Croatia’s Dejan Lovren believes he has proved himself to be one the best defenders in the world after reaching both the Champions League and World Cup finals this year
The Liverpool centre-back provided a solid defence display for Croatia on Wednesday as they overcame England with a 2-1 win in the semi-finals of the World Cup to book their place in the final with France on Sunday’s game at Moscow.
Lovren was criticised for his performance in Liverpool’s Champions League final defeat to Real Madrid in May, but he proved himself on world football’s biggest stage by winning seven clearances and dominating aerially when called upon to help secure Croatia their first ever World Cup final.
“It’s something, for me, special. From my point of view I had people saying I had a difficult season but I don’t agree with that,” said the 29-year-old, according to the Liverpool Echo.
“I took Liverpool to the final of the Champions League and now with my national team we are in the final.
“I think people should recognise that I am also one of the best defenders in the world and not just talk nonsense.”
He added: “This is something we will never forget. People are crying. It’s something historical for us. We will never forget this. We beat our record from 20 years ago. We’ve had this weight on our shoulders all the time, and now people will never forget us.
“We have the chance to do something better, and hopefully, we can do it on Sunday.
“It was tough first-half. We couldn’t control the ball or control situations. They had also good chances, but second half we did it much, much better.
“In extra-time, we showed we are still able with the fatigue to play our game.’
As for team-mate Luka Modric, he said: “He is, not one of, the best midfield player in the world. He deserves, if we win this World Cup, the Ballon d’Or.”