Croatia's Nikola Kalinic sent home from World Cup due to back injury

19 June, 2018, 04:24 | Author: Felix Jensen
  • Nikola Kalinic of ACF Fiorentina celebrates after scoring a goal during the Serie A match between ACF Fiorentina and FC Torino at Stadio Artemio Franchi

In what was the fourth successive global fixture where he had been left on the bench and looks like a major blow to his career that's fallen apart since making a lucrative €25m (R390m) switch to the San Siro in the start of last season.

"He warmed up for the game against Nigeria, he was supposed to go in, but he said he was not ready". An own goal and a Luka Modrić penalty secured three points for Croatia, but problems arose when manager Zlatko Dalic wanted to bring on striker Nikola Kalinic. He did the same thing against Brazil and England, saying he wasn't ready, and for yesterday's training session too.

Media reports said that Kalinic, who has been unable to break into the starting lineup during the build-up to the tournament, had been asked by Dalic to come on as an 85th-minute substitute against Nigeria.

Croatian striker Nikola Kalinic refused to enter the team's match as a substitute on Saturday, and was sent home on Monday to watch the rest of the tournament away from the pitch.

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"I accepted it calmly, because I need ready and healthy players who can help their teammates".

Kalinic struggled to find his best form after joining AC Milan from Fiorentina last season, scoring six goals in 31 Serie A appearances.

They face Argentina on Thursday (19:00 BST) and finish their Group D campaign against Iceland on Tuesday 26 June (19:00 BST).

If the reports are indeed true, Croatia will only have one natural number 9.in their squad, Mario Mandzukic.

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