Rangers star Borna Barisic was benched for an important World Cup Qualifier against Cyprus on Friday as his international woes continue.
For several years, Barisic was the undisputed first-choice left-back for Rangers and Croatia.
However, he’s now facing and often losing out to competition at both club and international level.
Calvin Bassey has got the nod ahead of him in multiple Gers fixtures this season, while rising Vatreni stars Josko Gvardiol of RB Leipzig and Borna Sosa of VfB Stuttgart are also causing him problems.
After working so hard to establish himself in the Croatia team, Barisic’s Euro 2020 was ruined by a back injury that restricted him to just a solitary substitute appearance and now Zlatko Dalic appears to be looking to the future.
For a crucial fixture against Cyprus in an extremely tight Qualifying Group H on Friday, Sosa, who is five years younger than the Rangers star, got the nod at left-back over Barisic for the third time in four matches since the Euros.
Meanwhile, 19-year-old Gvardiol – the Rangers star’s replacement at the major tournament – started at centre-back.
Given that Croatia kept a clean sheet in a 3-0 win, it will be tough for Barisic to make a case that he should be in the starting XI for the second and final fixture of this international block, at home to Slovakia on Monday.
Croatia currently sit top of Group H with 16 points from seven matches but are only ahead of a strong-looking Russia on goal difference.
Another Rangers star’s World Cup hopes are already hanging by a thread, though, after another disappointing defeat.