Why Argentina fans praise Luka Modric after Croatia’s exit in 2022 World Cup semis
Croatia crashed out of the World Cup in the hand of Argentina Tuesday night, but Luka Modric, one of the best midfielders of his generation, received a standing ovation from both Argentina and Croatia fans as he left the pitch on Tuesday night.
Modric received a spine-tingling ovation from all corners of the Lusail Stadium as he left the field during Croatia’s semi-final defeat to Argentina.
As soon as the officials held up their substitute board, a large section of fans decided to put their hands together for Modric, who looked emotional as he walked towards the subs bench.
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Lovro Majer replaced Croatia’s number ten and plenty soon took to social media to wax lyrically about the 2018 Ballon d’Or winner.
Here’s some of the best reactions as sampled by SportBible:
One fan said: “Modric wins and he’s the first to commiserate. Modric loses and he’s the first to congratulate. A class act,” while another commented: “Modric off. What a career he’s had. A World Cup final and a World Cup semifinal. One of the best ever.
A third wrote: “Damn. Luka Modric going off for possibly the last time. What a giant of the game. Amazing talent and engine, and was critical in driving Croatia to one World Cup final and then a semifinal in the next one.”
A fourth commented: “Incredible what Luka Modric has done for Croatia at World Cups. It’s not a 1 man show but his performances & leadership definitely inspired them to that 2018 final and this semi-final. A country with a population of 4 million too! Modric’s midfield genius has been a joy to watch.”
Modric, meanwhile, said he wants Lionel Messi to lift the World Cup trophy on Sunday as France or Morocco await.
“Congratulations and I wish good luck in the final to Messi,” he said in his post-match interview. “He is having an amazing tournament and he’s showing his greatness.”
The 37-year-old midfielder, who has made 160 appearances for Croatia since making his debut against Argentina in 2006, says he won’t retire after this winter’s tournament.
“No, I won’t leave the national team,” he said while out in Qatar. “I feel very fit, very good and I’ll stay here until I can. There’s no reason to retire. It’s my choice.
“People say I should leave and focus on club football. I don’t agree.”
Tough, rough journey
Modric’s journey to the World Cup and beyond has been tough, to say the least.
At the age of six, his life was rocked to the core when his grandfather was shot dead by Serb rebels close to his home.
Modric and his family would soon move into a refugee hotel in the coastal town of Zadar, a place where war was still ongoing, after their house was burned down.
In the coming years, he would live in a warzone and grow up to the sound of grenades exploding as the Croatian War of Independence escalated.
In those years, thousands of bombs fell on the city but football was a way to escape the reality of war.
A spokesman for the Kolovare Hotel, where Modric lived as a youngster, once said via The Daily Mail, “He had broken more glass on the hotel windows than what the bombs had hit. He was playing non-stop football all around the hotel halls.”
Football also had its obstacles. Coaches said he was ‘too weak and shy’ to play football but as we all know, his career fledged into something rather special.
After a breakthrough year in Croatia in 2005, Modric bought his family a flat in Zadar with his earnings and soon became one of the club’s best players.
Three years later, Modric signed for Premier League side Tottenham and the rest is history.
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