Published On: Fri, Aug 19th, 2016

Srna announces retirement from Croatia duty in moving letter

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Croatia captain Darijo Srna bid farewell to the national team Monday, writing a passionate and proud open letter to his countrymen after playing through the death of his father at Euro 2016 and amassing a record 134 caps for the Vatreni.

The statement appeared on the Croatian Football Association’s website.

Part of it read:

In France, listening to Croatian anthem for the last time as a grown man, a parent, a captain – who remembers listening it for the first time as a boy – it feels the same. Absolutely nothing has changed. Throughout my playing career, from GOSK Gabela, Neretva, Hajduk, and Shakhtar, to leave for international duty was my passion and pride. The last time was difficult since I was aware that it could be the last time … and because of my father. I owe everything to him.

The 34-year-old called it the “greatest and saddest day” of his life as he recounted the honour of representing his nation.

Srna’s last game with Croatia was a Round of 16 loss to Portugal in extra time. A Ricardo Quaresma goal in the 117th minute ended Croatia’s run in France.

The experienced right-back managed to cope with the pain of losing his father at the beginning of the tournament. He departed Croatia’s camp following an opening Group D win over Turkey to attend Uzeir Srna’s funeral in his hometown of Metkovic, and returned only days later to line up against the Czech Republic.

Srna had tears in his eyes as he listened to the national anthem with his teammates by his side.

The statement continued:

I leave the national team with pride, knowing I gave all that I could. Everything. If you ask me what would I rather be – a triple world champion with any other national team or what I am now with Croatia – I do not have to answer. Playing for Croatia was dreaming awake.

Srna, who played in six major tournaments for Croatia, made his first appearance in the checkered jersey against Romania in November 2002. He’s one of only five Croatians to feature internationally more than 100 times.

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