In the latest Croatia news, Ivan Rakitic insists he would gladly sacrifice the rest of his footballing career to win the World Cup on Sunday.
The 30-year-old will line up with his Croatia team-mates in Moscow as they face France in the final, with Les Bleus 10/11 favourites with William Hill to lift the trophy and the Vatreni on offer at 7/2.
The Barcelona man has played a vital role for his side at the Russian showpiece, anchoring the midfield as they beat Denmark, Russia and England in the knockout stages of the tournament.
He is part of a talented midfield for Zlatko Dalic’s side, with Real Madrid’s Luka Modric the main playmaker, and they also breezed through the group stage with a perfect record.
Croatia have yet to win the World Cup and Rakitic has made it clear he would be prepared to go and do something else for the rest of his life with victory this weekend.
“I would definitely leave my football boots behind on Monday if that was the price I had to pay to win for my country, to win for Croatia,” he said.
“You need only to look at the footage from Croatia to see what’s been going on over the past month – the joy felt by the people there; joy, togetherness, unity, pride.”
Modric has been Croatia’s best player throughout the Russia showpiece and could well be named player of the tournament but Rakitic believes the whole squad and the nation are equally as important in the quest for glory.
“I think all of us deserve this,” he went on to say. “It doesn’t just concern the 23 players, coaching staff and backroom staff, but the 4.5 million people back home.”