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The Croatian Beckham starts to show his promise at Qatar 2022: Sosa means business as Croatia gears up for another semi-final

And his destiny was always intertwined with the FIFA World Cup. Sosa was born in 1998, the year in which Croatia first made the semi-finals of the competition, with a superb generation spearheaded by Davor Suker, the top goal scorer of the tournament 24 years ago, when the current Croatian Football Federation president scored six goals.

And while he can play both as a left back and as a left wing back, covering the whole flank on the pitch, he always modeled his game from Beckham, even borrowing Becks’ hairstyle at times.

He spent 13 years in Dinamo Zagreb – three of which saw him featuring for the senior squad – before moving to VfB Stuttgart in the German Bundesliga in 2018, where he has been playing ever since.

“Borna’s said himself that David Beckham is his role model, and I think he has the same qualities,” said VfB Stuttgart sporting director, Sven Mislintat.

Immediately, Sosa replied politely: “It’s hard to compare yourself to a football legend. But is it nice to hear something like that? Of course. And do we have anything in common in our crosses? We do. It’s not easy to learn. You either have it or you don’t.”

Putting excellent crosses in attack was a Beckham trademark and one that Sosa always tried to mirror, as he is one of the most attacking full backs in the German Bundesliga, boasting 24 assists in 78 games, one in every three matches, an excellent number for a player like Sosa.

Immediately, he has been earmarked as the next best thing on this position in Croatia, but he was close to not feature in the senior squad of his country, despite playing in every team in the younger age categories, from the Under-15 side to the Under-21.

In 2021, Sosa was close to pledge his allegiance to Germany, having been given a German passport on account of his mother, Vesna, being born in Germany. Disappointed that he was not selected for the UEFA EURO 2020, Sosa was close to make that step, but eventually reneged on his decision and started playing for Croatia.

“The decision I made was wrong and I have to take responsibility for it myself. If the Croatian Football Federation and the selectors believe that in spite of everything I can contribute to the success of our national teams, I will respond to their invitation and be available,” said Sosa back then.

Just after the UEFA EURO 2020 ended, Sosa was called up to the national team and has been immovable since that moment, becoming a key part of the team that qualified for the second time in a row in the semi-finals of the FIFA World Cup.

He was crucial in the penalty shoot-out win against Brazil, which delivered one of the biggest shocks at Qatar 2022, with the South American side being huge favourites before the start of the game, as Croatia struggled at times during the tournament.

“There were a lot of emotions, a lot of happy tears ther. We are really showing many, many good results with our country. Nobody expects this, nobody believes in us, never, so that’s why it’s really emotional when you achieve things like this, when you beat Brazil,” said Sosa.

While his playing career has taken off, so has his emotional side, as he is a huge lover of animals and is sponsoring an elephant from the Stuttgart Zoo, Wilhelma.

“I love animals and Wilhelma especially. I am here very often privately. I am pleased to be able to support the elephants in Thailand and at Wilhelma with my membership,” said Sosa back in 2021.

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