Belfast Telegraph

Croatia striker Nikola Kalinic sent home from World Cup

The former Blackburn star refused to come off the bench against Nigeria.

Croatia boss Zlatko Dalic has confirmed Nikola Kalinic has been sent home from the World Cup.

The AC Milan striker refused to come on as a substitute during Saturday 2-0 Group D win over Nigeria.

He has now been banished from the Croatia squad with Dalic saying the ex-Blackburn forward blamed a back problem for not wanting to play.

He told a press conference: “During the Nigeria encounter, Kalinic was warming up and was supposed to come on in the second half.

“However, he then stated that he wasn’t ready to come on due to a back issue. The same thing happened during the Brazil friendly in England, as well as before the practice session on Sunday.

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Nikola Kalinic has left the Croatia squad in Russia (Mike Egerton/Empics)

“I have calmly accepted that, and since I need my players fit and ready to play, I have made this decision.”

Kalinic has 41 caps and 15 goals for his country and joined AC Milan, on loan with an obligation to buy, from Fiorentina last summer.

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