Croatia centre-back Josko Gvardiol was seen wearing a face mask on Saturday in the FIFA World Cup third-place playoff match against Morocco at the Khalifa International Stadium.
The 20-year-old’s look left social media users curious as to why the footballer was sporting the black shield.
The skilled RB Leipzig defender has recently garnered a lot of attention from European clubs like Barcelona, Manchester City and Chelsea.
The reason for Gvardiol sporting the face covering is because he is nursing a horrific injury he had sustained on November 10 during the Bundesliga season. He had clattered into his teammate Willi Orban during the 17th minute of a game against SC Freiburg at the Red Bull Arena. The collision left him with a broken nose and black eye. He was sent to the hospital mid-game for scans and treatment.
An official statement had later revealed Gvardiol was supposed to sit the league game out but unfortunately his teammate Abdou Diallo also injured himself during the warm-ups.
Much later, his club coach Marco Rose saw the funny side of things. He said, “I heard he broke his nose. The eye is swollen. He looks like a boxer after the twelfth round against a tough opponent.”
Gvardiol had donned a similar mask during all of Croatia’s games so far. In the seventh minute of his side’s game against Morocco in the third-place playoff, he handed the Vatreni the lead with a flying header.