While there was immense excitement during the finals of the FIFA World Cup 2018 between France and Croatia, it was Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović who stole the limelight in her team’s red jersey.
Kitarović had been in attendance for multiple games played by her country from the time her team played against Denmark in the round of 16 clash till the World Cup Finals Sunday. Though the NATO summit kept her away from the semi-finals in which Croatia beat England, but the President flew back immediately to Moscow to witness her country play in the FIFA finals for the first time.
“I wanted to showcase that I am a football fan, like everyone else; I wanted to support the team among other fans in the stands. I put on a shirt with national symbols, whereas the dress code in the VIP zone, which usually presupposes long gowns, wouldn’t have permitted such an outfit,” the Russian website Sportbox quoted her as saying.
Grabad-Kitarovic, the 50-year-old President of Croatia was born on April 29, 1968 in the Croatian part of Yugoslavia. She completed her doctoral studies in her home country nearly three years ago, and has studied at different places like Zagreb, Vienna, Washington and Harvard. Kitarovic also went to New Mexico on a student exchange programme. She is a multilinguist and is fluent in a number of languages — Croatian, English, Spanish, Portuguese with some understanding of French, German and Italian.
Grabar-Kitarovic was elected to become the fourth President in February 2015 and also the first woman president of the country. She held multiple positions during her early years with the party, Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) that she joined in 1993. After finishing her education in Washington DC, she returned to Balkan and joined their parliament.
Grabar-Kitarovic has also worked as the country ambassador to the United States and also as Assistant Secretary General of NATO before she claimed victory during Presidential elections over Ivo Josipovic.
Grabar-Kitarovic is married to Jackov Kitarovic since 1996 with whom she has two children; 17-year-old daughter, Katarina, and 15-year-old son, Luka.
There have been controversies surrounding the president as people drew similarities between her and another US model, Coco Austin in 2016 confusing the latter’s bikini pictures as Kitarovic’s. She also grabbed media attention on July 1 when she flew economy class to witness the FIFA games in Moscow and shared a picture with her fellow passengers.
Twitter was buzzing on Sunday to not only congratulate France but also to tweet about the Croatian jersey-clad President.
Just stay there and take some time to respect and appreciate this lady, Croatia’s President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović.
— Victor Mochere (@VictorMochere) July 15, 2018
Incredible scene of role model leadership. #CRO President
Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović drying the tears of her teams captain #Modric, soaked in rain, without an umbrella! #WorldCupFinal. #Croatia won our hearts… pic.twitter.com/uWGZcqTuUH
— Sanjay Poonen (@spoonen) July 15, 2018
— Krishna Mohan Tiwari (@tiwarikrishna05) July 15, 2018
— Mary Novakovich (@mary_novakovich) July 15, 2018