The 2020 European Cup will mark the transition of the golden generation of Croatian football. Head coach Zlatko Dalic received strong support from the Football Association after the spectacular parade for the 2018 World Cup finals. In that game, Dalic played the strongest side of the team and drew their advantages. When the national team was struggling to find an effective system where all the stars could play at the same time, he took over the national team. Dalic followed the clichés and first created a team that was hard to beat. Returning to the more rigid 4-3-3 system, Croatia has established an experienced backbone. Veterans Lovren and Vader served as central defenders, and midfielders Brozovic, Modric and Rakitic wrote for the first time.
It turns out that this system is an inspiring choice for a team that has carried out one of the greatest outsider stories in the history of international competitions. However, Dalic’s task before the 2020 European Cup may be even more arduous. New expectations and pressures combine the new generation with experience. There is one person who reflects this dismissal better than anyone else. He is the best young player in the Croatian national team and is responsible for succeeding Ivan Rakitic in this enviable role. That person is Nikolai Vlasic.
Vlasic has been physically ahead of his age since he was young, so much so that he is thought to be ready to make his debut for Hayduksplit when he was only 16 years old-16 years and 9 months to be precise. And Vlasic scored an away goal in the European Cup Dundalk qualifier. This stimulated the young Vlasic’s career. For the next three years, he was an important member of the Hayduk Athletic team, which created trouble for the dominant Dinamo Zagreb team, but also participated in European competitions.
Vlasic even had a chance to become the captain of the team. After the 2016 European Cup, Lovel Kalinic got extra time off. The confidence in this young offensive midfielder in the early stages of his career was largely due to his playing style at the time. Playing a deeper role, he has a unique ability to transition from depth to the last third with relative ease. Vlasic will take the responsibility to take the ball deep into his own half and then pass the ball forward, bypassing the rest of the midfield or a skill related to the Croatian midfielder in the past decade-dribbling.
Modric and Kovacic are two obvious examples. The midfielder’s ability to attract pressure from opponents through the passing of a defender before fully opening the space has become a major advantage of modern football. Vlasic has mastered this skill for a long time. Like his teammates, he has the ability and confidence to stand up, even in his third game. The technical ability demonstrated while playing for Hajduk Split is combined with excellent natural preparation. However, Vlasic had no excuses to say that he was in poor health. His father Joshko is a decathlon athlete, and his sister Blanca is a famous high jumper.
After being impressed in the Croatian Serie A, Vlasic embarked on a journey of dreams. The transfer to Everton in the Premier League included a compensation of 9 million pounds. A year later, Vlasic played the last game for the club in Merseyside and was loaned to CSKA Moscow, which will become a permanent transfer. There are many reasons for its failure. There is no doubt among Everton fans that his performance is not outstanding, but there are also factors beyond his control that caused him to leave prematurely.
Flasic arrived in a chaotic summer, and Ronald Koeman was Everton’s coach. The Dutch coach has overloaded the position of the offensive midfielder to the point where someone has to sacrifice. Wayne Rooney returned for free, playing deeper behind the forward. After Gilfi Sigurdsson’s successful performance in Swansea, he signed a contract with a huge compensation of £44 million. The tried-and-tested talented forward Davy Klassen is also from Ajax and is worth a lot of money.
The result is predictable, Vlasic has very little time. While Everton was looking for status, Koeman was looking for proven experience in the Premier League. As the young Croatian football player struggles to adapt to the speed of the game in the Premier League, the coach is more likely to ignore him.
In the Europa League on Thursday night, Vlasic showed what a great player he is. Every time a potential milestone occurred, he would withdraw from the team in the following week and start over. Wearing an Everton jersey, he performed well against the Cyprus champion Apollo from Limassol. The impressive depth of penetration, good ball control and solid goals left a deep impression on Everton fans. First Time Finish wrote that the fact that they did not beat their opponents with ten players in the end should be a warning.
Koman was eventually replaced by Marco Silva, and some unsuccessful newcomers were loaned out or left the club permanently: Sandro Ramirez, Henry Onekulu, David Klassen and Nicolas Fal Rasic.
Nikola Vlasic has enjoyed a three-season revival in Russia. He looks more and more like a player because he should be like this in the Hajduk era.
After proving that he performed well during the 2018/2019 season on loan, Vlasic has done enough to receive a transfer compensation of 14 million pounds. So far in the 2018/2019 season, she is the most important person in the young Croat’s career. Scored 5 goals and 5 assists in 25 league games, which means that Vlasic has shown serious stability for the first time in the entire season. Despite his outstanding performance in the league, Vlasic actually proved in the Champions League that he has a first-class level of football.
In order to break through the Champions League group, CSKA was finally at the bottom, lagging behind the much more famous Pilsner team. However, his three goals and two assists in the first six games of the Champions League left a deep impression on CSKA fans. Now they have no doubt that they are getting a player who will soon prove that he is above the Russian Premier League.