5 Croatians who have made their mark in England
Croatia’s current World Cup squad contains only one English-based player, but several others have made a mark on England’s domestic leagues in recent times.
Zlatko Dalic’s team meet France in Sunday’s World Cup semi-final and Dejan Lovren is the only Croatian that could feature who current plies his trade in the Premier League.
Here Press Association Sport looks at five of the best Croatians to have played in England.
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Croatia’s all-time top scorer won the golden boot at the 1998 World Cup, having bagged six goals when the team made the semi-finals. Suker was a Real Madrid player at the time and made the move to England in 1999 when Arsene Wenger brought him to Arsenal. However, the current president of the Croatian Football Federation had a largely disappointing spell in north London and subsequently with West Ham as he scored only 10 top-flight goals across two seasons.
Striker Boksic was one of the many high-profile players lured to Middlesbrough between the mid-1990s and early 2000s. Having joined from Lazio in 2000, Boksic bagged a brace on his debut and was named the club’s player of the year in his first campaign. He would retire in early 2003, though, due to injury problems. Boksic also lists Marseille and Juventus among his former employers.
The current Bosnia-Herzegovina manager did not play in the Premier League but spent a season in the second tier with Portsmouth in 2001-02. Prosinecki is still fondly remembered on the south coast for that campaign at Pompey, having scored nine times, including a hat-trick against Barnsley. Before dazzling those at Fratton Park, midfielder Prosinecki played for both Real Madrid and Barcelona and was a European Cup winner with Red Star Belgrade.
Midfielder Modric, perhaps the finest player in this current Croatia team, spent four years in England with Tottenham prior to joining Real Madrid in 2012. He has since gone on to become one of Los Blancos’ key players in a team that has won three successive Champions League titles. At Spurs he played under Juande Ramos and Harry Redknapp yet went without silverware. Modric has already scored twice for his nation at this World Cup, while he also converted each of his penalties in their two shoot-out successes.
Kranjcar was a team-mate of Modric’s at White Hart Lane and also played for Prosinecki’s old club Portsmouth as well as QPR. No Croatian has made more Premier League appearances than his 154. Kranjcar, who is now 33 and a free agent following a stint in Scotland with Rangers, has not played for his country since 2013 having been part of the Croatian team that beat England at Wembley in 2007 in a loss that meant the Three Lions missed out on Euro 2008.