Mateo Kovacic Real Madrid star to play for Croatia Under-21s

Real Madrid's Mateo Kovacic will not play in Croatia's friendly with Russia next month, instead turning out for his country's Under-21 side.

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Mateo Kovavic will play for Croatia's Under-21s next month as they look to boost their hopes of reaching the 2017 European Championships.

The Real Madrid midfielder will meet up with Ante Cacic's senior squad ahead of their friendly against Russia in Krasnodar on November 17, but will not feature.

Instead Kovacic will play in the U-21 fixture against Spain on the same day, as Croatia look to cement their place at the top of qualifying Group 6.

Cacic - who guided Croatia to Euro 2016 after replacing Niko Kovac - has named one new face in his 20-man squad for the friendly with Russia, with Hajduk Split defender Goran Milovic given the chance to earn a first cap.

However, Madrid star Luka Modric has been rested after he recently returned from a thigh injury.

Croatia squad in full:

Goalkeepers : Lovre Kalinic (Hajduk Split), Danijel Subasic (Monaco), John Vargic (Rijeka)

Defenders : Vedran Corluka (Lokomotiv Moscow), Marko Leskovic (Rijeka), Goran Milovic (Hajduk Split), Josip Pivaric (Dinamo Zagreb), Danijel Pranjic (Panathinaikos), Darijo Srna (Shakhtar Donetsk), Domagoj Vida (Dynamo Kiev), Sime Vrsaljko (Sassuolo)

Midfielders : Domagoj Antolic (Dinamo Zagreb), Milan Badelj (Fiorentina), Marcelo Brozovic (Inter), Ivan Perisic (Inter), Ivan Rakitic (Barcelona)

Forwards : Nikola Kalinic (Fiorentina), Andrej Kramaric (Leicester City), Mario Mandzukic (Juventus), Ivica Olic (Hamburg)

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