Robert Matteoni on Luka Modric: “From Russia, the whole country is crazy about him”

Home » Robert Matteoni on Luka Modric: “From Russia, the whole country is crazy about him”
Robert Matteoni on Luka Modric: “From Russia, the whole country is crazy about him”

“Has Luka Modric’s popularity always been so important?
He was first an idol in Zagreb, the most popular player for Dinamo fans. In selection, the changeover took place during Euro 2016. His popularity grew very quickly, because he had good results at Real Madrid and with the national team. When they reached the Russian World Cup final (2018), she was at the top. In Croatia, there is a rivalry between Dinamo Zagreb and Hajduk Split similar to that between PSG and Marseille. Hajduk fans weren’t happy with Modric for a long time but once he won the Ballon d’Or, he gave people a very nice surprise by continuing to wear the national jersey.

The Croats are very happy that he hasn’t quit, while players like (Daniel) Subasic or (Mary) Mandzukic retired after Russia. In addition, while these are his “old” years, he plays very well. From Russia, the whole country is crazy about Modric. In my opinion, only two players have enjoyed such respect in the thirty years that Croatia has been independent.

Which ?
Boban and him. Boban was the idol of Modric, who now also has this charisma of the most popular player. There is a consensus. For everyone, he is an idol now, because he plays very, very well and he is very combative on the pitch. After ten years at Real, money, glory, others than him would no longer have the same motivation for the selection. This is not his case at all.

In March 2018, he was charged with perjury following his testimony in the corruption trial of former Dinamo boss Zdravko Mamic. The charges were dropped for lack of evidence, but his reputation was badly affected…

Croatia is a small country where everyone knows everything about everything. People were disappointed, they thought he was not behaving well. After this period, his popularity was not as good as today. In a football career, there are ups and downs. But Russia changed everything.

“Everyone knows that the day he stops the selection will be the saddest in his history”

So, the day he stops, will it be a national tragedy?
Today, everyone is impressed by the way he plays at his age and by his technique, the best for twenty years. But everyone knows that it will not last twenty more years. After every match played for Croatia, everyone says: “Mama mia, we must be happy to have Modric!” At the same time, everyone knows that the day when he stops the selection will be the saddest of his story.

It will be another period. When Boban (in 2002) and his generation have stopped their careers, some thought that we would no longer achieve anything with the selection. After having had the post-Boban experience, we will have the post-Modric experience. But we will never have another Modric again, I think. »


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