Deni Jurić, the younger brother of Socceroo and current Macarthur FC player Tomi Jurić, has stated his desire to represent Croatia instead of Australia but leaves both options open.
Socceroo Tomi Jurić and his younger brother Deni were both born six years apart in Australia. When Deni was 13, his Bosnian Croatian father and Croatian-born mother moved him and his younger sibling to Zagreb. Deni spent his teenage years growing up in Croatia.
Like his older brother, Deni showed a proclivity for football. Both players started their professional footballing careers with NK Sesvete, a Croatian side. Deni has gone on to spend the totality of his playing career in Europe.
After his debut with Sesvete in 2015, Deni moved to Croatian side Hadjuk Split in 2016. In the next five years he would also play for Solin, Rudeš and Šibenik in Croatia as well as Triglav in Slovenia.
This season saw him move to Dinamo Zagreb, considered by most as the biggest club in Croatia. It was a massive move for the now 24-year-old who has since featured in a Champions League qualification match as well as the club's first Europa League group game against West Ham.
The prospect of the younger Jurić following his older brother and playing in the Green and Gold excited a number of fans. The youngster had represented Australia, most recently with the Olyroos squad in 2018.
When asked as a dual-national for which nation he would like to play, Deni had been quoted in March of this year by SBS as wanting to continue his journey with Australia:
“When I make my next club move I’m sure I’ll get a call from either one or the other country, and all the cards will be on the table.
“You could say, for sure, though that my heart lies with Australia. The dream of playing alongside Tomi for the green and gold is still alive.”
However, in a recent interview with Croatian daily sports newspaper Sports Jutarnji, Deni has stated his desire to play for Croatia. Jurić had previously represented the nation at the youth level, making four appearances for Croatia's U-19 team.
Speaking to the paper on September 24, he is quoted as saying:
"It has not been decided yet, but now that I am a senior, I would like to play for the Croatian national team. My family are from here, that's how I was raised.
"I spent my teenage years in Croatia, school ... After all, we are runners-up in the world. My heart beats for Croatia," said Deni.
While the quote does open the door for him to represent either country, an option still open to him as he has yet to put on a national jersey in a senior game, it appears that Australia may have lost a Socceroos' younger brother abroad.