Croatia's Nikola Kalinic declines World Cup medal after being sent home early

Croatia’s Nikola Kalinic refuses World Cup runners-up medal after sudden axe

Nikola Kalinic has not accepted his silver medal after Croatia finished as runners-up at this summer's World Cup, according to Croatian media.

Croatia coach Zlatko Dalic sent the AC Milan forward home when, warming up to be a second-half substitute, he told him he was not able to play because of a back problem.

Dalic made a decision to send him home following the Nigeria victory, claiming that he needed players who were "fit and ready to play".

Kalinic had also missed out Croatia's pre-tournament warm-up match against Brazil and was forced to sit out of training with back spasms. But it clearly didn't go down very well with the coaching staff and prompted Zlatko Dalic to send him home from Russian Federation.

However, the 30-year-old believes he is not entitled to share in the country's achievement, turning down the offer from his team-mates.

Croatia’s Nikola Kalinic refuses World Cup runners-up medal after sudden axe
Croatia’s Nikola Kalinic in AC Milan colours

The Croatians shocked the world as they progressed to the World Cup final - beating England en route in the semi-finals - where they eventually lost out to fellow Europeans France 4-2.

Kalinic, who was sent back home after Croatia's opening match, said that he can not accept the runners-up medal because he played no part in his country's road to the final in Russian Federation.

After being ousted from Croatia's World Cup squad, Kalinic took some time off before returning to training with Milan, but may not play for the Rossoneri in the upcoming season following his €25 million transfer.

Kalinic, meanwhile, has been strongly linked with making a switch to Atletico Madrid to add extra competition for Antoine Griezmann and Diego Costa after Fernando Torres departed for Japan.

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