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Croatia call up player who suffered stroke four years ago

Jakov Filipovic almost died four years ago, as he was forced to undergo heart surgery after his illness.

At the age of 20, Jakov Filipovic almost died.
At the age of 20, Jakov Filipovic almost died.

CROATIA HAVE ANNOUNCED their squad for January’s China Cup, and have included a player who suffered a stroke just four years ago.

At the age of 20, Jakov Filipovic almost died, as his stroke led to temporary paralysis of the left-hand side of his body.

Doctors eventually cleared the defender to return to football, after he underwent heart surgery, and he now plays for Inter Zapresic in the Croatian league.

Following 18 league appearances, in which he has scored two goals, Filipovic has been called up to the national team and could win his first cap in the upcoming tournament.

The competition runs from 11 January to 15 January but, as it is not officially recognised by Fifa, clubs have no obligation to release their players.

As such, the majority of Croatian players who ply their trades in top European leagues will not play in the fixtures.

China will host the event, with Chile and Iceland also set to feature. Croatia’s first fixture will come against Chile in Nanning on 11 January.

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