Wednesday 20 September 2023, 08:45

FIFA President talks football with Croatian counterpart Zoran Milanovic

  • Gianni Infantino meets Croatia’s Head of State in New York

  • Balkan country’s sustained success on the pitch among topics discussed

  • FIFA Forward funds have contributed to nation’s grassroots football development

FIFA President Gianni Infantino has met the President of Croatia, Zoran Milanovic, with the Balkan nation’s sustained exceptional football development one of the topics on the agenda. Croatia reached the FIFA World Cup 2018™ final and saw key midfielder Luka Modric named The Best FIFA Men’s Player that year, before following up with a third-place finish at the following edition in Qatar in 2022.

Compared to the size of their population at just over four million, Croatia have consistently over-achieved on the pitch, and earned the respect and admiration of everyone in the game as the FIFA President told President Milanovic. “I congratulated him for the contribution Croatia has made to our beautiful sport in recent years,” said Mr Infantino, who is in New York during the United Nations’ General Assembly week. “Some of the memories their players have given us, especially over the course of the last two FIFA World Cups, will live with every football fan for a long time.” The development of grassroots football is strong in Croatia with generation after generation of top-quality players emerging to keep the conveyor belt of success at international level running smoothly.

FIFA has supported that with some of the FIFA Forward funds received by the Croatian Football Federation (HNS) invested in the Vlatko Markovic Tournament, the renowned annual competition for U-15 men’s national teams. “The Croatian Football Federation is a great example of how a member association can punch above its weight in world football, and give young talent an opportunity to shine and flourish,” explained the FIFA President. “We at FIFA, through the FIFA Forward programme, are very proud to have played our part in supporting this process.”