Nikola Kalinic: Croatia send striker home after back injury claim


Nikola Kalinic: Croatia send striker home after back injury claim

It has emerged that a member of Croatia's World Cup squad has sensationally been "kicked out" after he refused to come on during their 2-0 victory against Nigeria. He did the same thing against Brazil and England, saying he wasn't ready, and for yesterday's training session too.

Kalinic, 30, was a substitute during the encounter and reportedly refused to come on as a late second-half substitute after being told to warm up by manager Zlatko Dalic.

"I accepted it calmly, because I need ready and healthy players who can help their teammates". The Croatian Football Federation (HNS) said it would release a statement on the matter.

Information from Reuters and The Associated Press was used in this report.

Kalinic, who played for Blackburn Rovers between 2009 and 2011, was starting his fourth global in a row on the bench and complained of the same problem in the friendly loss to Brazil.

However, Dalic told a specially arranged news conference that Kalinic would depart Croatia's team base in Roschino but due to recurring back spasms, as opposed to any disciplinary issue.

However, he was overlooked in favour of Hoffenheim striker Andrej Kramaric and Juventus' Mario Mandzukic against Nigeria.

The incident caps a disappointing year for Kalinic.

Reports have suggested the former Blackburn Rovers player may be sold by his parent club Fiorentina, with several Turkish clubs interested.

World Cup nations are only allowed to replace players in their squads until 24 hours before the start of the tournament, and only then in the event of injury.



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