Zlatko Dalić: National team was my dream. I decided to leave in March, but in the end I wasn’t able to do it.

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The situation in the national team was very complex when I arrived. If it would be different, it wouldn’t come to me, said the most successful Croatian coach Zlatko Dalić in Rovinj. ‘A call from my national team is a call I’ve been waiting for my whom life. It was my goal to become a national team, coach. I believed in my players, myself and my work”, Dalić added.

His presence at Weekend Media Festival proved that there is still a strong interest for him. Everyone wanted a photo. Dalić said he doesn’t like posing but is happy to answer fans’ requests. Football is the most important secondary thing in the world, therefore I understand people’s interest for it. For me the most important is that I will remain the same as I was before. I will continue to go for coffees with people I did before, he added. The key for success, which is still being analysed detail by detail, was an individual approach. He got their trust, put his in them and made them dream big.

I didn’t make any decision without them. All the time I have been talking to them and asked for their opinion prior to decision making. I trusted them and requested the same from them. That trust was continuously growing and, in the end, we just clicked. I think it was after the match with Argentina, Dalić added.

He has never been into psychology, he just followed his inner feeling. The experience from Arab countries, where players have all the benefits and it is a challenge to find a way to motivate them, helped him a lot.

That experience helped me to get out the most from each of my players and more importantly – to gain their trust. When they understood that we could become world champions, they became my driving force, he stated. World Cup in Russia will be remembered for so many great achievements, but there is one thing Dalić still regrets.

‘I am not proud nor happy because of the situation with Nikola Kalinić. I think that is my only defeat. That is the only defeat from Russia because I did not manage to make him trust my vision. There comes a time in life and business which requires hard decisions to be made and you cannot avoid it. If it would be continued like that, we wouldn’t achieve this. I want to underline – I am not happy nor proud because of that situation, said Dalić and added he would do the same if it would be for Mandžukić or Modrić.

Together with his family he made a decision to leave the national team already in March, but in the end he changed his mind when he realized how strong is the national ascent after the success on the World Cup.

When I faced all those emotions and positive spirit among the people, I simply did not have any right to do it. I am all the time talking about patriotism and if I would leave in that moment, what would be a message sent to people? Another thing were my players who did a great job and I am sure there is much more yet to come on the European Championship, said Dalić and thanked all the fans and media for their support during the World Cup. He stated that a strong defeat against Spain has not brought them down.