Who is Duje Caleta-Car? Things to know about the defender

Ligue 1 has plenty of young centre backs for you to keep an eye on, but one who you should pay special attention to is Marseille's Duje Caleta-Car.

The Croatia international has played his way onto Liverpool's radar, while sources have confirmed to 90min that both Manchester United and Manchester City have been keeping a close eye on Caleta-Car's development.

Caleta-Car has a lot of admirers and looks set for a breakthrough soon, so here's what you need to know about him.

1. Dejan Lovren is a fan

Dejan Lovren is a fan | Pixsell/MB Media/Getty Images

Whenever Caleta-Car has been linked to the Premier League, the input of former Liverpool man and fellow Croatian Dejan Lovren is never far away.

"In my opinion, Duje could easily play in England," Lovren told La Provence of Caleta-Car's skill set.

"He is physically very strong, stronger than other players. He will explode in a few years and become even stronger."

2. He passes the eye test

Caleta-Car is a real unit | Eurasia Sport Images/Getty Images

When you watch Caleta-Car play, the first thing you'll notice is that he's absolutely huge.

Standing at a towering 6'4, the Croatian isn't someone who you want to face in an aerial battle. He's dominant in the air, but still boasts surprisingly impressive agility to do work on the ground.

He might look like a hulking, old-school defender, but Caleta-Car knows how to mix that no-nonsense style of days gone by with a technical grace of the modern game.

3. He's good with the ball at his feet

Caleta-Car will never claim to be the best passer in the world, and he's not given a role which requires him to be, but that's not to say he hates having the ball at his feet.

One of the Croatian's best attributes is his love for a forward pass. Whenever he gets the ball, he is always looking to get his side moving forward, and more often than not, he's good enough to pull the pass off.

Importantly, he's confident in possession. While he might not always complete a pass, he's unlikely to be fazed or make a mistake. Composure is key.

4. He compares himself to Gerard Pique

Caleta-Car bases his game on Pique | Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

As a tall defender with an eye for a pass, it's no surprise that Caleta-Car feels as though his game is similar to that of Barcelona's Gerard Pique.

He confessed to La Provence that Pique is his main inspiration and he tries to shape his game on the Spaniard, while also giving a shout-out to fellow models Sergio Ramos, Alessandro Nesta and Paolo Maldini.

5. He only wants to play in the Champions League

In several interviews, you'll find Caleta-Car talking about just how much he wants to play in the Champions League. That's his only focus.

He's so determined to play in Europe's top competition that he rejected the chance to move to West Ham in the summer of 2020, openly admitting that a lack of European football was behind his decision.

Marseille were ready to ship him off for around £20m, but Caleta-Car had other ideas.

6. His relationship with Croatia hasn't always been smooth

Caleta-Car was embroiled in controversy | James Williamson - AMA/Getty Images

Caleta-Car became public enemy number one in Croatia in 2019 when he declined a call-up to the squad for Under-21 European Championships.

Rumours circulated that it was because he went on holiday to the Maldives instead, creating real tension and leading to Caleta-Car's exile from the Croatia setup for the best part of six months.

Caleta-Car has always insisted that it was Marseille who urged him to drop out because he had looked physically exhausted during his underwhelming debut season in France, telling 24sata and sportske novosti that everything was blown massively out of proportion.

7. He's a Career Mode hero

FIFA 21 is kind to Caleta-Car | John Berry/Getty Images

Fans of Football Manager or FIFA will likely already know of Caleta-Car, who has long been heralded as a potential star of the future.

In FIFA 21, Caleta-Car has been given a 78-rated gold card, but if you treat him nicely in Career Mode, you could see him shoot all the way up to 85.

It's been that way for a few years. Scouts have always agreed that Caleta-Car really has that special something, and it's just a matter of time before he gets there.

8. The English translation of his name is incredible

Daddy Emperor.

You're welcome.

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Source : 90min