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Football Manager

19 Jan 2018

Football Manager 2018 Wonderkids: All the best Croatian players to sign

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What is a wonderkid?

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Mateo Kovacic (CA 160 – PA 172)

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Josip Brekalo (CA 124 – PA 140-170)

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Lovro Majer (CA 122 – PA 140-170)

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Marko Rog (CA 140 – PA 163)

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Nikola Vlasic (CA 128 – PA 130-160)

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Filip Benkovic (CA 123 – PA 130-160)

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Ante Coric (CA 119 – PA 130-160)

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Andrija Balic (CA 116 – PA 130-160)

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Antonio Marin (CA 100 – PA 130-160)

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Filip Krovinovic (CA 144 – PA 158)

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More Croatian wonderkids

Croatia are a highly respected footballing nation. Their domestic scene may not be that strong, but in recent times Croatia has produced world class stars such as Luka Modric, Ivan Rakitic, Ivan Perisic and Mario Mandzukic. Will their success continue? RealSport looks at the best players coming through the Croatian ranks on Football Manager 2018. 

What is a wonderkid?

All these wonderkids are aged 23 and under. These stars of the future hold a potential ability (PA) rating of at least 140, meaning they could go on to become some of best player on the planet in the years ahead.

For a full list of all our Croatian wonderkids, visit the table at the bottom of the page.

Mateo Kovacic (CA 160 – PA 172)

Age: 23

Positions: M (C), DM, AM (C)

Club: Real Madrid

Best attributes: 17 first touch, 17 passing, 17 technique

Value: £32.2 million

Wage: £106,000 a week

Mateo Kovacic has had to be patient for his opportunities at Real Madrid. The 23-year-old is the rotation option behind compatriot Luka Modric, Toni Kroos and Casemiro at the Santiago Bernabeu, but now aged 23, he's ready to make his mark. With a La Liga and two Champions Leagues to his name, he already has plenty of experience, and there is no reason he can’t take the step up to the world class bracket.

Kovacic’s very strong 160 current ability (CA) rating can improve to a superb 172 on FM18. His best stats include 17 first touch, 17 passing and 17 technique, but it may take close to £50 million to land him, with wages upwards of £106,000 a week.

Josip Brekalo (CA 124 – PA 140-170)

Age: 18

Positions: M (LR), AM (LR)

Club: Wolfsburg

Best attributes: 17 ambition, 17 flair, 16 agility

Value: £4.2 million

Wage: £25,000 a week

Josip Brekalo won’t be known by many having made just four appearances for Wolfsburg in the Bundesliga and 11 for Stuttgart in the second division in 2016-17. The 18-year-old has played at every age group for Croatia from U14 to U21 level, so you would expect a senior call-up is an inevitability. 

On FM18, the wide midfielder or winger has attributes of 17 ambition, 17 flair and 16 agility. You will need around £8 million to sign him and wages of close to £30,000 a week for his 124 CA, rising to a PA between 140 and 170. 

Lovro Majer (CA 122 – PA 140-170)

Age: 19

Positions: AM (C), M (C)

Club: Lokomotiva

Best attributes: 19 adaptability, 16 technique, 16 ambition

Value: £2.3 million

Wage: £330 a week

If you're looking for a young number 10 to build your team around, then Lovro Majer could be your man. The 19-year-old has ticked all the boxes at native club Lokomotiva, scoring four goals in his first season in professional football. The rise has continued with Majer earning his first cap for Croatia in 2017.

A 122 CA for Majer consists of skills of 19 adaptability, 16 technique and 16 ambition. These will improve as he approaches his potential between 140 and 170, and you will need around £5 million and wages upwards of £1,000 to get hold of him. 

Marko Rog (CA 140 – PA 163)

Age: 21

Positions: M (C), AM (RC)

Club: Napoli

Best attributes: 17 versatility, 17 determination, 17 stamina

Value: £11.4 million

Wage: £41,000 a week

A man with a growing reputation is Napoli’s Marko Rog. Following his switch from Dinamo Zagreb, the central midfielder had a competent first season in Italy, making 19 appearances for the Naples outfit. More opportunities will come in 2017-18, with the youngster now battle-hardened and learning off teammates Marek Hamsik, Jorginho and Piotr Zielinski.

Skills of 17 versatility, 17 determination and 17 stamina give Rog a 140 CA, which can rise to a PA of 163. You will need more than £20 million to sign him, with a wage upwards of £50,000 a week. 

Nikola Vlasic (CA 128 – PA 130-160)

Age: 19

Positions: AM (CRL)

Club: Everton

Best attributes: 17 natural fitness, 16 determination, 15 ambition

Value: £8.5 million

Wage: £25,000 a week

Nikola Vlasic has just arrived on Merseyside, following his £10 million switch from Hajduk Split to Everton. The attacking midfielder only has 25 senior appearances to his name, so it's a risk for the Premier League outfit, but he's another who has progressed through the Croatian youth ranks to full international level.

Vlasic’s 128 CA contains stats of 17 natural fitness, 16 determination and 15 ambition, and those will improve as he closes in on potential between 130 and 160. To sign him, you may need more than £15 million and wages beyond £30,000 a week. 

Filip Benkovic (CA 123 – PA 130-160)

Age: 19

Positions: D (C)

Club: Dinamo Zagreb

Best attributes: 20 adaptability, 18 heading, 17 jumping

Value: £2.4 million

Wage: £1,000 a week

You may not have heard of Filip Benkovic, but aged 19, the centre back already has two full seasons for Dinamo Zagreb under his belt. With 58 appearances already to his name, Benkovic has plenty of experience for a player his age, and his quality has been recognised within the national set-up, working his way up from U17s to U21s. 

20 adaptability, 18 heading and 17 jumping give Benkovic a 123 CA which can improve to a level between 130 and 160. To purchase him you will need just over £5 million with wages upwards of £5,000 a week. 

Ante Coric (CA 119 – PA 130-160)

Age: 20

Positions: AM (C), M (C)

Club: Dinamo Zagreb

Best attributes: 18 flair, 18 technique, 17 dribbling

Value: £3.2 million

Wage: £5,000 a week

Already a full Croatian international, Ante Coric is one of Dinamo Zagreb’s star attacking players. The 20-year-old has been a consistent member of the first team for three seasons, scoring 18 goals, and with Dinamo winning the league every season, he already has a winning mentality.

Coric’s 119 CA can improve to a potential between 130 and 160, so there is room for improvement on his 18 flair, 18 technique and 17 dribbling stats. It will take around £5 million to sign him, with wages of around the £7,000 a week mark. 

Andrija Balic (CA 116 – PA 130-160)

Age: 19

Positions: M (C), DM, AM (C)

Club: Udinese

Best attributes: 15 versatility, 14 creativity, 14 long shots

Value: £1.7 million

Wage: £10,000 a week

Andrija Balic made the switch from Hajduk Split to Udinese at the start of the 2016-17 season, but he was reduced to just four appearances during the campaign. The central midfielder will need more opportunities during his second year in Serie A if he is to maximise his potential. 

Stats of 15 versatility, 14 creativity and 14 long shots aid towards a 116 CA for Balic, and this should rise to a potential between 130 and 160. You could pick him up for as little as £4.5 million with his wages starting at £10,000 a week. 

Antonio Marin (CA 100 – PA 130-160)

Age: 16

Positions: AM (L), AM (R)

Club: Dinamo Zagreb

Best attributes: 18 flair, 15 dribbling, 14 acceleration

Value: £160,000

Wage: £1,000 a week

Looking for an incredibly young star? Antonio Marin could be the one for you. Aged just 16, the youngster has made 27 appearances for Croatia U17s, scoring seven goals from the flanks. A first team breakthrough for Dinamo Zagreb may still be a bit premature, but Marin is certainly one for the future.

On FM, Marin’s 100 CA consists of 18 flair, 15 dribbling and 14 acceleration, and those will rise as he improves to a PA between 130 and 160. Despite his low value, it could still take as much as £5 million to sign Marin, with his wages currently at £1,000 a week. 

Filip Krovinovic (CA 144 – PA 158)

Age: 21

Positions: AM (CR), M (C)

Club: Benfica

Best attributes: 16 balance, 16 teamwork, 16 dribbling

Value: £9.6 million

Wage: £10,000 a week

After impressing with Rio Ave in 2016-17, attacking midfielder Filip Krovinovic has made the big switch to Portuguese giants Benfica. Krovinovic scored five goals and picked up three assists for Rio Ave last season, but the test will now be if he can break into the Benfica side and perform.

Around £15 million will get Krovinovic, with his current wages at £10,000 a week. 16 balance, 16 teamwork and 16 dribbling aid his 144 CA which can improve to a PA of 158. 

More Croatian wonderkids

Player Age Pos Club CA/ PA Value Wage
Michele Sego16ST AM (R)HNK Hajduk II84/ <160£30k£5
Marko Pjaca22M (LR) AM (LRC)Schalke*143/ 156£16m£48k
Mario Pasalic22M (C) DM AM (C)Spartak Moscow*135/ 156£16m£27k
Tin Jedvaj21D (CRL) WB (R)Leverkusen132/ 155£3m£26k
Dominik Livakovic22GKDinamo Zagreb134/ 150£3m£2k
Duje Caleta-Car20D (C)RB Salzburg133/ 150£3m£39k
Alen Halilovic21M (R) AM (RC)Las Palmas*131/ 150£5m£51k
Branimir Kalaica19D (C)Benfica B113/ <150£300k£7k
Luka Ivanusec18AM (C) M (C)Lokomotiva112/ <150£800k£500
Dominik Kotarski17GKAjax89/ <150£100k£500
Tomislav Krizmanic16AM (C)Dinamo Zagreb80/ <150£20k£200
Duje Javorcic17M (CL) AM (L)Lazio78/ <150£60k£700
Josip Posavec21GKPalermo122/ 144£2m£8k
Ante Rebic23ST M (L) AM (L)Frankfurt*133/ 143£7m£18k
Marko Livaja23ST AM (C)AEK*130/ 140£3m£19k
Stipe Perica22STUdinese130/ 140£6m£16k
Josip Misic23DM M (C) AM (C)Sporting125/ 140£1m£12k
Matej Mitrovic23D (C)Brugge*120/ 140£2m£24k
Nikola Katic20D (CRL) DMSlaven Belupo120/ <140£300k£200
Mirko Maric22STOsijek110/ <140£200k£2k
Fabian Benko19M (RL) AM (RLC)Bayern105/ <140£300k£3k
Davor Lovren18AM (LR) M (RL)Dusseldorf*105/ <140£200k£1k
Vinko Soldo19D (C)Lokomotiva*103/ <140£200k£1k
Robert Mudrazija20M (C) DM M (R)Osijek103/ <140£100k£500
Karlo Lulic21M (C) AM (RC)Rudes102/ <140£100k£300

*On loan