I address the Croatian Football Federation as well as the general public in relation to the events that took place after the football match between Croatia and Island aiming to completely clear the air in regard to the words “For Home“ (Croatian: Za dom) which I had uttered. I have already stated on multiple occasions that I was born and raised in countries of Western democratic systems and that any form of intolerance or bigotry is strange to me and not a part of my personal system of values. Additionally, I have devoted my entire life to doing anything I could to help my country, Croatia, and I am immensely proud of that.
The Croatian public is well-aware of the fact that our national team has had difficulties finding optimal performance and that all the team mates, including me, have struggled very hard to cope with it. There is no need to point out that we have lived for this achievement and I am so very happy that we’ve made it! After the victory, my happiness knew no end and I wanted to celebrate with our supporters who had endured with us for better and for worse, and in this state of excitement, arising solely from my love for my homeland Croatia, and not from any intent to glorify a totalitarian regime, I spoke the words „For Home“. Being a Croat who was born and raised far from my homeland, the home for me is associated with love, warmth and a positive struggle; all that we have demonstrated in the field and which has led us to the World Championship. Those were the sole reasons that let the emotions take the better of me and so I engaged in a shouting exchange with the supporters. I only wanted to use the words to say that we are the strongest and the most united in the hour of our greatest need and all the subsequent interpretations have nothing to do with either truth, my opinions or my actions.
The Maksimir Stadium, Zagreb and Croatia – these represent my home, the places where I have always, in a football manner of speaking, “plunged headlong” in the field and have striven to muster all the zeal I could. We have achieved a great success and not with ease, which has made our joy all the more pronounced. For me, no fight is ever fought halfway and I have always invested myself to the fullest in terms of both emotions and fight, and this is never truer than when I am wearing the national colours. During the match I fought the way I always did, as a football player, for my home. This is the only meaning of home that exists in my mind.
On the other hand, if anyone has taken my shouts to be something else, i.e. something negative, I hereby deny that there was any political context underlying that statement, which was guided purely by my love for my nation and country rather than by hatred and destruction.
I am positive that even my most arduous critics are aware that I had no ill-intent at any moment, that I did not entice hatred on either ethnic or religious grounds and I state, once again, that my actions were guided solely by my love for my nation and homeland and not by hatred and destruction.