Luka, Mandžo, Charli, Šime, Deki… all those who left a deep mark can claim the right to say enough, to announce themselves. And after that tournament, I realized that I don’t deserve it, I’m not too good anyway, and I’m leaving with my head held high, Milan Badelj (34) told Sportske novosti a few months ago. He quietly left the national team. He was dropped from Zlatko Dalić’s guest list, and while he was playing for the Italian first division team Genoa, where he is still today, his name somehow became forgotten in the national team.
Nevertheless, it seems that the Croatian Football Association has not forgotten about Badelj, who left an impression on the national team as a member of the legendary generation that won silver in Russia. On this occasion, before the qualification match for Euro 2024 in Maksimir, HNS honored Badelj and Josip Pivarić (34), who retired from playing at the end of last season. Marijan Kustić and technical director Stipe Pletikosa presented special jerseys with the numbers 55 and 26, which mark the number of matches that Badelj and Pivarić played for the ‘fire’.