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Would Pulisic Crack Croatia’s First XI?

October 11, 2017




19 year-old Borussia Dortmund midfielder Christian Pulisic was the United States’ lone glimmer of hope during a disastrous World Cup qualifying campaign which will see the Americans miss out on their first WC since 1986. Pulisic nearly scored or assisted on every American goal down the stretch and added energy to a team that looked lost on the field for the majority of the campaign.



The U.S.A lost to Costa Rica twice, drew Honduras and Panama on the road and lost 2-1 last night to Trinidad & Tobago.



And during U.S.A’s run of games in 2017, every American friend of mine would send me texts when the United States played.



“Croatia could use a kid like Pulisic!”



“Croatia is dumb for not taking Pulisic. He’s scoring at will for U.S.A!”



Pulisic’s grandfather, Mate, was born in Croatia on the island of Olib; off of Zadar. Pulisic applied for Croatian citizenship after moving to Germany in order to avoid having to apply for a German work visa (to stay inside the EU) and was offered to play for Croatia, but declined to do so.



Sure, the kid is tearing it up in CONCACAF and has met all expectations in his young Borussia Dortmund career, but would he crack the Croatian team?



The answer is no.



Croatia would have to play Pulisic on the wing, opposite Ivan Perišić, in a role which Juventus winger Marko Pjaca will lock down when he returns from injury. The last time we saw Pjaca in full force in checkers was against Spain at Euro 2016.



So where would Pulisic rank amongst Croatian midfielders today?




Ante Kvartuč
Posted By: Ante Kvartuč 61 comments

  1. Ante says:

    My parents put the “h” at the end of our last name when arriving to Canada in the 70’s. I’ve lived through this my whole life….have my parents failed me?

  2. Iggy Iggy says:

    hahaha Cigan is gonna love this article, after the last thread he said:

    CiganJeCigan says:

    if i hear one more fucking comment about this pusildick kid ima kms. The website is called “CroatianSports” not whine about a non-croat not choosing to play for Croatia

  3. The truth says:

    Ante, it’s like each article you try to embarrass yourself more

    The biggest joke is even you say pjaca would start over him

    Of course pulisic would start for Croatia. He might be the second best player on the team already. His advanced stats are already neat the top of the league. Let alone for a 19 year old

  4. Croatianperson85 says:

    @ everyone – what % of stupidly vs validity (based on truth’s Casablanca models) are in zhe’s comments above ?

    1) the biggest joke is even you say Pjaca would start over him
    2) of course Pulisic would start for Croatia
    3) he might be the second best player on the team already.

    Truth I don’t know if this is sarcasm or BS but you’re either a genius or f*#ng crazy

  5. Lovro says:

    Problem with USA soccer is that it is a “pay for play” system.

    The rich kids whose parents can afford travel soccer are the ones that get any training – but with different coaches and systems throughout – never anything consistent.

    Rich kids don’t win World Cups.

    The poor kids playing on the streets who have the real talent never gets a chance to develop it. Can’t afford the costs of college or travel soccer. They go unnoticed.

    No system in place to take them off the street and into an academy.

    Most other countries have an organized grassroots system where talented players are given both an education and an organized academy to achieve success.

    Russia must be happy – no Ukraine or USA

  6. Lovro says:

    Truth sounding more like Ziva.

    Sounds like a new version of his Donovan is better than Rakitic bullshit from the past, doesn’t it?

  7. Ante Kvartuč Ante Kvartuč says:

    @ truth,

    You’re tripping. I know you’re trolling. But please.

    You cannot compare CONCACAF to UEFA play.

  8. Iggy Iggy says:

    Very good and interesting comments about the pay to play above from Lovro. I mean imagine if poor kids couldn’t develop in places like Brazil, i guess they would be completely hopeless.

  9. Iggy Iggy says:

    You know, i would really like an article on this League of Nations business, i hadn’t even heard of it until some dude posted it in the last thread, and it begins only a couple of months after next year’s WC? Sounds great.

    What’s the catch, why is it happening, etc? Are teams going to take it properly or send B-teams? And won’t it – as someone else stated – reduce the prestige of the Euro Cup in 2020? I’m curious about all these things, i must’ve been out of the loop cos it seems like a major thing, assuming A-teams play.

    The format seems like Davis Cup to me – in fact they kinda copied that with the divisions and then you go down or up and play off to remain in group a (or world group in davis cup) etc. I just hope unless Davis Cup it gets actual stars playing. That’s a suggestion for an article anyway, Ante, maybe exploring that?

  10. Maminjo says:

    This Nations League idea seems pretty cool, but I’m biased as I am a Croat who is used to Croatia playing teams like Estonia, Northern Ireland, and San Marino with their friendlies…or playing their C Team in ‘tournaments’ with China and North Korea.

    It will be nice to see a random game here and there against a Germany or a Spain.

    Although I do think it will take away from the greatness of the Euro tournaments where you are lucky to face an elite team like Germany or Spain once every four years. Instead we’ll probably be playing four games against this caliber of team in the next few months.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Pulisic would for sure be playing for Croatia right now.
    I watch the Bundesliga on beIN sports and I’ve seen him play a few times and whenever I’ve watched him play I said to myself, “how good it would’ve been if he chose to play for Croatia.” Croatians in America are American first though and Croatian second in my opinion, in Australia it’s different.

    Anyway, Aljosa Asanovic will be coaching the Melbourne Knights (formerly Melbourne Croatia), for sure if he spots any talent he’ll let the HNS know, and with Croatian Australians we know they’ll make the right choice given the opportunity.
    Might find the next Joe Simunic!

    Most of us, like Iggy, couldn’t give a rat’s arse about the Aussie team.
    Go Honduras!

  12. Perugia says:

    “This Nations League idea seems pretty cool, but I’m biased as I am a Croat who is used to Croatia playing teams like Estonia, Northern Ireland, and San Marino with their friendlies…or playing their C Team in ‘tournaments’ with China and North Korea.”

    Could be one of the reasons they’ve come up with this idea, wasn’t their some issue with certain teams playing weaker opposition in their friendlies to maintain their ranking?

  13. Maminjo says:

    The only thing I really hate about the Nations League is that it guarantees a spot in the Euro2020 for one team from each of the Leagues who didn’t qualify via the qualification cycle.

    This means that one spot is reserved for a League A, League B, League C and League D team.

    The League D teams are terrible, but one will get to go to the Euros.

  14. Lovro says:

    Doesn’t the nations league take away international dates for Euro 2020 qualifying?

    More down time for club competition across Europe?

    If not for the fact that FIFA is now using the rankings to seed teams for playoffs, World Cup, qualifyin stages, etc, this would quickly turn into a u-21 tournament.

  15. Poglavnik says:

    I don’t even like Pulisic but I would give him a look on the right side. Brozovic, Kramaric, Mandzukic, or even Rakitic’s spots wouldn’t be secure.
    And when talking about National Teams Donovan is greater than Rakitic. Beautiful pass Raketa but please prove me wrong a little more.

  16. CiganJeCigan says:

    We had Pivaric come off the bench last game so, pusilic would at least be first off the bench at this present moment.

    but srsly why are we still talking about this “what if” situation that is not even likely to happen in an alternate reality.

  17. LAknat says:

    you talk too much about Pulisic, please don’t overlook about the presence of our God Halilovic? it’s Cacic fault to sacrifice a God like Halilovic and choosing merely local league players. Another God level like Simunovic which even greater than our current CB, whyCacic didn’t secure him by named him in a friendly match vs Estonia? Cacix really so Idiot. his legacy only ruins the truly talented players.

  18. Canuckcro says:

    Pele had 77 goals in 90 international’s and 3 world cups.Pulisic has a long way to go ..but, if he had played for croatia.. who knows? he might have added some magic and big stats ..instead he chose an old washed up and has been team.

  19. BZ says:

    @lovro-no they are just filling every slot left open for friendlies. Euro qualifying will just start later.

    @iggy-doing it every two years. even numbered years with the playoff in following odd year.

  20. Soul Champ says:

    I pray Pjaca comes back fully from his knee surgery.

    Thanks Šuker for that at Estonia “friendly.”

    I get Pulisic has chosen USMNT over Ljepa Naša.

    But solely based on Dortmund performances he is second only to Modrić.

    His pace and precision in the final third is exactly what we are missing.

    From age 16-18 he received the unparalleled Borussia Dortmund training and development that is free from any base Balkan exploitation agenda.

    Integrity – Trust – Authenticity

    These are anti-Balkan sentiments.

    Once we have these core values in our HNS then we will WIN a World Cup.

    Germany did it in 2000.

    Belgium followed.

    Croatia has just as much talent.

    Also you will attract the best of the diaspora as well.

  21. Tibor says:

    I wish the USA made it. It would have been great to see the Russian Hooligans beat the shit out of the fat American tourists.
    It would have been epic.

  22. Tibor says:

    Most US soccer fans are homosex people anyway. Those US soccer fans are hillary voters. It would have been great to see them beaten.

  23. Brkic says:

    As of March 2017, here’s a handful of NT transfer value totals (in GBP):

    43.44 Iceland
    58.57 USA
    91.22 Turkey
    93.36 Mexico
    128.96 BiH
    217.33 Croatia
    331.93 Germany
    333.7 Belgium
    437.06 Argentina

  24. Brkic says:

    The data is a bit old, but it gives an unbiased sense of player/team quality during the heart of the WC qualification campaign.

  25. Crotown says:

    Bring in the Cro-American kid and see if he can go with the Cro-boys. If he can’t , he can offer up English classes- that’s Croatian ingenuity-make a job out of nothing,

  26. Maminjo says:

    We were pretty much left for dead, and beat a pretty solid Ukraine side on the road in a must-win game.

    Winning one away game in Ukraine, is much more difficult than getting a positive aggregate score in a two-game home & away matchup against an equal or lesser opponent (especially with morale being so low and a brand new and unknown coach prior to the Ukraine game).

    I would be celebrating too.

  27. Anonymous says:

    Pulisic is not good enough too be a starter for Croatia yet. He is a big talent no doubt but he is not better than Modric Rakitic Perisic can’t play defensive mid like Badel off the bench a healthy Kovacic and Pjaca have more too offer at this point in their careers. Pulisic could get some playing time off our bench when their are injuries otherwise he would be on the under 21 team.

  28. The truth says:

    The blatant homerism that pulisic wouldn’t start is laughable

    This is why i must always educate. I’ll admit… It’s tough for me sometimes…. But it is the kriz i must bear

    The most laughable comments are about pjaca offering more. Firstly, as mentioned before, pjacas Career has a good chance of being over before it got going

    Secondly, I’m still confused why people think pjaca is good. He has done nothing to prove this. And even his performance at dinamo wasnt all that impressive

  29. Brkic says:

    Too many oxygen thiefs posting on here.. add something useful to the conversation or crawl back into your hole.

    On that subject, here are the top teams (by transfer value) that have failed to qualify so far (in GBP):

    168.6 Wales
    238 Chile
    295.9 Holland

  30. Brkic says:

    On Pulisic, he would definitely be getting minutes for us and probably starting. Our midfield is so packed with talent that I don’t think he would improve the team much today, but he has a lot of upside.

  31. The truth says:

    Our team does not possess attacking midfielders like pulisic. Perisic is the only credible winger. The rest are ball control and rhythm guys. And they’re not even that good at it

  32. Anonymous says:

    The kid starts for Cro 100%
    But he’s American
    Idiotic topic and discussion
    Never heard an Italian complaining about messi not playing for Italy
    if any country should be asking “what if” it’s Turkey

  33. Anonymous says:

    Poor kids in the US don’t play soccer. They pick up a basketball, or football.

    Why? Hate to say it but there are more poor black kids than poor white kids. They choose traditionally black sports because they have success stories to identify with. When’s the last time you heard of a guy named Deshawn coming up from the streets of Compton to go play for the USMNT? I’ll tell you – never.

    Yes, poor hispanic kids play soccer and cannot afford to participate in the pay to play system, but the ones who are any good are all kids of immigrants, and given the opportunity – would probably rather hold out to go play for their home country.

    Plus, does the US want a team full of guys with the last name Hernandez, Chavez, or Garcia? Meh…probably not. At least not me. I don’t want a team of rejects from the Mexican National team.

    Yes, pay to play is a backward system, but we need to start to provide incentive for clubs to develop players in the form of bonuses or kickbacks when those players get signed onto professional contracts.

    Unfortunately, NCAA rules and professional status are massive obstacles. These blanket rules hurt US soccer and is the reason our (or any) professional teams can’t reward youth clubs for developing exceptional talent. College soccer enables late bloomers time to develop and shine (myself included) but essentially is a clog in the pipeline.
    And, if you think it’s not PC to have soccer contracts for kids, try explaining to your millenial son or daughter that she has to wait 5 more years to watch the US play in a WC.

  34. Anonymous says:

    If a kid who was born in Croatia, lives in Croatia, his father was born in Croatia, but his grandfather was born let’s say in Italy, for example., How would we feel if that kid chose to play for Italy over Croatia???. Ask yourself that question ,all you guys who bash this kid for playing for America

  35. Croatianperson85 says:

    @anonymous – good point, agreed. Do you think people are more unhappy with him getting Cro papers and then not playing for Cro? Or was it known in advance he would not play for us prior to him getting his Cro papers? I keep hearing/reading different stories.

  36. Croatianperson85 says:

    @Anonymous – I think you may be right. Maradona had a grandmother (if I am not mistaken) that was full Croat. I think Pulisic (although I could be and I am probably wrong on this one) has a grandfather born in Croatia.

    Did he or did he not make a decision on which national team he would play for prior to getting his Cro papers (unlikely) ? Or did he get his papers and then comit to the US national team ? (I think that’s what happened if I am not mistaken, someone correct me if I am wrong).

    I don’t think any of us should be angry with this kid. I don’t think we should want anyone on the NT who doesn’t want to be there themselves plain and simple.

  37. Hercegovac says:

    This needs to stop. Hrvatska was never considered by Pulisic or his father. Never.

    Dortmund knew he had a Croatian grandfather and reached out to the Croatian federation to get him a passport. That is how all of this started. Pulisic never expressed interest in Croatia.

  38. Josko Coric says:

    I’am from Olib and just love the fact my Dad grew up his Grandfather. The kid is the current stud of US soccer and thou it would be nice to watch him improve the Croatian National team he would make a big mistake if he did. Would you advise him to play for Croatia if you were his Dad? Every time US plays he is kinda of making every Croatian proud. Enjoy it!

  39. Poglavnik says:

    US soccer is garbage. If he wants to be some golden boy for America and play with shitty players then sure but if he wants to be a properly respected footballer he should play for a footballing nation like Hrvatska.
    You enjoy it. As in the World Cup when he’s 28.

  40. Poglavnik says:

    @Josko Coric
    Just curious as to why you say it would be a big mistake?
    Because he wouldn’t maximize his marketability or do u genuinely believe he’d get a better footballing education with the USMNT?

  41. Brkic says:

    I’m sure his lifetime sponsorship opportunity will be significantly higher playing for the US even without WC Russia. He’s also getting a great footballing education with Dortmund where he spends 85%+ of his training/playing time.

    But, he chose USA because he’s an American with Croatian ancestry. It’s not a slight, it’s expected and obvious.

  42. Poglavnik says:

    I don’t care where you’re born, if you’re offered an opportunity to play in a midfield with Modric, Rakitc and Perisic (European stars) vs a midfield of Bradley, Feilhaber, and Nagbe (MLS stars) the choice isn’t that obvious.

  43. Poglavnik says:

    There was nothing British about Owen Hargreaves who grew up in Calgary other than his heritage. He chose to play with real footballers and not Canada.
    American soccer mentality is soft. They’d rather be comfortable like a Jordan Morris than really challenge themselves. That’s why they all play in MLS. Close to home, big paydays for the National Team players, but no development.

  44. TorontoCroatian says:

    Enough with this pulisic nonsense…the kid would not start for us, not even close.

    And as the “star`of the US, that is not saying much.

    I see their `star`bradley week in and week out for TFC…he walks around, has no technical skills (like all us players) but collects a nice pay cheque. Credit to him but he blows.

    Pulisic made a bad choice picking the US…have fun playing with no bodies in games aginst dog s.hit teams like trinada and tobago, honduras, canada, etc…instead of trying to play on a team with world class players and CL winners like Modric, Kova, Rakitic, Mandzo, etc.

    Sorry, I know most of this board is American based and Ante (after that embarrassing post saying Croatian players should not play vs the Ukraine) will be pissed for saying this…but US soccer is a joke. To not qualify from a dog s.hit region like concaf says it all.

    Mi hrvati

    Plavi plavi!

  45. Anonymous says:

    @Lovro, oh yeah Germany is real poor and that’s why they’re so good right? Some of you clowns think poverty is something to brag about.

    How about Iceland? You understand the math right? Them topping a group ahead of Croatia is more impressive than if Croatia topped a group ahead of Germany. I don’t have to explain that math to you do I?

    Iceland is a nation of intelligent/Northern Europeans w/ a common identity who put their collective minds and resources towards their national team and look at the result; it had nothing to do with “hungry poor kids”.

  46. Anonymous says:

    Pulisic was born in Pennsylvania, U.S. and grew up there and is a product of U.S. soccer(yet he plays like a European) and you expect him to play for Croatia? That’s ridiculous.

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