Brekalo training with VfB Stuttgart in 2017
|Date of birth||23 June 1998|
|Place of birth||Zagreb, Croatia|
|Height||1.75 m (5 ft 9 in)|
|2015–2016||Dinamo Zagreb II||9||(0)|
|2016||VfL Wolfsburg II||2||(0)|
|2017||→ VfB Stuttgart (loan)||25||(2)|
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 19 February 2021|
‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 17 November 2020
On 31 January 2017, Brekalo was loaned out to VfB Stuttgart until the end of the season with an option for a further year. The loan deal was automatically extended until June 2018 when Stuttgart secured promotion. Brekalo scored his first senior goal on 17 February 2017 coming off the bench for VfB Stuttgart against 1. FC Heidenheim. Brekalo returned prematurely to Wolfsburg on 1 January 2018.
He made his debut for Croatia's senior squad on 15 November 2018 in a 3–2 Nations League victory over Spain. On 8 September 2020, Brekalo scored his first international goal for Croatia in a 4–2 Nations League defeat to France.
Brekalo's father Ante (nicknamed Šargija) is a former footballer, having represented Bosnia and Herzegovina on various youth levels, as he hails from the Bosnian region of Posavina. His career was halted at the age of 21, when the Yugoslav Wars broke out and he got wounded on the battlefield.
In summer 2018, Brekalo sparked controversy in German and Croatian media after stating that he would not like to wear a captain's armband with LGBT flag colours, after VfL Wolfsburg decided that captains of all their teams would wear such an armband during the 2018–19 season. The reason for that was cited to be the club's "stance for tolerant society" and "stance against discrimination". After liking homophobic comments under club's Instagram post of captain Josuha Guilavogui wearing the armband, Brekalo blamed it on a mobile phone malfunction in an interview with Kicker. He then went on to state:
"I have to say that I can't stand completely behind this action, because it contradicts my Christian belief. I've been raised religiously. I’m fine with people living a different lifestyle, because that's their business. But I don't want and don't have to carry a symbol representing them."
- As of match played 19 February 2021
|Dinamo Zagreb II||2015–16||Druga HNL||9||0||—||—||9||0|
|Dinamo Zagreb||2015–16||Prva HNL||8||0||3||1||—||11||1|
|VfL Wolfsburg II||2016–17||Regionalliga Nord||2||0||—||—||2||0|
|VfB Stuttgart (loan)||2016–17||2. Bundesliga||11||1||0||0||—||11||1|
- As of match played 17 November 2020
- Scores and results list Croatia's goal tally first. Score column indicates score after each Brekalo goal.
|1||8 September 2020||Stade de France, Saint-Denis, France||13||France||2–2||2–4||2020–21 UEFA Nations League A|
|2||7 October 2020||Kybunpark, St. Gallen, Switzerland||14||Switzerland||1–1||2–1||Friendly|
|3||11 November 2020||Vodafone Park, Istanbul, Turkey||17||Turkey||3–2||3–3|
- "Josip Brekalo". VfL Wolfsburg (in German). Retrieved 6 November 2020.
- "Jòsip". Hrvatski jezični portal (in Serbo-Croatian). Retrieved 19 March 2018.
- "brȅcati". Hrvatski jezični portal (in Serbo-Croatian). Retrieved 19 March 2018.
- "Dinamo Zagreb vs. Inter Zaprešić - 19 December 2015 - Soccerway". soccerway.com. Retrieved 15 August 2015.
- "Josip Brekalo signs for VfB". VfB Stuttgart. 31 January 2017. Retrieved 31 January 2017.
- "Away win in Heidenheim". VfB Stuttgart. 17 February 2017. Retrieved 18 February 2017.
- "Josip Brekalo makes early return to VfL Wolfsburg". VfB Stuttgart. 22 December 2017. Retrieved 22 December 2017.
- "Croatia v Spain game report". UEFA. 11 November 2018.
- "France 4–2 Croatia". UEFA. 8 September 2020.
- Antolić, Dražen (8 June 2019). "VATRENI OTKRIO KAKO JE RAT ZAUSTAVIO OCA ŠARGIJU DA POSTANE NOGOMETNA KLASA 'Otišao je na ratište, bio ranjen i spriječen ostvariti snove'". Sportske novosti (in Croatian). Retrieved 9 January 2021.
- Gjerulff, Rune (27 August 2018). "Brekalo on Wolfsburg's LGBT armband: 'I don't want to carry a symbol representing them'". Bulinews. Retrieved 9 January 2021.
- Midžor, Nina (27 August 2018). "Brekalo: Moj kršćanski odgoj priječi mi da podržim gayeve". 24sata (in Croatian). Retrieved 9 January 2021.
- Z. A. (27 August 2018). "Brekalo zaprepastio Nijemce: Objasnite mu da homofobija nije cool". Index.hr (in Croatian). Retrieved 9 January 2021.
- "J. Brekalo". Soccerway. Perform Group. Retrieved 12 January 2018.
- "Josip Brekalo profile". eu-football.info. Retrieved 1 March 2020.