Ivan Rakitic feels Croatia were the better side in the World Cup final and thinks decisions made by VAR favoured eventual winners France.
Croatia went down 4-2 in Moscow in July, with Antoine Griezmann giving France a half-time lead from a penalty awarded following a video review, after a Mario Mandzukic own goal had been cancelled out by Ivan Perisic.
It was a goal that proved decisive, as Didier Deschamps' side went on to claim the trophy thanks to second-half strikes from Paul Pogba and Kylian Mbappe, before Mandzukic pulled one back.
The 2018 finals were the first to use VAR, which FIFA hailed as a success, despite some controversial incidents during the tournament.
And Barcelona midfielder Rakitic believes France benefited from more than one fortunate decision in a match he feels Croatia controlled.
"Don't talk to me about VAR; I've dreamed about it a thousand nights," he told The Guardian.
"That was maybe our best game. For an hour we were better than them, far superior. You can see it in your opponents' faces sometimes and we could see that France didn't know how to stop us, how to control us, how to get out, to attack.
"In that final, the footballing god was French. The first goal comes from a free-kick that's not a foul and VAR could have intervened because Pogba was offside.
"Then VAR didn't get the penalty wrong exactly but if he hadn't given it there wouldn't have been many complaints. If there's a penalty, I see it once and I know; I don't need to see it 10 times.
"Anything that improves football is welcome but with VAR, play stops, football loses that 'something'. You score and can't celebrate, you wait to see if the referee's finger's in his ear or he is [gesturing for the television replay]."
Rakitic accepts it has been difficult to move on from Croatia's defeat despite them having reached the final for the first time, their success rewarded by captain Luka Modric winning the tournament's Golden Ball and The Best FIFA Men's Player award for 2018, while Zlatko Dalic was nominated for the coaching prize.
"You go over and over it, especially the first night," he continued. "You say to yourself, to each other: 'You were the better team, you created chances, France weren't comfortable'.
"There are those goals, then Pogba shoots, and it bounces back to him for another shot. Mbappe’s going at 50kph and scores – we're caught on the attack, wrong-footed. Little things didn't go for us. But we played a great, great game and our heads never dropped despite losing for some time.
"You think: 'Bloody hell, we did everything to win'. And then a combination of having it taken away from you and them winning it, and... pffff... it doesn't feel right. But that's football. The best team doesn't always win; the team that gives the most isn't always rewarded.
"And I don’t know if I'll make it to the next World Cup. To have come so close and not to have won it, and like that. You congratulate France, who deserved to be champions, but we could have been deserving winners."
|Stade beat Ospreys on emotional Chauvin tribute night|
|Ligue 1 survival bid a marathon not a sprint for Monaco, as club appoints distance runner|
|Vertonghen eyeing Spurs future beyond 2020|
|De Bruyne injuries could be a blessing for City, says Guardiola|
|Emery prepared to face Arsenal´s centre-back crisis|
|Ulster complete Scarlets double, Exeter gain Gloucester revenge|
|Sheffield United 1 West Brom 2: Baggies comeback boosts automatic promotion push|
|Del Potro back on court following knee injury|
|Canelo v Fielding: Rocky ready to write his own fairytale in New York|
|Boca part company with Schelotto after Copa Libertadores loss to River|
|Canelo v Fielding: Tale of the tape|
|Juventus defender Cancelo has knee surgery|
|Canelo v Fielding: Alvarez and Rocky make weight in New York|
|Spalletti does not fear another mid-season crisis at Inter|
|Salah headlines CAF Player of the Year shortlist as Koulibaly misses out|
|Beckham Jr. out of Titans clash|
|Lipsky hits the front at Leopard Creek|
|Pederson coy over Wentz back injury|
|Liverpool ´not really likely´ to be active in January window, reveals Klopp|
|Always on the move and unpredictable - Pavard reveals surprising choice over toughest opponent|
|We need to get back to respect - Lampard alarmed by hate in football|
|Giles returns to England to replace Strauss as director|
|Hansen has no issue with Milner-Skudder Toulon switch|
|Juventus to rest Ronaldo after Torino showdown|
|Titmus strikes gold again as world records tumble in Hangzhou|
|Malinga to captain Sri Lanka in New Zealand|
|Rivaldo would like ´excellent´ Isco at Barcelona|
|United a long way from Mourinho´s vision|
|´Klopp denies an answer!´ - Liverpool boss dismisses questions about ´world-class´ Pogba|
|Returning Nowitzki ´so tired´ after making NBA history|
|Aguero and De Bruyne in contention for Manchester City v Everton|
|Simeone has no plans to cash in on Costa|
|Canelo v Fielding: Alvarez´s greatest nights|
|Fabregas: Chelsea being unfairly scapegoated over racism allegations|
|Crisis? What crisis? Klopp focuses on defensive solutions for United clash|
|Hope cannot inspire Windies as Bangladesh cruise to series win|
|Benitez picks up Premier League Manager of the Month award|
|Chavez, Marquez and Canelo - Mexico´s greatest multi-weight world champions|
|Bale set to miss Real Madrid v Rayo Vallecano|
|Robben out until January as Bayern look to avoid serious injury|
|Milan avoid UEFA ban in FFP punishments.|
|Mourinho compares Liverpool to ´an amazing house´ but insists trophies matter|
|Brisbane Roar 2 Melbourne Victory 4: Muscat´s men hit A-League summit|
|Bumrah confident second Test is ´in the balance´ after India recovery|
|Isco gesture was for a corner or foul, claims Solari|
|Harris leads Australia into ascendancy on day one|
|ATP announces candidates to host future Finals|
|Ronaldo: Juventus fans refuse to lose to Torino|
|Hero Rivers feared he had cost Chargers in KC|
|Williams would welcome Llorente back to Athletic Bilbao|
|Liverpool v Manchester United: Minding the gap|
|Milan elimination unjust, fumes Leonardo|
|Paul hails ´sick´ Harden after record-breaking display|
|Liverpool v Manchester United: Salah, Mane and Firmino v Rashford, Martial and Lukaku in Opta number|
|Canelo open to GGG trilogy as he chases place in Mexican history|
|The big Friday Premier League quiz|
|Harden posts record fourth 50-point triple-double in win over Lakers|
|Barcelona squad happy with Dembele, says Alba|
|Chargers rally past Chiefs to clinch playoff spot|
|WATCH: Chargers top Chiefs on dramatic two-point conversion in final seconds|
|Suns owner Sarver committed to keeping team in Phoenix|
|Chargers WR Allen leaves with injury after near-spectacular catch|
|Socceroos not giving up on Mooy for Asian Cup|
|Cooper says Raiders owner wanted to trade him to Cowboys|
|Pochettino jokes Levy is ´worried´ about losing him|
|Barcelona would welcome Morata – Alba|
|Toure not a priority for West Ham – Pellegrini|
|Koscielny no certainty to face Southampton, says Emery|
|We gifted the game – AC Milan boss Gattuso furious after Europa League exit|
|My season starts now, says Koscielny|