Nikola Kalinic reveals what's happened since he was sent home from Croatia's World Cup

  • Kat Lucas

Croatia's run to the 2018 World Cup final was truly admirable.

Zlatko Dalić's side became the second smallest nation of all time to make it to the last two, following Uruguay's achievements in 1930 and 1950.

With a population of just four million people, that is seriously impressive stuff, with captain Luka Modric also being awarded the Golden Ball.

England fans might have raised an eyebrow at their 'win-at-all-costs' mentality in the semi-final, but ultimately few would begrudge a very talented squad getting a shot at football's greatest prize.

However, spare a thought for Nikola Kalinic, who was infamously sent home in disgrace after the 2-0 win over Nigeria in the group stages.

The AC Milan forward refused to come on as a substitute, claiming to be unfit, which led to him being unceremoniously removed from the squad altogether.

There was evidently some bad blood with Dalić, who upon the decision declared he only wanted those who were "fit and ready to play".

Since returning home, his team-mates and the coaching staff had a change of heart and offered him a silver medal, despite the fact he didn't play a single minute.

Kalinic hasn't accepted the gesture 

The striker has turned it down on the basis that he does not deserve the accolade.

"Thanks for the medals, but I did not play in Russia," Kalinic told Sportske Novosti, per Goal.

AC Milan v ACF Fiorentina - Serie A

The incident did not only affect his own summer but could also have proved costly for Croatia, who were left with Mario Mandzukic as their only out-and-out striker.

The Vatreni were twice taken to penalties by Denmark and Russia.

Admittedly, they were among the dark horses to reach the final and had he known how well his team-mates were going to do, perhaps Kalinic might have acted differently.

There was definitely more to the story than met the eye.

It could yet prove to be an even more eventful few weeks for him as he is reportedly targeted by Atletico Madrid.

The Rojiblancos see him as a potential replacement for Fernando Torres and have not been deterred by what happened with his national side.

At the very least, it now seems as though the 30-year-old is ready to show some remorse. 

Do you think Croatia were right to offer him a medal? Have your say in the comments. 

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