunners' offense line along with Emmanuel Adebayor. Since moving to Shakhtar Donetsk in 2010, Edu has won three Ukrainian League titles and three Ukrainian Cups.


11. Stipe Pletikosa

Stiipe Pletikosa can be named as the best Croatian goalkeeper of all time. Currently, he is the player with the second highest number of caps for the Croatian national team, just under Darijo Srna. He spent most of his career playing for Eastern European club such as Shakhtar Donetsk, Spartak Moscow and FC Rostov. He won a Croatian League title with Hajduk Split, an Ukrainian League with Shakhtar, and once was selected as the Croatian Footballer of the Year 2002.


10. Ivica Olic

Ivica Olic is a striker who shone in the Bundesliga and Russian League. He is known as a player who possesses high stamina, good pace, and powerful shots. At CSKA Moscow, Olic Russia won three Russian League titles and one UEFA Cup trophy. His career at Bayern Munich was also quite brilliant, where Olic had a lot of opportunities to play as the first-team striker as Mario Gomez and Miroslav Klose were frequently injured. At the club, he won a Bundesliga title and a DFB Pokal trophy.


9. Robert Kova─Ź

Just like Ivica Olic, Robert Kovac also spent most of his career playing in the German League. The central defender joined FC Nurnberg, Bayer Leverkusen, Bayer Munich and Borussia Dortmund before ending his career at Dinamo Zagreb in 2010. Throughout his career, Kovac was known as a tough ball-winner. He played for the Croatian national team in 84 matches and became a team captain for one year.


8. Darijo Srna

Dario Srna is a right back who holds the record for most number of appearances for Croatia national team. Because of the high offensive instincts, Srna is also often played as a right midfielder. Not only possessing high stamina and running speed, the player is also known as a reliable set-pieces taker. He joined Hajduk Split in 2003, winning seven Ukrainian League titles and one UEFA Cup trophy.

7. Alen Boksic

Alen Boksic is a striker who is known as one of the best Marseille players of all time. He played a major role in helping Marseille win the Champions League in 1993 and became a top scorer of Ligue 1 in the same year. When he was still active, Boksic was known as a striker who possessed high techniques and intelligences. He played for Juventus and Lazio before ending his career as a professional footballer at Middlesbrough in 2003.

6. Dario Simic

Dario Simic was the mainstay of Croatian national team defense line in in 1998 World CUp. He played a major role helping the country finish third in the tournament. His performance at tournament was also brilliant, making world class strikers such as Dennis Bergkamp, ​​Jurgen Klinsmann, and Youri Djorkaeff had difficult times when playing against him. At club level, Simic also performed well at AC Milan, where he won a Serie A title and two Champions League trophies.


5. Igor Tudor

During his eight-year career at Juventus, Tudor showed solid performance. He formed a formidable defense line along with great players such as Lilian Thuram, Fabio Cannavaro, Gianluca Pessotto, and Giorgio Chiellini. Although he was frequently hit by injury, Tudor managed to show his best forms when he was fit. Throughout his career, he won two Serie A titles, one Intertoto Cup trophy, and two Supercoppa Italiana trophies. Tudor was also a player who decided to stay at Juventus when the club was relegated to Serie B in 2006 due to Calciopoli scandal.


4. Luka Modric

Luka Modric holds the record as the most expensive Croatian footballer in history. This player made the record in 2012 when he was signed by Real Madrid from Tottenham Hotspur for a fee of 33 million pounds. Modric is known as an attacking midfielder who has the astounding dribbling, accurate passing, and high goal-scoring instincts. He was also elected three times as Croatian Footballer of the Year.


3. Robert Prosinecki

In terms of techniques and skills, Robert Prosinecki is regarded as the best in the history of the Croatian national team. The attacking midfielder possessed comprehensive skills, ranging from dribbling skills, pace, passing, and goal-scoring instincts. He played for two world's biggest clubs, Barcelona and Real Madrid, before retiring at NK Zagreb in 2004. Prior to the formation of Croatia, Prosinecki played for Yugoslavia national team. He represented the country in the 1990 World Cup and was selected as the best young player of the tournament.

2. Zvonimir Boban

Zvonimir Boban was a perfect central midfield. He possessed great playmaking ability, accurate passing, and often scored important goals for his team. This player was trusted to be the captain of the golden generation of Croatia national team that won the third place in the 1998 World Cup. His career at club level was also good, especially when he played for AC Milan. At AC Milan, Boban won four Serie A titles and a Champions League trophy.


1. Davor Suker

In terms of productivity in scoring goals, Davor Suker is the number one in Croatia. With a total of 45 goals, Suker is a Croatia national team top scorer of all time. He even became the top scorer of the 1998 World Cup and helped his country to a third place finish in the tournament. Throughout his career, Suker won a La Liga title, a Champions League trophy and was also elected as Croatian Footballer of the Year five times.



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