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Croatia vs Spain | Euro 2021: Dani Olmo: The one who swapped Barcelona for Zagreb


The story of how Dani Olmo came to be a starter for both Spain and RB Leipzig is an interesting one, and it’s one which travels through Croatia, given the fact a 16-year-old Olmo elected to swap Barcelona for Dinamo Zagreb.

Usually it’s the other way around, yet Olmo felt that the best chance of furthering his career was by making a move which many at the Camp Nou feared would lead to irrelevancy.

Olmo left Catalonia with the belief that Dinamo Zagreb‘s sporting project was going to make him develop into a mature footballer, especially as first-team football was promised within a few months of his arrival.

Monday will see Spain take on Croatia at Euro 2020, and it’s a match that will see Olmo line up against many of his old teammates.

The relationship between Croatia and Olmo is special, as on several occasions the Croatian Football Federation tried to get the midfielder to switch his international allegiance away from La Roja. They consider him one of their own.

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Olmo, though, was always clear that his preference was to play for Spain, despite the fact Zlatko Dalic made an impassioned plea for him to play for his team.

“We already let [Zlatan] Ibrahimovic escape, we can’t do the same with Dani Olmo,” Dalic declared.

Olmo‘s development hasn’t gone unnoticed in Spain, with Atletico Madrid having tried to sign him before RB Leipzig jumped ahead.

Barcelona also looked into making the return of Olmo a reality, but in the end pride took over and they didn’t bring back a player who had chosen to leave once before.

Olmo is no longer the fast winger who left Spain, he’s grown as a technician and is capable of playing through the middle. He’s a player who looks at home at the top level and this vindicates his decision to move to Croatia.

Now, the country which gave Olmo his chance will be hoping he doesn’t knock them out of Euro 2020.

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