AC Milan striker Nikola Kalinic rejected a World Cup medal after the Croatian international was sent home from the just concluded FIFA World Cup tournament in Russia.
The 30-year-old was sent home from the Croatia squad in Russia for allegedly feigning a back injury when asked to come on during the team’s first game at the tournament.
Without the former Fiorentina and Blackburn Rovers star, Croatia recorded their best World Cup result with a second-place finish.
Croatia were beaten 4-2 by eventual Champions France in their final clash at the Luzhniki Stadium last week Sunday.
Confirming his decision to turn down the runners-up medal, Kalinic told Sportske Novosti: “Thanks for the medal, but I did not play in Russia.”
Croatia manager Zlatko Dalic had earlier explained why the 30-year-old was sent packing after the 2-0 victory over Nigeria.
In his words, 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.” He concluded.
Nikola Kalinic made his debut for Croatia against Moldova in 2008 and has scored 15 goals in 41 appearances for the European nation.