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."
|Mourinho sacked: Real Madrid´s Marcelo lauds ´great coach´ after United exit|
|Unadkat, Varun the top buys at IPL auction|
|Emery prepared to give youth a chance in north London derby|
|BREAKING NEWS: Tottenham extend Vertonghen contract until 2020|
|Panthers safety Reid receives seventh random drug test of 2018|
|Kovac relishing Klopp challenge in Champions League|
|Bancroft to return, teenager Lamichhane to fly the flag for Nepal in Big Bash|
|Liverpool still have plenty of work to do - Klopp|
|Messi ´never imagined´ his success after winning record fifth Golden Shoe|
|WATCH: Timberwolves´ Gibson tries to block shot with his trainer|
|Mourinho sacked: Klopp praises departed Manchester United boss|
|Mourinho sacked: Jose the best Manchester United manager since Ferguson - Gerrard|
|Mourinho sacked: Ferdinand calls for ´fresh ideas´ at Man United|
|Mourinho sacked: The mystique has gone as United spell ends in divorce|
|´He´s an interest not only for us but for many´ - Zola praises rumoured Chelsea target Wilson|
|Mourinho sacked: Pochettino focused on Spurs amid Manchester United rumours|
|Mendis eyes double-century for departing Samaraweera|
|Mourinho sacked: Zola expects Jose to be in another job ´soon´|
|Mourinho sacked: Five reasons it went wrong at Manchester United|
|Mourinho sacked: Jose´s Manchester United record in Opta stats|
|Mourinho sacked: Pogba, Ronaldo and Jose´s biggest bust-ups|
|Mourinho sacked: Blanc, Solskjaer - the men who could steady the United ship short-term|
|Mourinho sacked: The football world reacts|
|Mourinho sacked: What former United stars said after Liverpool loss|
|Mourinho sacked: Where next for the axed Manchester United boss?|
|UEFA to investigate alleged racist incidents at Vidi-Chelsea|
|Australia unchanged for rest of India series|
|Mourinho sacked: Pogba´s tweet a dig at departing Man United boss?|
|Newton left frustrated by shoulder injury as Panthers lose again|
|Mourinho sacked: Pochettino & Zidane lead potential Man Utd replacements|
|Mourinho sacked: Neville urges Man United to go for Pochettino|
|Boylen pleased to see Bulls react to red rag in Thunder fracas|
|Icardi and Inter ´very far´ apart in contract negotiations|
|Mourinho leaves Manchester United|
|Curry humbled by latest milestone|
|Robertson: ´Unbelievable´ Alisson will bounce back from error|
|Curry scores 15,000th regular-season point in Warriors win|
|Rams star Gurley ´day-to-day´ with knee inflammation|
|Saints poised to clinch NFC top seed after topping Panthers|
|Mathews, Mendis centuries frustrate New Zealand|
|Kohli: Relentless Australia deserved victory|
|Relief for Paine and Australia after ending Test drought|
|Australia level series with dominant win over India|
|Libertadores holders River learn group as CONMEBOL boss calls for end to violence|
|Chargers RB Gordon planning to return against Ravens|
|Kobe Bryant visit motivated Browns´ Jabrill Peppers|
|De Bruyne: Fatigue not behind injury woes|
|´That´s not my concern´ - Broncos coach Joseph on job security|
|Lowry on Leonard´s free agency: I just want him to be happy|
|Yankees give Sabathia $500K bonus despite ejection|
|Ronaldo confirmed Juventus interest in January – Mendes|
|Lakers guard Rondo to begin rehab stint in G League|
|Saiz to leave Leeds United for Getafe|
|Whyte thinks Joshua rematch is ´only a matter of time´|
|Greenwood stars as Man United end Chelsea´s FA Youth Cup dominance|
|Panthers tight end Olsen expects ´full recovery´ after surgery|
|Derby County 0 Nottingham Forest 0: Lampard´s men fourth after tense stalemate|
|Clermont lose former All Black Toeava for six months|
|MLS unveils revamped playoff format for 2019 season|
|Ferrari to celebrate Schumacher´s 50th birthday with museum exhibition|
|Rabiot set for PSG exit after cancelling contract talks|
|Pepe departs financially troubled Besiktas|
|Philadelphia Flyers fire coach Dave Hakstol|
|Eagles to start Foles v Texans|
|PSG matches against Montpellier and Dijon rearranged|
|Martial agent clouds long-term future after United trigger extension|
|Zverev to make major final in 2019, predicts Ferrero|
|Canelo, Crawford, Lomachenko and the other pound-for-pound contenders|
|Barcelona boss Valverde admits to Lyon uncertainty|
|Club World Cup: Maverick Quintero gets another chance on the big stage|