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Learn about the best Croatian soccer players

Croatia typically isn’t at the top of your list when you think of the world’s best football players. However, many talented players have emerged on the international stage, making their mark in prestigious tournaments like the FIFA World Cup 2022 in Qatar. In the quarter-finals, they displayed a solid performance against Brazil, holding them to a goalless draw in regular time. In football, they say you have to seize every opportunity. Though they rarely challenged the Brazilian goalkeeper, they scored the lone goal of the match in the dying minutes of extra time to force a penalty shootout. They excelled in penalty execution, converting four out of two attempts compared to Brazil’s two. Now, they’ve advanced to the semi-finals, where they’ll face Argentina. Join bestsoccertips to discover the top 10 best croatian soccer players of all time and why they deserve respect in the world of sports.

Top 10 best Croatian soccer players of all time

1. Luka Modric

Luka Modric, a name that cannot be overlooked when discussing football, especially the Croatian national team. Modric is not only an excellent midfielder but also the captain of the team, contributing significantly to the team’s success.

Born in 1985, Modric has had an impressive football career. From starting at Dinamo Zagreb and moving through various clubs until joining Real Madrid, he has always shone wherever he went. Modric’s technical ability and tactical acumen have been evident throughout the seasons he has played, not only at the club level but also internationally.

Best croatian soccer players: Luka Modric
Best croatian soccer players: Luka Modric

With Croatia, Modric has participated in every major tournament, from the World Cup to the Euro. The peak of his international career was when he won the Ballon d’Or at the 2018 World Cup, not only for his individual ability but also for his leadership role and significant influence on the team. Modric has made history for Croatian football and honored not only himself but also his country.

Despite being 35 years old, Modric still maintains a high level of performance and is an indispensable part of Croatia’s lineup. While the 2022 World Cup might be his last World Cup in his career, Modric’s legacy and influence in the football world will last forever.

2. Zvonimir Boban

This former footballer has become a legend in the football world, as a highly skilled midfielder with undeniable attacking prowess. Boban attracted worldwide attention with his energetic style of play and a dazzling reputation. After a long and successful career, he decided to retire from the field in 2001, leaving behind an admirable legacy for future generations.

Best croatian football players: Zvonimir Boban
Best croatian football players: Zvonimir Boban

During his time as a footballer, he spent 6 seasons at Dinamo Zagreb before moving to Milan in 1991, where he would spend 10 years and conclude his playing career. Along with 178 appearances for Milan, he also made 49 international appearances from 1992 to 1999.

3. Robert Prosinecki

Robert, now 52 years old, is a leading figure in the global football scene. After retiring in 2005, he became an assistant coach for the Croatian national team and the head coach of Red Star Belgrade in 2010. Known as a tough manager and a ruthless footballer, he is most famous for his decision to play for both Real Madrid and FC Barcelona, long-standing rivals in the Spanish La Liga.

Croatia best football players: Robert Prosinecki
Croatia best football players: Robert Prosinecki

Robert played for many clubs in his playing career, showing a preference for playing time and new experiences rather than maintaining ‘loyalty’ to one club throughout his career. Starting at Dinamo Zagreb in 1986, he also played for Red Star, Real Madrid, Barcelona, Sevilla, Croatia Zagreb, Standard Liege, Portsmouth, Olimpija Ljubljana, NK Zagreb, and Savski Marof.

4. Davor Suker

Davor Suker is one of the renowned former football players, who has been serving as the president of the Croatian Football Federation since 2012. Born and raised in his hometown of Osijek, Suker gained fame from a young age, debuting at just 16 years old. His excellence was demonstrated through 19 appearances for Osijek’s youth team.

Best croatian soccer players of all time: Davor Suker
Best croatian soccer players of all time: Davor Suker

Following his early days at Osijek, Suker moved to Dinamo and then to Sevilla. However, it was upon his arrival at Sevilla that he truly rose to prominence, spending the most time and playing the most matches of his career, with a total of 153 appearances on the field.

5. Ivan Rakitic

Ivan Rakitic is one of the standout footballers from Croatia, currently shining as an attacking midfielder for Sevilla in the prestigious La Liga, Spain. Starting his career at a high level with FC Basel in 2005, he quickly caught the attention of the international football community upon joining Sevilla in 2011.

Best croatian soccer players: Ivan Rakitic
Best croatian soccer players: Ivan Rakitic

At Sevilla, Rakitic played 117 matches and scored 27 goals during this period, showcasing his influence and talent within the team. This earned him a contract with FC Barcelona after 3 years, taking him to one of the top clubs in the world. At Barcelona, Rakitic continued to display quality with 200 appearances over 6 seasons, contributing to the success of the Catalan club.

6. Darijo Srna

Darijo is a professional footballer, now 39 years old and still playing for Shakhtar Donetsk in Ukraine. He began his career at Hajduk Split in 1999 before moving to Shakhtar in 2003 – a move that solidified his status as a key player for the club, amassing 339 appearances over 15 seasons.

Best croatian football players: Darijo Srna
Best croatian football players: Darijo Srna

For the Croatian national team, he made his debut in 2002 and continued to play internationally until retiring in 2016. He is the second most capped player in the country’s history, participating in two FIFA World Cups and four UEFA Euro tournaments.

7. Mario Mandzukic

Mario Mandzukic, a 35-year-old footballer, concluded his career journey with AC Milan in the 2021 season. He is known for his dynamism and excellent defensive abilities, featuring in the squads of many clubs since stepping onto the professional field in 2004 with Marsonia.

Croatia best football players: Mario Mandzukic
Croatia best football players: Mario Mandzukic

Throughout his playing career, Mandzukic has worn the jerseys of several prestigious clubs, including NK Zagreb, Dinamo Zagreb, VFL Wolfsburg, Bayern Munich, Atletico Madrid, Juventus, and Al-Duhail. This demonstrates his versatility and stability in his career, along with his ability to adapt to the environment and playing style of each club.

8. Ivan Perisic

Ivan Perisic is currently a part of Inter Milan in Serie A and is an integral member of the Croatian national team, often utilized as an attacking midfielder or second striker. He began his career at Sochaux but spent much of his youth on loan at Roeselare.

Best croatian soccer players of all time: Ivan Perisic
Best croatian soccer players of all time: Ivan Perisic

During the 2009-2011 period at Club Brugge, Perisic made his mark with 70 appearances, building a reputation in the football world. However, his greatest period came at Inter Milan, where he has played 173 matches since 2015. It was during this time that Perisic showcased his versatility and quality, contributing to the success of the Milanese club.

9. Niko Kovac

Niko Kovac, currently the head coach of AS Monaco in Ligue 1, has built an impressive playing career for both club and country. He began his senior career at Hertha Zehlendorf but made a significant breakthrough when he moved to Hertha BSC in 1992.

Best croatian soccer players: Niko Kovac
Best croatian soccer players: Niko Kovac

At Hertha BSC, Kovac made an impact with 138 appearances before being transferred to Bayer Leverkusen, where he continued to develop. He then moved to other German clubs such as Hamburger SV, Bayern Munich, and also returned to Hertha BSC before ending his career at Red Bull Salzburg. This demonstrates Kovac’s stability and quality throughout his playing career.

10. Dominik Livakovic

Born on January 9, 1995, Dominik plays as a goalkeeper for Dinamo Zagreb, one of the top clubs in Europe, and the Croatian national team. He made his international debut when Croatia faced Chile in the 2017 China Cup, where Croatia lost on penalties. He was part of the FIFA World Cup 2018 squad as a backup goalkeeper but became the first choice in 2020 during the qualifiers.

He was present in goal when his team held Morocco to a goalless draw in the FIFA World Cup 2022. He faced Japan in a tense draw in the upcoming direct qualifiers, making three penalty saves in the same match to help Croatia advance to the quarterfinals.

Best croatian football players: Dominik Livakovic
Best croatian football players: Dominik Livakovic

Dominik Livakovic of Croatia is the third goalkeeper to make three saves in a penalty shootout at the World Cup after Ricardo of Portugal in 2006 against England and Danijel Subasic of Croatia in the 2018 match against Denmark. His three saves took Croatia to the quarterfinals of the tournament. They then played a challenging match against Brazil, where Dominik helped defeat Brazil 4-2 in the shootout to advance to the semifinals.


The top 10 Croatian soccer players represent the pinnacle of talent and achievement in the football world. From Luka Modric’s graceful control of the midfield to Davor Suker’s clinical finishing, each player has made an indelible mark on the sport. Their skill, determination, and leadership have not only brought success to their clubs and country but have also inspired countless fans around the globe. As icons of Croatian football, their legacy will endure for generations, serving as a source of pride and inspiration for future players aspiring to reach similar heights.

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