France won FIFA World Cup 2018 title. Croatian skipper Luka Modric won the Golden Ball. England’s Harry Kane won the Golden Boot and Belgium goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois won the Golden Glove. Fans across the world want another category of awards - Golden Political Leader - and say no one deserves it more than Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic.
Standing firm in her support for the national team in Russia, Kolinda had been an epitome of grace and footballing passion. Even when the chips were against her team in the knockout stages, she kept her poise and maintained calm in triumph. It was only natural then that she garnered wide-spread admiration after her team went down to the French in the title clash of the biggest football tournament in the world.
She won our hearts! Its just a game! Both had great times and attitude #WorldCupFinal #Rusia2018 #Macron #Kolinda_Grabar_Kitarovic #CRO #FRA #RUS #FrancevsCroatia #CROFRA #CroatianPresident #leadership pic.twitter.com/CujpUKhHfz
— Andrés AlarcónAguiar (@asaa83) July 15, 2018
Seated next to French President Emmanuel Macron, Kolinda followed every on-field move closely. She congratulated Macron when the French took the lead, cheered when her team fought back and eventually walked hand-in-hand with her French counterpart after the end of the match.
— Kolinda GK (@KolindaGK) July 11, 2018
Even on the podium and under pouring rain, Kolinda - wearing the jersey of the national team - made it a point to stand tall and congratulate every single French player and official that came up. Much like the Croatian players and fans, it was an emotional moment for her but she appeared to fare extremely well in keeping her emotions in check. When her team's player made their way to the podium, she greeted them with a smile, a hug and a message which could only have been about how proud she and her country is of what the Croatian national team had achieved.
Through the course of the tournament, Kolinda has been widely praised for being one of the most sporting of political leaders in attendance. In defeat and in wins, the first-ever woman president of Croatia showed charisma that left a lasting impression. And for all her poise, charm and charisma, there was a passion for her team and football that millions instantly connected with.
Little wonder then that many are saying that it if the tournament had a category awarding political leaders for their sportsmanship, Kolinda would have been the outright favourite.