Marko Pjaca is set to make his return to the Croatian national team after more than five years. The Rijeka winger last played for the “Vatrene” on November 15, 2018, in a home victory (3-2) against Spain in the last minute of the match. Three days later, he watched Croatia’s defeat in England from the bench and since then he has not been in the national team.
If Pjaca plays on Saturday in Latvia, his great return to the Croatian national football team will take place after exactly 1829 days, or about six years and two months. Few footballers have returned to the national team after such a long break.
One former “fire” holds the absolute record in this story: Mario Galinović made only two appearances on our chosen show and an incredible eight years, four months and three days passed between them.
Today’s goalkeeper coach at Cardiff City made his debut for the national team on June 13, 1999, in a friendly match against Egypt (2-2) in South Korea. He waited exactly 100 months and three days (or a total of 3047 days) for his second appearance for the “Vatrene,” defending for Croatia against Slovakia at Kantrida in Rijeka. That match was scheduled for October 16, 2007, and Galinović replaced Vedran Runja during half-time. In his debut, he was introduced as a goalkeeper of Osijek and later moved to Kamen Ingrad before registering as a goalkeeper of Panathinaikos for his second and last appearance with “Vatrene.” Against Egypt, he was led by Ciro Blažević while his “boss” against Slovakia was Slaven Bilić.