Liverpool and Croatia defender Dejan Lovren has insisted he deserves to be recognised as 'one of the best defenders on the planet' after helping his country to their first ever World Cup final with a 2-1 extra time victory over England.
Lovren's side will face France in the final on Sunday after knocking out England in extra time, meaning Lovren joins Croatian compatriot Luka Modric in playing in the 2018 Champions League and World Cup finals - becoming the first defender to play in both in the same year since Paolo Maldini in 1994.
He told BeIN sports, as quoted by the Liverpool Echo:
"It's something special for me. From my point of view, people said I had a difficult season but I don't agree.
"I took Liverpool to the final of the Champions League. Now with my national team we are in the final.
"I think people should recognise that I am also one of the best defenders in the world and not just talk nonsense."
Lovren joined Liverpool from Southampton in 2014, and his performances for the Reds have since been largely criticised, as part of a characteristically shakey Liverpool back four.
His claims, while bold, do not come altogether unmerited. Since the arrival of ex-Southampton team-mate Virgil Van Dijk in January, Lovren's performances are widely thought to have gone from strength to strength.
Only the Manchester clubs have conceded less Premier League goals than Liverpool since the Lovren-Van Dijk partnership was reunited, and it very nearly culminated in the ultimate success, as Liverpool lost 3-1 to Real Madrid in the Champions League final.
The 29 year-old, however, has carried over his impressive recent club form to the World Cup, and gets the chance to bounce back on Sunday, as his country stand 90 minutes away from their first ever World Cup win.