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Discover the most popular athletes from Croatia.

From the soccer fields to the tennis courts, who are the top stars?

Explore the outstanding Croatian athletes and their impact on the international sporting scene.

Also check out our post about the most popular soccer players from Croatia.

#1 Luka Modrić

  • 🏆 Sport(s): Soccer
  • 🎂 Born in: 1985
  • 🥇 Biggest Achievement: 2018 Ballon d’Or winner

Luka Modrić, considered a midfield maestro, has played a pivotal role for both the Croatian national team and Real Madrid. His exceptional vision and playmaking skills make him an influential presence on the field.

Leading Croatia to the 2018 FIFA World Cup final, Modrić’s excellent performance brought him the well-deserved Ballon d’Or award.

#2 Goran Ivanišević

  • 🏆 Sport(s): Tennis
  • 🎂 Born in: 1971
  • 🥇 Biggest Achievement: 2001 Wimbledon Champion

Goran Ivanišević made tennis history by becoming the first wildcard entry to ever win a Grand Slam, lifting the Wimbledon title in 2001.

With a powerful serve and unique personality, he remains one of the most popular Croatian athletes, inspiring generations of tennis players within his country.

#3 Davor Šuker

  • 🏆 Sport(s): Soccer
  • 🎂 Born in: 1968
  • 🥇 Biggest Achievement: 1998 FIFA World Cup Golden Boot Winner

One of Croatia’s soccer legends, Davor Šuker played a crucial role in his country’s incredible third-place finish in their 1998 FIFA World Cup debut.

His attacking prowess and incredible goal-scoring ability earned him the tournament’s Golden Boot and etched his name in soccer history.

#4 Blanka Vlašić

  • 🏆 Sport(s): High Jump
  • 🎂 Born in: 1983
  • 🥇 Biggest Achievement: 2-time World Champion in High Jump

Blanka Vlašić, a legendary high jumper from Croatia, has captivated athletics fans with her charismatic presence and exceptional athleticism.

Boasting numerous gold medals from World Championships and European Championships, as well as Olympic silver and bronze, Vlašić is one of Croatia’s most prominent and celebrated athletes.

#5 Stipe Miočić

  • 🏆 Sport(s): Mixed Martial Arts
  • 🎂 Born in: 1982
  • 🥇 Biggest Achievement: 2-time UFC Heavyweight Champion

Stipe Miočić has made his mark in the world of mixed martial arts, capturing the UFC Heavyweight title twice and defending it successfully numerous times.

His power and technique inside the octagon have earned him a place in the hearts of many fans and crowned him as one of Croatia’s most popular athletes.

#6 Marin Čilić

  • 🏆 Sport(s): Tennis
  • 🎂 Born in: 1988
  • 🥇 Biggest Achievement: 2014 U.S. Open Champion

Marin Čilić, an accomplished Croatian tennis player, rose to prominence after winning the 2014 U.S.

Open. His powerful serve and aggressive baseline play have brought him consistent success within the highly competitive world of tennis, making him one of the top Croatian athletes of the modern era.

#7 Mirko Filipović

  • 🏆 Sport(s): Mixed Martial Arts & Kickboxing
  • 🎂 Born in: 1974
  • 🥇 Biggest Achievement: PRIDE FC Openweight Grand Prix Champion 2006

Mirko Filipović, also known as “Cro Cop,” is a renowned fighter in both the mixed martial arts and kickboxing circuits.

His devastating striking ability and distinctive left high kick have solidified his status as a true combat sports legend, making him a force to be reckoned with and a fan favorite in Croatia.

#8 Ivano Balić

  • 🏆 Sport(s): Handball
  • 🎂 Born in: 1979
  • 🥇 Biggest Achievement: 2-time Handball World Champion with Croatia (2003, 2005)

Ivano Balić is regarded as one of the best handball players of all time and a true legend in Croatian sports. His exceptional vision and playmaking abilities contributed heavily to Croatia’s handball team’s successes, including World Championships and Olympic medals.

Balić’s impact on handball remains immense, inspiring generations of athletes.

#9 Sandra Perković

  • 🏆 Sport(s): Discus Throw
  • 🎂 Born in: 1990
  • 🥇 Biggest Achievement: 2-time Olympic Gold Medalist (2012, 2016)

Sandra Perković is one of Croatia’s most successful athletes in the field of athletics. Her career boasts numerous gold medals in Discus Throw, including two Olympic golds and multiple European and World Championships titles.

Her consistent domination in the sport makes her a celebrated figure in Croatian sports.

#10 Janica Kostelić

  • 🏆 Sport(s): Alpine Skiing
  • 🎂 Born in: 1982
  • 🥇 Biggest Achievement: 4-time Olympic Gold Medalist

Janica Kostelić is an iconic figure in the world of alpine skiing and a national hero in Croatia. She is the most successful female alpine skier in Olympic history, with four gold medals and two silver.

Her legendary performances on the slopes have inspired a new generation of winter sports athletes in Croatia.

#11 Josip Pavić

  • 🏆 Sport(s): Water Polo
  • 🎂 Born in: 1982
  • 🥇 Biggest Achievement: Olympic Gold Medalist (2012)

Josip Pavić, a talented goalkeeper, is known for his key contributions to Croatia’s national water polo team.

His strong defense and quick reflexes played a crucial role in Croatia clinching an Olympic gold medal in 2012, making him a celebrated figure in his country’s sports scene.

#12 Dejan Lovren

  • 🏆 Sport(s): Soccer
  • 🎂 Born in: 1989
  • 🥇 Biggest Achievement: 2018 FIFA World Cup Runner-up

Dejan Lovren is a reliable and passionate central defender in Croatia’s national soccer team. His solid performance along with his teammates led Croatia to the 2018 FIFA World Cup final.

Besides representing his country, Lovren’s defensive skills have also been proven in his successful club career, playing for clubs like Liverpool and Zenit Saint Petersburg.

#13 Sandro Sukno

  • 🏆 Sport(s): Water Polo
  • 🎂 Born in: 1990
  • 🥇 Biggest Achievement: 2017 FINA Water Polo World Championships Gold Medalist

Sandro Sukno is a highly skilled water polo player who has made significant contributions to the Croatian national team’s success.

With enviable scoring abilities and precise passes in the pool, he has helped his team secure gold in the 2017 FINA Water Polo World Championships, making him a notable name in Croatian sports.


Who is the greatest athlete in the history of Croatia?

The greatest athlete in Croatia’s history is footballer Davor Šuker.

Who is the most popular female athlete from Croatia?

The most popular Croatian female athlete is tennis player Mirjana Lučić-Baroni.

Which sport has the most popular athletes from Croatia?

Football has the most popular athletes from Croatia.

Which athlete from Croatia is the most popular internationally?

Luka Modrić, a football player, is the most internationally recognized Croatian athlete.

Max is a sports enthusiast who loves all kinds of ball and water sports. He founded & runs stand-up-paddling.org (#1 German Paddleboarding Blog), played competitive Badminton and Mini Golf (competed on national level in Germany), started learning ‘real’ Golf and dabbled in dozens of other sports & activities.

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