Zagreb to London: the well-trodden path

For a country with a population of a little over four million, it would be fair to say that Croatia has long punched above its weight in the international football scene.

They put paid to England’s (and Steve McClaren’s) European Championship hopes a decade ago, and ten years before that sealed an incredible third placed finish at the World Cup in France – which is arguably even more impressive than beating the mighty Three Lions.

Behind this success is a penchant for producing some of the brightest and most technically competent players in the world, many of whom – Real Madrid metronome Luka Modric and Barca’s Ivan Rakitic immediately spring to mind – are currently lighting it up at the very highest level.

For all its riches, the Premier League, on the other hand, is suffering from a chronic shortage of Croatians, with Liverpool’s Dejan Lovren the only one currently playing in England’s top flight.

Since the Premier League was formed in 1992, however, there have been some 22 – and we’ve ranked all of them from worst to best.

Remarkably, both of our top two picks spent the bulk of their time on these shores under the tutelage of Harry Redknapp, which just goes to show: great players really can play anywhere.

The smart money on the next Croat to take the Premier League by storm would go on Inter Milan’s Ivan Perisic, who is perennially linked with a move to the top flight of English football.

 

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