Nikola Kalinic has been sent home from the World Cup by Croatia’s head coach due to the player’s complaints of ongoing injury problems.
Zlatko Dalic said he took the decision after Croatia’s 2-0 victory over Nigeria in their opening Group D fixture because he needs his players “fit and ready to play”.
He had planned to bring Kalinic, who played for AC Milan on loan from Fiorentina last season, on as a substitute in that game but the player declined.
Dalic said: “During the Nigeria encounter, Kalinic was warming up and was supposed to come on in the second half. However, he then stated that he wasn’t ready to come on due to a back issue.
“The same thing happened during the Brazil friendly in England, as well as before the practice session on Sunday.
“I have calmly accepted that, and since I need my players fit and ready to play, I have made this decision.”
Kalinic was a target for Everton last summer but preferred to stay in Serie A, according to Sky sources.