克羅埃西亞傳奇足球員 Ivan Rakitic: 世上最棒的足球衣
時隔四年，克羅埃西亞再闖世界盃四強。2020年宣布退役的傳奇中場 Ivan Rakitic 本屆雖未參賽，仍在場邊熱情觀戰。Rakitic 的父母親因1991年的克羅埃西亞戰爭而逃到瑞士，雖在異鄉長大，成長過程中他仍心繫母國，直到能以足球為國家隊效力，其中的心路歷程格外感動。
Before you start
克羅埃西亞國家足球隊傳奇球員 Ivan Rakitic
訪談節錄⸺引用THE PLAYERS' TRIBUNE
The moment my dad took them out of the box, my brother and I knew... We were never going to take them off.
Of course, when the box first arrived at our house in Switzerland, we didn't know what was inside.
Scribbled on the top was a return address in Croatia.
It was a place we called home, but it was also a place that neither my brother nor I had ever been to before.
We spoke Croatian in the house, and there were plenty of Croatians in our town in Switzerland.
But Croatia was still something remote to me.
My parents had left when the war broke out in 1991 and we hadn’t ever gone back.
My brother, Dejan, and I were born in Switzerland.
The Croatia we knew was the one that we saw on on the TV, and in the photos that my parents showed us.
And the phone conversations we’d over hear them having on the telephone.
It was hard as a kid to understand what was going on in the Balkans.
My parents never really told me about the war — understandably, they didn’t really want to talk about it.
I remember how they’d cry sometimes when they were on the phone with somebody back in Croatia.
It just felt sort of like … I don’t know how to explain it. Maybe like a bad dream?
We were lucky. We were far away from it, so we didn’t see what was happening.
But it was never really far from my parents’ minds. A lot of their friends and family had stayed behind.
My parents lost a lot of people who they loved.
And then, I remember when I was only about four or five, I saw a news report on the TV. I’d seen pictures and video of the war, and lying in bed that night I thought, This is impossible. How can this happen?
Even before Croatia had officially declared its independence, our national team had already played a match.
I think that tells you how much football means to us, to any country, really, and its people — no matter where they live. So when my dad took a knife and sliced open that box and pulled out two Croatian football shirts for my brother and I … it was very powerful. Like, Yeah, we are a part of this, too.
所以當我父親 拿著小刀切開包裹、拿出了兩件克羅埃西 亞國家隊的球衣時，我們也是一份子感受到了一股強大的力量，像是「耶！我們真的一起參與其中欸！」
We slept in those shirts. We wore them to school the next day.
And the day after that. We didn’t want to take them off.
Wow, we have the Croatian shirt. The white-and-red checkers, but no name on the back.
We wanted 10 of them because we didn’t want to wear anything else. They were so special to us.
When I started playing myself, I wasn’t wearing the Croatian shirt. I was wearing the jersey of my other home, Switzerland.
I have to be honest … I tell people, “I’m a Swiss guy.” And that always gets strange looks. “Swiss? Ivan Rakitic?”
But I was born in Switzerland, I grew up in Switzerland, I went to school in Switzerland, my friends are from Switzerland. And so I was really proud to wear the Switzerland shirt for five years when I was playing with the youth teams.
But the biggest part of my heart belongs to Croatia. It always has.
老實說，當我向別人說 「我是瑞士人」時，他們詫異地說「瑞士人？ Ivan Rakitic？」，
I'll go with you. I'm going to be a part of this.
Rakitic 向克羅埃西亞國家隊時任領隊Slaven Bilic這麼說。
And Slaven told me, "All the people of Croatia will be so proud to have you here. Don 't think about anything else, just enjoy football."
I wasn't on either call for long, but I could hear my father outside my door the entire time, his footsteps in the hallway.
When I finally opened the door he just stopped and looked at me. I hadn't told him what I had decided ahead of time, but he told me that, no matter what I chose, he would support me. It was a huge moment for the two of us...
So... I decided to play a little joke on him. "I will keep playing for Switzerland," I told him. "Oh," my father said. "O.K. Good."
"No, no," I said laughing. "I'm going to play for Croatia."
Tears started to fill up his eyes, and he began to cry.
I think about my dad and that moment a lot when I step onto the field for Croatia.
I know father would like to be where I am , standing in my boots. I know so many Croatians would like to, as well.
To be able to play for your country and defend your colors ... there are no words to describe it.
The people from Croatia are special. They have this... character about them.
When I'm out there with my team in front of our supporters, it's almost like... you never want the game to end.
It's like, I don't know, like... I just want to give everyone a big hug or something.
You never want to leave. You want to play every day with them. You want to be there every day.
It's funny, I'm a lot older now than I was when that box arrived at our house. But I still never want to take the shirt off.
There's a pressure that comes with wearing that shirt. But it's a good pressure, I think.
You want to show the world what Croatia can do.
You want to carry on the work of players like Slaven and Davor Suker.
會想接過Slaven和Davor Šuker 這些球員手中的棒子。
As you may have read before, my own family has grown in different countries as well. My wife is Spanish, and we've been raising our two daughters in Barcelona. It's special because my daughters have the same experience that I did — of being from a different country and seeing life in different ways. And my little girls are my biggest fans, for sure.
So before the tournament started, I had a very special order I needed to make… And I came home one day with a box for them, two new Croatian shirts. They told me that they never want to take them off. I know how they feel.