Croatia’s striker Kalinic rejects World Cup medal after being sent home

Nikola Kalinic has admitted he does not deserve his World Cup runners-up medal, having been sent home from the tournament after Croatia’s opening game.

The Milan striker refused to come on as a substitute in Croatia’s 2-0 win over Nigeria, citing fitness issues, but was then kicked out of the squad by head coach Zlatko Dalic.

Kalinic had also missed out on the pre-tournament warm-up game with Brazil and was forced to sit out training due to back spasms. Dalic decided to send him home following the Nigeria victory, claiming that he needed players who were “fit and ready to play.”

Despite not playing even a minute of football at the World Cup, Kalinic’s international team-mates and coaching staff decided to award Kalinic with a silver medal following the World Cup final defeat to France.

However, the 30-year-old believes he is not entitled to share in the country’s achievement, turning down the offer from his team-mates.

“Thanks for the medals, but I did not play in Russia,” Kalinic told Sportske Novosti.

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