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Dublin: 15 °C Thursday 13 August, 2020

'Like it or not, I am the second best coach in the world' - Croatia boss Dalic

After leading Croatia to the final of Russia 2018, Zlatko Dalic says he is the second best coach in the world.

Croatia coach Zlatko Dalic.
Croatia coach Zlatko Dalic.

CROATIA’S ZLATKO DALIC says he is the second best coach in the world and is worth more than $5million per year.

Dalic led Croatia to the final of the World Cup, where they were beaten 4-2 by France last Sunday.

The coach previously oversaw a successful play-off against Greece to reach Russia 2018 amid a period of turmoil at the Croatian football federation.

With Dalic’s stock now high, he has been linked with national teams including Japan and Egypt, having touted himself for a Premier League job.

But Dalic says a big pay packet will not be his main motivation despite speculation he could be offered a huge sum to leave Croatia.

“Like it or not, I am the second best coach in the world,” Dalic said.

FBL-WC-2018-MATCH64-FRA-CRO Source: AFP/Getty Images

“And this figure of $5million per year for the second [best] coach in the world is too small.

“Look, money is important to everyone, but for me, it’s not my number one motive.

“I have two years left on my contract and I can stay with the team for that long. But I said that after the tour of United States [in March] that I made the decision to go.

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“I cannot stand people who kicked the ball twice in their lifetime and decide about my position on the Croatian bench. I’m independent and unburdened, but I cannot let anyone play with me and have someone try to dismiss me in two months.”

Having gone to extra-time three on three occasions - including penalties twice – in the knockout rounds of the World Cup, Croatia ran out of steam against France in the final.

But their defeat hinged on a controversial moment in the first half when Antoine Griezmann restored Les Bleus’ lead by converting a penalty given for an Ivan Perisic handball following a VAR review.

“I am sad, and I will be sad for the rest of my life,” Dalic added. ”It remains a grievance because Croatia are not world champions, and we should have been the winners because of our quality, the quality of our game.

“But God did not want us to win it. We did not lose to a better team, France just had more luck.”

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