Šime Vrsaljko

Šime Vrsaljko (Croatian pronunciation: [ʃǐːme ʋr̩sǎːʎko];[3][4] born 10 January 1992) is a Croatian professional footballer who plays as a right back for Spanish club Atlético Madrid and the Croatian national team. He made his debut for Croatia in 2011 and went on to represent his country in the UEFA Euro 2012 and 2016 and the 2014 and 2018 FIFA World Cups.

Šime Vrsaljko
Šime Vrsaljko 2018.jpg
Vrsaljko with Croatia at the 2018 FIFA World Cup Final
Personal information
Full name Šime Vrsaljko[1]
Date of birth (1992-01-10) 10 January 1992 (age 28)[1]
Place of birth Rijeka, Croatia[2]
Height 1.81 m (5 ft 11 in)[1]
Playing position(s) Full-back
Club information
Current team
Atlético Madrid
Number 24
Youth career
2006–2009 Dinamo Zagreb
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
2009–2013 Dinamo Zagreb 73 (1)
2009Lokomotiva (loan) 17 (0)
2013–2014 Genoa 22 (0)
2014–2016 Sassuolo 57 (0)
2016– Atlético Madrid 40 (0)
2018–2019Inter Milan (loan) 10 (0)
National team
2007 Croatia U15 5 (1)
2007–2009 Croatia U17 16 (2)
2010 Croatia U18 1 (0)
2010 Croatia U19 6 (0)
2012–2013 Croatia U20 2 (0)
2010–2014 Croatia U21 12 (0)
2011– Croatia 45 (0)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 23 February 2020
‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 18 November 2018

Club careerEdit

Early careerEdit

Vrsaljko started his senior career at Dinamo Zagreb's feeder team, Lokomotiva, where he spent the 2009–10 season on loan. He debuted for Lokomotiva in the Croatian top level in the match against Rijeka on 26 July 2009 at the age of 17.[5] Vrsaljko was in the starting lineup in each of the 17 Lokomotiva's league matches in 2009, being substituted only once.[6]

Dinamo ZagrebEdit

He rejoined Dinamo Zagreb's squad on 22 December 2009 before the winter break and appeared in his first match for Dinamo Zagreb on 27 February 2010 against Croatia Sesvete in the Prva HNL. He made nine more appearances by the end of the season for Dinamo, making a total of 27 league appearances throughout the whole season. Vrsaljko also made one appearance in the semi-finals of the 2009–10 Croatian Cup.[7]

Vrsaljko missed the opening matches of the 2010–11 season, as he was called up for international duties with the Croatian under-19 team. He made his first appearance of the season on 31 July in a league match against Rijeka which Dinamo Zagreb lost 2–1. Vrsaljko then made his debut in European competitions, featuring in their defeat to Sheriff Tiraspol in the third qualifying round of the 2010–11 UEFA Champions League.[8] In August that year he was linked with a transfer to Olympique Marseille for a fee of €4 million, but executive vice-president of the club Zdravko Mamić turned down the French club's offer.[9] On 29 August he scored his first league goal for the club in the match against Cibalia which Dinamo Zagreb won 2–0.[10] Due to his impressive performances for Dinamo under the coach Vahid Halilhodžić, he was named Croatian Football Hope of the Year for 2010. By the end of the season, he won the double with Dinamo.

He started the 2011/2012 season by providing an assist for Ivan Krstanović in UEFA Champions League qualifier 3–0 victory against Neftchi Baku in Zagreb. In August 2011, he was sent off during the away match of 2011–12 UEFA Champions League play-off round against Malmö FF, as Dinamo managed to qualify for their first UEFA Champions League in 12 years. He was banned with 3 matches absence in Champions League. He made his 2011–12 UEFA Champions League debut on Matchday 4 against AFC Ajax, and made another appearance in the final match against Olympique Lyonnais on Maksimir Stadium. In domestic league, he made 22 league appearances and provided 5 assists in process, as Dinamo won another double – Prva HNL and Hrvatski kup titles.

After his return from Poland, where he was a part of Croatian team at UEFA Euro 2012, he helped Dinamo to qualify for another UEFA Champions League. He made 4 appearances as right full-back in 2012–13 UEFA Champions League as Dinamo finished bottom of their group with only one point. He also made 25 league appearances, providing three assists.


On 12 July 2013 Vrsaljko joined Serie A side Genoa for €4.6 million.[11][12] In his first season in the Italian top flight, Vrsaljko was a frequent member of the starting XI, playing in various roles on the right flank – including right-back and right wing. He made 22 appearances in total, missing rounds 24–33 through injury.


On 22 July 2014 Vrsaljko signed for Serie A side Sassuolo for €3.5 million plus bonuses of €2 million.[13][14][15] He became a key part of Sassuolo's defence under manager Eusebio Di Francesco, and eventually helped the team to achieving their first ever Europa League qualification after finishing 6th in Serie A courtesy of a Juventus Coppa Italia win over Milan as Milan would have gone to Europe instead if they had won the final.[16][17]

Atlético MadridEdit

Vrsaljko signed for La Liga club Atlético Madrid in 2016 on a five-year deal.[18] On 16 May 2018 Vrsaljko started the Europa League final as Atlético won the title.[19]

Loan to Inter MilanEdit

On 31 July 2018, Vrsaljko joined Italian side Inter Milan on an initial one-year loan with the option to buy.[20] On 27 January 2019 Vrsaljko was ruled out for at least six months, due to left knee ligaments surgery.[21][22]

Return from loanEdit

On 26 January 2020, he started his first game after being a year out against Leganés that ended up as a goalless draw. He was subbed off for Ivan Šaponjić in 88th minute. On 18 February, he started the home leg of the Champions League round-of-16 fixture against ruling champions Liverpool that ended up as a 1–0 victory.[23] On 10 August, Atlético announced that Vrsaljko and teammate Ángel Correa were both positive for COVID-19, ruling them out of the team's quarter-final fixture against RB Leipzig.[24]

International careerEdit

Vrsaljko (right) playing against Brazil at the 2014 FIFA World Cup
Vrsaljko at the 2018 FIFA World Cup

He received his first call-up to the Croatia national football team on 2 November 2010 for the Euro 2012 qualifier against Malta. He made his national team debut on 9 February 2011 in a friendly match versus the Czech Republic. He made 3 more appearance before May 2012, when he was named in Croatia 26 players preliminary squad for UEFA Euro 2012. After the friendly match against Estonia in May 2012, Croatia manager Slaven Bilić withdrew him from the final list for UEFA Euro 2012.[25] However, just a week after being withdrawn from the final list, he was called up again due to injury of Hamburger SV player Ivo Iličević.[26] He was an unused substitute in all three Croatia matches at the tournament.

During the 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifying phase he made only one appearance, in the match against Belgium in Zagreb. In May 2014 he was named in Croatia 23-man squad for the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil.[27] Due to injuries of in Croatian squad just before the opening match against Brazil, Vrsaljko filled in at the left-back position instead of injured Danijel Pranjić.[28] He reprised his role as a left back in the decider against Mexico, that ended as a 3–1 defeat and saw Croatia eliminated.

On 12 November 2014, at the age of 22, he was the captain of the national team in a 2–1 loss against Argentina, playing for the entire game. He became one of the youngest captains in the history of the national team, with Darijo Srna being rested for the game against Italy.

In May 2018, he was named in Croatia's squad for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.[29] He started in six of the seven matches in the team's runners-up finish. He also took part in three of the four matches in the inaugural edition of the Nations League, missing the home fixture against England, that ended up as a goalless draw, due to a knee injury.[30][31]

In September 2020, Vrsaljko came back to the national team after almost two years of absence due to knee surgery. He was named in coach Zlatko Dalić's Nations League fixtures against Portugal and France.[32]

Personal lifeEdit

Vrsaljko is named after his paternal grandfather. When he died, he was buried with his grandson's Croatia national team jersey.[33] His father, Mladen Vrsaljko, was also a footballer, who played for NK Zadar from 1992 to 1995.[34]

In June 2017, Vrsaljko married his high school love Matea Kedžo.[35] On 6 June 2018, the young couple got their first child, son Bruno.[36]

In January 2019, a photograph of Vrsaljko lying on a Croatian flag on the field of the Luzhniki Stadium after the 2018 World Cup semi-final match against England, taken by Drago Sopta, was chosen as the fourth most beautiful one in the world by AIPS.[37] Croatian media dubbed the photograph as "legendary".[38][39] When asked about its background, Vrsaljko has said:

I was more like tired and exhausted from everything so I felt like lying down a bit and taking a rest.[38]

Career statisticsEdit


As of match played 11 March 2020.[40]
Appearances and goals by club, season and competition
Club Season League Cup[a] Europe Total
Division Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Lokomotiva (loan) 2009–10 Prva HNL 17 0 0 0 17 0
Dinamo Zagreb 2009–10 10 0 0 0 10 0
2010–11 16 1 0 0 8[b] 0 24 1
2011–12 22 0 0 0 8[c] 0 30 0
2012–13 25 0 0 0 7[c] 0 32 0
Total 73 1 0 0 23 0 96 1
Genoa 2013–14 Serie A 22 0 1 0 23 0
Sassuolo 2014–15 22 0 1 0 23 0
2015–16 35 0 1 0 36 0
Total 57 0 2 0 0 0 59 0
Atlético Madrid 2016–17 La Liga 14 0 6 1 5[c] 0 25 1
2017–18 21 0 3 0 5[d] 0 29 0
2019–20 5 0 0 0 2[c] 0 7 0
Total 40 0 9 1 12 0 61 1
Inter Milan (loan) 2018–19 Serie A 10 0 1 0 2[c] 0 13 0
Career total 197 1 12 1 37 0 246 2
  1. ^ Includes Croatian Cup, Coppa Italia and Copa del Rey
  2. ^ One appearance in UEFA Champions League, seven in UEFA Europa League
  3. ^ a b c d e Appearances in UEFA Champions League
  4. ^ One appearance in UEFA Champions League, four in UEFA Europa League


As of match played 18 November 2018[41]
National team Year Apps Goals
Croatia 2011 3 0
2012 1 0
2013 1 0
2014 5 0
2015 5 0
2016 11 0
2017 6 0
2018 13 0
Total 45 0


Dinamo Zagreb

Atlético Madrid





  1. ^ a b c "FIFA World Cup Russia 2018 List of Players" (PDF). FIFA. p. 7. Archived from the original (PDF) on 10 August 2018.
  2. ^ "Svaki šesti reprezentativac je Zadranin". www.zadarskilist.hr (in Croatian). Retrieved 5 May 2016.
  3. ^ "Šȉmūn". Hrvatski jezični portal (in Serbo-Croatian). Retrieved 17 March 2018. Šíme
  4. ^ "Ûrsula". Hrvatski jezični portal (in Serbo-Croatian). Retrieved 17 March 2018. Vrsáljko
  5. ^ "Vrsaljko Šime". Nogometni magazin. Retrieved 18 August 2010.
  6. ^ "Šime Vrsaljko, igrač NK Lokomotiva" (in Croatian). Sportnet.hr. Retrieved 11 November 2015.
  7. ^ "Croatian Cup 2009/10". Dinamo Zagreb. Retrieved 18 August 2010.
  8. ^ Attias, Vedran. "Šerif s kreča "ubio" Dinamo" (in Croatian). Sportnet.hr. Retrieved 4 August 2010.
  9. ^ "Sammir: Novi trener je puno stroži od Zajeca, rekao nam je da 'ovo' ne smijemo izgubiti!" (in Croatian). Sportske novosti. 18 August 2010. Retrieved 18 August 2010.
  10. ^ "Vaha 'mister 100 posto': Dok smo imali svježine, jako puno smo pokazali!" (in Croatian). Sportske novosti. 29 August 2010. Retrieved 30 August 2010.
  11. ^ Genoa C.F.C. S.p.A. bilancio (financial report and accounts) on 31 December 2013 (in Italian), PDF purchased from Italian C.C.I.A.A.
  12. ^ Grifo Altro Colpo Vrsaljko Genoa C.F.C. Official website (in Italian)
  13. ^ Ufficiale: Sime Vrsaljko è un calciatore del Sassuolo U.S. Sassuolo Calcio Official website (in Italian)
  14. ^ U.S. Sassuolo Calcio S.r.l. bilancio (financial report and accounts) on 31 December 2014 (in Italian), PDF purchased from Italian C.C.I.A.A.
  15. ^ U.S. Sassuolo Calcio S.r.l. bilancio (financial report and accounts) on 31 December 2015 (in Italian), PDF purchased from Italian C.C.I.A.A.
  16. ^ "Sassuolo in the Europa League". Football Italia. 21 May 2016. Retrieved 5 July 2016.
  17. ^ "Sassuolo: 'Italian success story'". Football Italia. 22 May 2016. Retrieved 5 July 2016.
  18. ^ "Vrsaljko signs until 2021". Atlético Madrid. 5 July 2016. Retrieved 5 July 2016.
  19. ^ "Šime Vrsaljko Wins Europa League Trophy". Croatian Football Association. 16 May 2018. Retrieved 31 July 2018.
  20. ^ "Inter seal €7M loan signing of Vrsaljko from Atlético Madrid". Goal. 31 July 2018. Retrieved 31 July 2018.
  21. ^ "CdS - Vrsaljko si opera: stop di 6-8 mesi e addio Inter. Ha già salutato". www.fcinternews.it.
  22. ^ Matteoni, Robert (17 February 2019). "'VIŠE NEMA BOLOVA I SVIH MUKA KOJE SAM TRPIO DVIJE GODINE' Hrvatski reprezentativac za SN progovorio o izlasku iz jednog mučnog začaranog kruga". Sportske novosti (in Croatian). Retrieved 26 January 2020.
  23. ^ Hina (18 February 2020). "FOTO: ATLETICO IZNENADIO LIVERPOOL I DIGAO WANDA METROPOLITANO NA NOGE Europski prvak u Madridu pretrpio ono što ne pamti u Premiershipu u sezoni" (in Croatian). Sportske Novosti. Retrieved 19 February 2020.
  24. ^ "Atletico Madrid potvrdio: Šime Vrsaljko pozitivan na koronavirus!". Gol.hr (in Croatian). Retrieved 10 August 2020.
  25. ^ "Otpali Lovren, Vrsaljko, Kalinić i Blažević". Večernji list (in Croatian). 29 May 2012.
  26. ^ "EURO: Iličević otpao, pozvan Vrsaljko". Nacional (in Croatian). 7 June 2012.
  27. ^ "Modric, Mandzukic lead Croatia's World Cup squad". fifa.com. Retrieved 9 July 2014.
  28. ^ "Kovač otkrio taktiku za Brazil: Vrsaljko definitivno mijenja Pranjića". dnevno.hr (in Croatian). Retrieved 9 July 2014.
  29. ^ "Revealed: Every World Cup 2018 squad - Final 23-man lists - Goal.com". www.goal.com.
  30. ^ "Petorica otpala za okršaj s Engleskom: Dalić pozvao dva nova igrača". gol.dnevnik.hr.
  31. ^ "Croatia 0-0 England". www.uefa.com.
  32. ^ "Zlatko Dalić objavio popis, u reprezentaciju pozvao dva nova igrača!". Večernji list (in Croatian). 17 August 2020. Retrieved 5 September 2020.
  33. ^ "Stric Svemir Vrsaljko: Djed je Šimin dres ponio u grob, otac je pojeo Marka Mlinarića, a reprezentacija je svim Hrvatima pokazala što se može zajedništvom". zadarski.slobodnadalmacija.hr (in Croatian). Retrieved 2 January 2019.
  34. ^ "Mladen Vrsaljko – player overview". hrnogomet.com. Retrieved 2 January 2018.
  35. ^ "Šime Vrsaljko on Twitter". Twitter. Retrieved 11 August 2018.
  36. ^ "Rodija se sin! Šime Vrsaljko je postao tata, stigao mali Bruno" (in Croatian). Retrieved 11 August 2018.
  37. ^ "ŠIME NA ZASTAVI: Fotografija osvojila 4. mjesto u svijetu". poskok.info (in Croatian). Retrieved 27 April 2019.
  38. ^ a b "Vrsaljko objasnio kako je nastala legendarna fotografija sa zastavom". index.hr (in Croatian). Retrieved 27 April 2019.
  39. ^ Hina (3 September 2020). "Vratio se Šime nakon 22 mjeseca, pa otkrio zanimljiv detalj: 'Naježim se odmah kad se sjetim toga...'". Sportske novosti (in Croatian). Vrsaljko je ostao upamćen po legendarnoj fotografiji nakon pobjede protiv Engleske u polufinalu Svjetskog prvenstva na kojoj leži na hrvatskoj trobojnici.
  40. ^ "Vrsaljko Statistics".
  41. ^ "Šime Vrsaljko". European Football. 21 June 2018.
  42. ^ McNulty, Phil (15 July 2018). "France 4–2 Croatia". BBC. Retrieved 15 July 2018.
  43. ^ "U Bayernu će se još jednom klanjati Ivici Oliću". Vecernji (in Croatian). 31 December 2010. Retrieved 9 January 2020.
  44. ^ "World 11: The Reserve Team for 2017-18". FIFPro.org. 24 September 2018. Retrieved 25 September 2018.
  45. ^ "News: President Decorates Croatian National Football Team Players and Coaching Staff". Office of the President of the Republic of Croatia. 13 November 2018. Retrieved 2 January 2019. the Order of Prince Branimir with Ribbon was awarded to Mr. Šime Vrsaljko...

External linksEdit