Yet remarkably, for a player courted by the world's leading clubs who won the Golden Boot at Euro 2016 and was voted that tournament's best player, his only major team honour was a Europa League title won with Atlético Madrid this year.
And with his reputation now sky-high, he said he will take time to consider his future.
"The World Cup... it's a lot..."
"I'm really happy. It was a very hard game, Croatia played a great game".
"France wrote history in Russian Federation, unlike the other big favorites that fell earlier". France had expected a very exhausted Croatia, but that was not the case at all. Our national team was in contention, but it could not be developed at all, because the Croatian side, led by Modrić and Rakitić, was completely in charge of the field.
Although they has a hard time with the second goal, the Croats did not give in and in the second half they were very unsafe. "I believed in them but then you need to see what happens, because it only took us through to the quarter-finals", said Deschamps, whose team beat Uruguay 2-0 in the last eight and then edged out Belgium 1-0 in the semi-finals. We will never know why VAR was not used to review the possible offense of Umtiti over Mandžukić for a penalty kick.
Dalic has said that he will not be placing too much pressure on Croatia heading into the final and that he will be telling the players to "have fun" before they head out onto the pitch.
"Croatia came where no one expected them".
"We started a bit shy, we let go little by little and made the difference".